Here's the question for the day - is motocross riding the most physically demanding sport? It's a good question and depending on who you're talking to, the responses may be across the board.
Motocross riding in and of itself is demanding on so many levels. Anyone who participates in the sport of motocross riding already knows, firsthand, the physical and mental drain on the body. Those contemplating getting involved with motocross riding should know what's in store and plan accordingly.
There are two sides of the coin when it comes to "getting ready" for motocross competition. The sport is definitely for the physically and mentally fit, meaning, body mass, muscle tone and strength, along with a positive frame of mind need to be in tip-top shape. The ability to be flexible, versatile and move as quickly as a cat when it's called for is also part of the "must have" package in order to handle everything thrown at you on the track. The body is its own "lean, mean machine" and must be super fit to endure the rigors of the track. This includes the strength and stamina to maneuver a 200+ pound piece of machinery with precision around the track using every muscle from head to toe.
Along with "getting ready" for motocross, riders also need the strength to handle "getting geared-up." Simply try walking around wearing a helmet, boots, chest and back protection, a neck brace and gloves and you'll wonder how it's done on two wheels.
The flip side of the coin is all about your mental state of mind. Riding motocross takes concentration and lots of it. While whipping around the track at top speeds taking on the challenges, your mind is constantly shifting - just like your body - to meet the needs of the current or next move. Your mind is in "strategic think mode" all the time as you must plan for the current move while thinking about the next move down the track. It's much the same as if you were playing in an intense game of high stakes chess where the wrong move means your competition will take home the prize.
A good, solid diet that goes beyond the scope of burgers and fries and a few brews is also essential to feeding both the body and the brain. As you can see, riding involves much more than putting on a helmet and racing around a track.
If you've ridden for recreation along a trail or competed in an enduro, think about the strain on the hands, wrists, arms, legs, back and spine as you're jostled left to right and up and down, sometimes seated other times standing, while doing a balancing act on the pegs. All of these "movements" take a hefty toll on the energy levels.
With motocross, ramp it up even more by adding the need to keep the speed amped while negotiating the track, staying ahead of the pack and taking on a number of challenging obstacles while still maintaining absolute control of the bike. Add a few whoops and the demand on your body, especially the arms, goes to a whole other level.
Studies of motocross riders in past years have compared riders against athletes from demanding sports such as NFL football, professional basketball, track and soccer with results showing that riders, overall, were at a higher level of physical fitness. A 2002 study confirmed the previous results. This in no way takes away from the fact that those participating at high-level supercross competitions, timed trials, arenacross or enduros aren't in a demanding sport. Each takes a toll and for those who are ready, willing and able to take on the tracks and trails and provide all the physical and mental energy it takes, we salute you.
Chinchilla’s Motorcoss Club regularly holds race days for those fit and enthusiastic motorcross fans. The next one will be held on October 21, from 7am at the Brigalow Motorcross Track.