Well you’ve probably wondered what I’ve been up to the last few months and I finally got a chance to sit down and type this up. A lot has gone on since my last update in November so let me fill you in:
Right before Thanksgiving we headed off to Spain to do some testing with my team and attend the FIM Gala.
We got some solid riding in at bunch of different tracks around Spain, and had some great food thanks to my food connoisseur/team owner Thierry! Not to mention my friend and MotoGP racer Dani Pedrosa hooked me up with his buddy Sete Gibernau, who let us come to his house and do some riding on his fleet of mini-MotoGP bikes— it was unreal. Hopefully we can do that again. I know I can shave off some time from the stopwatch, lol. And last but not least, Sete’s cousin Peto took us on a tour of some of Barcelona’s most historic spots, which were amazing. Peto actually runs a track/camp out there, which you should check out www.poleacamp.com.
Next, we arrived in Jerez for the Gala. I’m really not one for the limelight but there was a lot of buzz because of my new endeavor. Still, it was quite exciting. Overall it was a lot of fun… dress up in a penguin suit (haha) and hang with a bunch of other top athletes from all over the world. The highlight was Sunday evening when I was awarded a medal for my fourth consecutive Supercross title— a good way to stamp my U.S. career.
Once we got back to the States it was only two days before Thanksgiving so my wife and I shot up home to Washington to spend some time with family. We also got to step foot into our new home we purchased over the summer and guess what? It snowed! We got to experience the PNW life to its fullest and use our wood-burning fireplace. I have truly missed it up there. Afterwards, it was back to California to get ball rolling with training and riding.
Right now, it’s kind of the boring part. The everyday grind of training and riding/testing. However, at this point the main goal is to get the bike dialed-in so I am comfortable. The rest will come. In Europe, the team runs some different hard parts here and there and their bike set-up is a bit different than what I’m use to, so it’s a bit of a learning curve. But, I think we have pretty much worked all the bugs out and are sitting pretty good. It definitely takes time but anything worth doing does. Hard work pays off! “NO SHORTCUTS.”
That’s about all I have for now. We’re busy getting ready to make the move over to Europe later this month so it’s all hands on deck… -RV
So it’s been a couple of weeks since my last update. Everything is going well and I’ve been able to put in a good amount of seat time on my new Euro-spec KX450F. It’s pretty cool because the FIM series isn’t as restricted as SX/MX so we get to try some different stuff.
For instance my bike uses an trick-looking carbon fiber subframe that also serves as the airbox. It’s not a huge weight savings, but every little bit helps at this level. Other than that, my bike isn’t too different than last year’s.
We’ve been doing a little bit of testing here and there, but mainly I’m just focusing on putting in motos and getting my pace back to where it needs to be. Outside of that, I’ve been spending sometime working on a couple garage projects and hanging with my wife, Kristen, and my two French Bullies, Olive and Sako.
As you’re reading this I’m taking off to Spain for the FIM gala. This time I have my wife and Tanner (my practice bike mechanic/man friend, J/K Tanner, haha) in tow. We are actually heading over a week early, as the team decided to combine this trip with some more testing which is always good, because Qatar will be here before we know it.
That’s all for now, I’ll drop another update when I return from Spain… -RV
Now that I’ve had the chance to idle for a minute, I want to give everybody a recap of what I was up to a couple weeks ago in Europe. So what did we do? We did a lot of driving that’s for sure. It’s kind of like SoCal but with less traffic and even further distances if you can believe that, haha. But the worst part? You can’t speed! There are cameras everywhere!
But seriously, I got over there and went straight to the race shop. I met the guys and had a little meeting to discuss the plan for the week, including riding and what Tyla was going to test. Nothing too special, just going through suspension stuff and different hard parts. Testing current settings and some for next year’s set-up— the normal deal, really. But it’s a real breath of fresh air to be involved with a team that’s excited and passionate about the sport.
We visited four different tracks and Tyla rode three of them. One was in Germany, one was in France, and the other was in Holland. It rained the first few days so the first track we went to was a little muddy. It would have been okay to train in but since we were trying to do some testing it wasn’t going to work. So we had to pack up and go somewhere else.
Most of the tracks in Europe have been there for a really long time so they are a little smaller than what we normally ride in the States. But the main difference is the various types of terrain. From 30 minutes to an hour, it will go from sand, to hard pack, to rock.
That Wednesday, I flew to Spain to see the knee doctor that works with the Barcelona soccer team, which is one of the biggest soccer teams in the world. He’s a high profile guy. I just wanted to get that check-up out of the way and make sure everything was okay to do one day of riding just to feel out the bike and see if there was anything major I needed, or wanted to change. He was pretty happy with my knee. He asked who did the surgery and I told him ‘Tom Hackett from the Steadman Clinic’ and he had heard of them. So that was reassuring. Everything looked good, so with that news, I returned to Belgium to do a little bit of riding.
I was pretty surprised with how good the bike was. I didn’t have to change anything. I started off with my current setting and hard parts. After I rode once, I put on the team’s stuff and it was good straight out of the box. We ended up riding at a sand track in Germany. It wasn’t obviously the best track to ride for my first day back on the bike, as it’s hard to ride sand slow. So I had to ride a little more aggressively than I would have had we rode on a hard pack track. I was definitely sore after that, haha. But it was good to be back on the bike…
As of right now I am still looking for a place to live in Europe. I have a couple ideas and have some people helping us who know the area pretty well. The plan is to base ourselves near the team and travel the world from there. For transportation I will probably get a little van. Everything is smaller in Europe but they have these little Opal vans with a sliding door and a wall that’s built-in, so that will be our ‘touring van’.
We had some good food too when we were over there. Nothing too crazy though. We ate Italian a few of the nights. Probably the biggest difference over there is that they have little to no preservatives in food so it doesn’t make you feel weighed down.
Now that I’m back in America the plan is to slowly get back to riding full-time when my 450 shows up later this week. Then I’ll go back over to Europe in mid-November for eight to ten days and we’ll do a little more testing and attend the the FIM Gala in Spain.
My current practice mechanic Tanner Ellingsen will be my mechanic here in the States but once we get over there his role will change. In Europe, there aren’t any goggle, gear, or dedicated people that do that one specific job, so the riders have to take care of that themselves. It’s a luxury to have that here in America so that’s what Tanner’s going to handle once the season gets underway.
Will hit you guys with another update soon as I have some riding under my belt.