I need to be careful not to complain too much about the off-season since, for me, it only lasts two months. However, it has only been two weeks since I have been on a motorbike and I am already feeling the need for speed…
For Canadian riders, the racing season is really short. Technically, the off-season is much longer than the actual season. However, most racers I know in Canada are actively involved in other sports as well. With Canada having a full four seasons, there are plenty of options to keep the adrenaline going when not racing around the track.
It seems like Jordon Szoke has it figured out, riding mountain bikes, trials, and most likely anything with wheels (and winning on everything with wheels!). There also seems to be more and more track days popping up, which are a great way to spend a day setting up your bike and keeping your skills razor sharp.
Another way to use your time in the off-season is to heal up from the previous year. From time to time, you might have a year that is plagued with injuries. Many times you get one injury from an accident and then all the other injuries stem from not letting that first one heal properly. No one wants to sit out an event, especially when the season is only three months long with a handful of events. Training at the gym is a great way to burn time in the off-season as well. I find that during the season it is difficult to maintain the same workout schedule, since the travel and testing schedule really wipes you out and throws off your routine.
I started running marathons about five years ago, and it was a great goal to work towards and helped me train knowing I had that brutal four hour run coming up. Over the past few years I have had a few injuries that have really kept me from running, and I miss the ‘runner’s high’ that you get. I ended up switching to other cardio equipment that was not as hard on my lower body. Running is hard to get into, but also hard to stop when you finally do get into it.
Training at the gym allows me to catch up on TV thanks to my iPad, but it is still a pretty boring way to stay in shape. I am limited to cardio machines and stretching since, for me, any sort of weight training will just have me bulk up – which is the last thing a Superbike racer wants! Starting each season injury-free should be your main priority and, ideally, you want to be in shape. Another great way to stay in shape year-round (based on recent personal experience) is to have a baby! That will keep you on your feet 24/7 and running day and night.
Another great way to spend the off-season is marketing yourself and your team to attract new sponsors, and supporting the current ones. Spend time at your local dealership or go to the bike shows near you to make sure you stay connected with industry people and show your appreciation for any support you have received or any potential support you might get. Look outside the bike industry for support, since this is sometimes a much more successful way to get race support. Use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) to get your name out there and the names of your sponsors.
You all know how hard it is to get and keep sponsors these days. Don’t ever forget that, unless your name is Lorenzo or Marquez, there are thousands of other racers just like you trying to get support from just a handful of the same companies. It is not always talent that will get you the free stuff and the big money. Sometimes it is how you handle yourself in the off-season and the support you give back to the industry. Offer to write a blog for a magazine or website… wait a minute, don’t do that – I will lose my chance to do exactly what I am suggesting you do!
Finally, relax, spend time with your family and try doing something unrelated to racing/riding. I am sure your significant other will only support you more during the race season if you give them some time during the off-season.
– Dan Kruger #71