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Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Running is a Great Way to Cross-Train, Even for Cyclists

Running is a great supplement to your cycling training. Photos by thebrandbuilder andaarmono.

Photos by TheBrandBuilder and aarmono.

I began cycling in order to train for motocross. I knew that I needed to be in better shape in order to perform at my absolute highest at the track on the weekends. I was never a huge running fan, and cycling was more similar to motocross than any of the other cardio activities I had tried. As a result, cycling became my training method of choice by default, not because I enjoyed the sport.

However, after spending an entire spring, summer and fall cycling almost every day, I grew to love the sport. The speed, adrenaline rush and sense of adventure I got from the sport left me dying to ride day in and day out.

After about 10 months of solid cycling, I have ben adding a good amount of running into my training program. Before cycling I really disliked running, but I have begun to love it. I still prefer cycling to running any day, but, running is a great substitution when cycling just does not fit into my program.

If you are currently a cyclist, and looking for a way to add some diversity to your program, running is a great option, and heres why.

Running Uses Less Time

A good workout while running can be accomplished in less time than cycling. Photo by donjd2 on Flickr.

A good workout while running can be accomplished in less time than cycling. Photo by donjd2.

I’m a teenager, and as a result I am a pretty busy person. Between school, homework, this website, and cycling, I have little to no free time. As a result, sometimes I don’t have two or three hours to spend on the bike. However, when I still want to get a good cardio workout in, I have begun turning to running. Spending 30-45 minutes running can give me the same workout in less than half the time.

The stark time difference between running and cycling may lead you to wonder why I don’t just run all the time. Well, the reason is quite simple: I don’t enjoy it. For me, running takes a lot of mental perserverance and it overall just isn’t as fun for me. If I based all of my cardio training off of running, I would have a very tough time running day in and day out, which would make my training less effective.

Running Uses Different Muscles

Running uses different muscles than cycling. Photo by Kiki Tohme.

Running uses different muscles than cycling. Photo by Kiki Tohme.

Unfortunately, when you cycle you use essentially the same muscles day in and day out. While this is great if you are trying to build those muscles, when cross training, it is crucial to build more than the standard set of muscles so that you are totally prepared for motocross.

This is where running comes in. Running works a totally different set of muscles as cycling which is a great way to round out your training and ensure that you are as prepared for motocross as possible.

Furthermore, this will allow you to train more often. Because running uses different muscles which allows you to put in hard days of riding and running back to back without feeling too many of the effects. This will allow you to train harder and more often and allow your muscles to recover at the same time, which is an earth shattering training routine.

Variety Helps Make Your Training More Effective

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, having variety in your training can help make your training more effective, which is, of course what everyone is trying to do with their training. Introducing running into your program in addition to just cycling can help keep you motivated to train throughout the week and prevent dry spells due to burn out.

Running in between hard bike rides helps to break up your week and really gives your training some variety. This prevents burn out and boredom from doing the same training rides every week. Even though I love cycling, after a few weeks I sometimes need a break. Rather than take a day off and waste valuable training time, I can now go for a run, unwind from cycling, still work my legs and get a good cardio workout in.

Breaking up your workouts with running is a win win situation no matter how you look at it. If you don’t mind running, then it is just another form of training. However, if you dread running (like I used to), then spending one or two days a week running will make the cycling days even sweeter and will motivate you to train even when your ti

red, sick, or the weather is subpar.

Running Is Mentally and Physically Tough

Running is mentally and physically tough. Photo by Unlisted Sightings.

Running is mentally and physically tough. Photo by Unlisted Sightings.

There is no doubt about it, running is tough. There is no relief from the pain and even when your going down hills, you can’t fly down them like you can on a bicycle. Running requires constant effort by your legs and as a result is an extremely tough exercise, both mentally and physically.

Mentally, running has always been extremely hard for me. I’m so used to the speed and adrenaline rush of motocross and cycling that it takes a lot to accept the fact that you simply aren’t moving fast, even when you’re putting in a very hard effort. This type of mental integrity, can actually be a benefit come race time. It helps to build your mental strength, which should help you out on the track at the end of a long moto when you really want to give in to the heat, to the fatigue and to the rough track, but know that it is in your best interest to push for 2 more laps until the finish.

Physically, the toughest part of running is that their is absolutely no relief. No matter the terrain, you always must be moving your legs, and even going fast down hills takes energy. While cycling you can recover slightly on downhills and flats, however, while running this simply isn’t possible and you are forced to put in a constant effort. This allows running to greatly improve the effectiveness of your training.

We’re In a Recession, and Running is Cheap

Running is a cheap form of training. Photo by jenn jenn.

Running is a cheap form of training. Photo by Jenn Jenn.

Our economy is in a very tough time right now, and motocross riders will be hit some of the hardest of any consumers. Everyone is looking to cut costs, and your training routine may be one of those areas in which to cut costs. I love cycling, but it can be a very expensive, especially once your equipment begins breaking and clothes need replacing.

Thankfully, running is a relatively cheap way to get in almost the same level of workout. It may not be quite as fun as cycling, but when your choice is between running or no workout at all, running is always the better option.

One of the greatest things about running, is that you can run under almost any conditions and with almost any equipment. While a good pair of running shoes is a plus and proper winter aparell is great for cold winter runs, household items can be made to work, making running much more of a budget activity. Cycling, on the other hand, requires special shoes, special clothes, a helmet and gloves. I’m not saying that all of the cycling gear is a waste, in fact it is one of my favorite parts of the sport. However, when times get tough, sometimes we need to cut costs, and running is one possible way to accomplish this.

Surprisingly, Trail Running Can be Fun

Trail running can be a fun form of exercise. Photo by anselm.

Trail running can be a surprisingly fun form of exercise. Photo by Anselm.

While running on the road is possibly one of the most boring training activities I do, trail running can be surprisingly fun. There are not a lot of mountain biking trails around here, and if there were, I am in no position to invest in an entirely new bike and set of gear just to mountain bike in the woods. However, trail running is a great way to see the sights and sounds of the woods for a low cost.

I first got introduced to train running during middle school where I was a member of the cross country team, and ever since I have had a soft spot for the sport. I don’t do it enough, especially because of the rough winter weather we’ve been having, but I will definitely be introducing it more into my program come spring, and more importantly, summer.

One of the great parts of trail running is that you can use essentially the same gear as road running. While mountain biking requires an entirely new arsenal of equipment compared to road cycling, you can basically use all of the same gear for trail running. This keeps the price low, yet maximizes the fun level of running, which can be quite boring in other cases.

Conclusion

I love cycling, it is my preferred cardio exercise and the main way I train for motocross. However, after months of cycling, I began looking for something new to introduce into my program. I wanted a way to mix up my training a little bit and add some more variety. In addition, I wanted to find a way to get my cardio in when I didn’t have 2+ hours to spend on the bike. For me, running has field this void and I have greatly enjoyed the nice addition it has made to my training. I still cycle for about 75% of my motocross training, however, running has offered a valid alternative when cycling just is not feasible.

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Follow Up: Suzuki’s 2009 Amateur Plans

Suzuki Logo

A few months ago, Suzuki announced that they were going to cut their amateur team. When the news was announced, I was extremely upset by the news and greatly felt that it would have an extremely negative impact on the future of Suzuki’s motocross program. Thankfully, Suzuki has now officially announced their 2009 amateur racing plans, and I am proud to present them to you.

Rockstar Suzuki Amateur Team

Ian Trettel Is one of Suzuki's rising stars

Ian Trettel is one of Suzuki's rising amateur stars. Photo by GuyB.

After initially announcing that their support of their amateur team would be eliminated, it appears as if Suzuki has backed off. They have announced that they will once again be funding a Rockstar Amateur team to support some of their fastest riders. Some of the riders on the team will be:

  • Ian Trettel
  • Justin Weeks
  • Jarek Blakovic
  • Jeremy Martin

To see the full list visit Vital MX.

This is an absolutely incredible move for American Suzuki to make. By planning to eliminating their amateur team, they were effectively cutting off their flow of fresh talent to their pro team and ultimately were reducing the number of pros, amateurs, and the number of general citizens riding Suzuki bikes.

By reinstating their amateur program, Suzuki has invigorated the youth perception of their brand and revitalized their potential both on the amateur, consumer and professional motocross levels.

Regional Contingency

Jimmy Decotis, one of the fastest rides to come out of New England in recent years, rides Suzukis. Photo by Paul Buckley.

Jimmy Decotis, one of the fastest riders from New England, rides Suzukis and collects their regional contingency. Photo by Buckley Photos.

When Suzuki announced to cut its amateur support program, there were also a plethora of rumors swirling around the internet that t

hey would be cancelling their contingency program. Surprisingly, I nearly believed them. It made sense, if they were in a dire enough situation to cut their entire amateur team, then cutting contingency was the next logical step.

Thankfully, this is not the case, at all. A few weeks ago, American Suzuki announced their contingency schedule, with hundreds of amateur races throughout the country on the list. While the full details of the program have not yet been announced, it is nice to know that they will be offering contingency in 2009 and (hopefully) beyond.

Contingency is a crucial part of any manufacturer’s marketing scheme. Contingency is important in order to get more people on your brand, ultimately maximizing your brand recognition and the effect you have on the market. Without contingency, many serious local racers would choose other brands as the idea of up to $1000 (for multiple classes) can be intriguing for many riders hit by the current economic crisis.

That being said, it is apparent that Suzuki has cut down their contingency program for 2009. For this, I 100% forgive them. If this is something which needs to be cut in order for Suzuki to survive the recession, I definitely understand, as I would much rather see limited contingency than to see them go out of business.

In addition, it also seems as if the biggest single amateur race in America, Loretta Lynn’s is not on the contingency list. This is definitely sad to see, especially for the elite riders who have the ability to make it to Loretta’s, however, most of these riders will spend the majority of their season at other races and Suzuki’s current schedule will cover almost every amateur racer over the course of the 2009 season.

If you want to see this entire schedule, check out the PDF provided by Suzuki

It is great to see Suzuki stepping up to the plate in 2009 and retaining their amateur program. I believe that it will help thousands of kids throughout the country and help to further push the Suzuki brand in our rough economy. While taking reasonable measures to cut back the costs of running an amateur team, as a whole they are doing some great things for the sport of amateur motocross and hopefully we will not see any more manufacturers even considering cutting their amateur programs.

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What Killed the Two-Stroke Motocross Bike and What May Bring it Back

The two-stroke motocross bike is all but dead. The epic staple of the motocross industry from decades ago is now an aging relic. The trademark br-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-p of a properly tuned 125cc two-stroke motocross bike is now a rarity, and the four-strokes have already begun their assault on the mini bike classes.
In years past, the two-stroke was the ultimate in motocross bike technology. Paul Buckley Photo.
-Photo by Paul Buckley.

The fact that two-strokes are quickly becoming an antique in the motocross world is undeniable. But what exactly killed this ingenious technology? Two-strokes are lighter, faster (at the same displacement), cheaper to buy and maintain, and easier to work on. On paper they are a clear victor over the louder, heavier, more expensive and more complicated four-strokes. So, what exactly is responsible for the demise of the two-stroke?

Racing Organizations (AMA/FIM)

When the four-stroke was first introduced, it was a joke. Heavy, expensive, loud and slow. Riding one was more of a way to make a statement about your personality than to actually ride the best bike available. So, racing organizations such as the AMA and FIM felt it necessary to give them a (huge) handicap. Almost double displacement for Motocross/Supercross class and exactly twice the displacement for the Lites classes. At the time this felt like a sensible move. The newer technology needed the extra motor size in order to even be remotely competitive.

The problem with the assumption by the AMA and FIM that the four-strokes are slower by nature is that it is wrong. Sure, you can make an argument that the piston travels four time as far for one revolution, but in practice, four-strokes can produce almost the same amount of power as an equally displaced two-stroke. As technology has evolved, the twice as large four-stroke engines have rocketed ahead of two-strokes, making two-strokes too slow for serious competition in the pro or national amateur levels.

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Suzuki to Cut Amateur Racing Support Team


A few weeks ago, I posted about the current state of the motocross economy. In the post, I talked about how I felt the motocross economy would crumble from the bottom up. However, it appears as if I may have been incorrect in this thought.

Recently, Suzuki decided to cut their amateur racing support team. In other words, the factory Suzuki team ran by Cole Gress in years past is now debunk. According to AmateurMX on Vital Mx

…Suzuki has dropped their amateur program. In the current economic climate they just couldn't justify the expense of continuing with their current business model. Basically, no more free or discounted bike deals and no more factory trackside support in the fashion they were providing it. And no more factory amateur team.

Suzuki is clearly being strongly affected by the current economy situation throughout the world, and is starting to cut expenses to survive, however, I believe that they are cutting the wrong expenses.

Amateur Riders are the Backbone of the Motocross Community

Ryan Dungey is an example of a rider who Suzuki pulled form their Amateur team to their pro team, and has had great success. Paul Buckley Photo.
-Photo by Paul Buckley.

What Suzuki is failing to realize with this move is that the amateur riders are the backbone of the motocross community, and of their motocross business as a whole. Granted, the amateur racing team only supported a small number of elite amateur racers, the results of this decision will have a ripple effect throughout the industry. There is no denying that Ryan Villopoto has greatly affected Kawasaki's popularity, even before he turned pro. Similarly, Suzuki's upcoming amateur riders, such as Eli Tolmac, Nico Izzi, and the Trettle brothers could have potentially made Suzuki “cool” again. By completely cutting out their amateur team, these riders will almost certainly be forced to another amateur team (Kawasaki's prospering Team Green program, for example), in order to continue racing at the elite level. This, in return, will bring their present and future publicity and fan base to another manufacturer.

The transition from amateur to pro is difficult for even the most talented 16 year old amateur stars. Kawasaki Team Green has managed to make this transition easier by supporting their riders throughout the transition, so they are free of worrying about what team they will ride for. This method has worked really well for Kawasaki as it provides them with a steady stream of talented incoming ri

ders and it benefits their riders by providing them with a solid ride in one of the biggest transitions of their career. Because Suzuki has canceled their amateur racing team, they will be void of this luxury, and will have an extremely difficult time convincing amateur riders to switch from a bike they know and personnel they are friends with, to a new team with a new bike and a new group of people around them. This decision by Suzuki could potentially cost them thousands of dollars, and hundreds of wins by cutting off their steady supply of fresh pro riders.

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Is the Motocross Economy Recession-Proof?

The American economy is currently in a decline.

There is no denying that America is currently in a time of economic downturn. The stock market continues to fall, people are loosing their jobs left and right, and major companies are crumbling. As motocross racers, we rely on an elaborate system of organizations, tracks, and companies to keep our sport going. However, as the economy continues to crumble, an increasingly prominent question in the minds of motocross racers and industry members will be “Is the motocross economy recession proof”

Motocross is a Luxury

Motocross is a luxury in most people's live.s Paul Buckley photo.
-Photo by Paul Buckley.

The first step in analyzing whether or not the motocross economy is recession proof is the realization that motocross is a luxury. The people who truly pump money into the motocross economy, the hard core amateur racers, race because they enjoy it. They are not getting paid, and the truth is that motocross costs these riders a lot of money each year. A lot of serious amateurs may think that motocross is a crucial part of their life, but the truth is, when the going gets tough economically, expensive luxuries such as motocross are the first to get cut out of family's budgets. There is no denying that motocross is a very expensive sport. From the bikes, to maintenance and safety gear, to entry fees, racing motocross can cost a family thousands of dollars a year. As a result, as more and more americans loose their jobs or get their paycheck cuts, they will look to cut the fat out of their budget, and motocross is basically a slab of bacon.

If the american economy continues to worsen, many riders will look to cut racing out of their motocross activities. This transition from racing to practicing is one we have already begun to see throughout New England. The past few years, attendances at races have dropped significantly, however, many shops are still reporting good business, and practice tracks are generally pretty busy. Practicing provides riders with the adrenaline rush of racing, but without the travel, entry fees, and other expenses of racing. In the past few years average attendances of races has dropped from the mid 3 and 400s to right around 200. This incredible drop is due to the added expense of racing, people's desire to save money while still enjoying motocross. The decrease in racing will, and already has, hurt many racing clubs/organizations. They main source of income, race entry fees, has been nearly cut in half, while their expenses have stayed constant.

However, if something is not done in our country to reverse the economic downturn, many riders will be forced to cut racing out of their lives totally. While this is surely not something that most riders would enjoy doing, when motocross comes between putting food on your families table, the choice is clear. The problem that the motocross economy will have if the American recession worsens is that motocross is a luxury in most peoples lives, and something that they would be willing to give up in order to better provide for their family.

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