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Trainer Talk With....David Pingree

by Racer X Virtual Trainer

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No, that's not Ben Townley on the 101, that's Ping as he grabs the holeshot in the AMA Hotwheels Supermoto Lites Class
Virtual Trainer: Hey David. Thanks for letting us interview you. I know it's been a tough couple of months with the crash and all so let's start out with that; how are your arms feeling and what's on tap next?
David Pingree: Sure, no problem Tim. Well, for sure my arms are getting better day by day. It is still really early. I am only 5 weeks post surgery. It was a pretty big crash for sure. I broke my left forearm radius and ulna in half. They are both plated with 6 screws in each plate. I broke my navicular in my left wrist, so that got a screw. And I broke the corner off on the radius of my right wrist so that got a screw too. So it was pretty gnarly.

Yea, it looked bad from the video that I saw. (video link)
Yea, it was bad. I actually have some photos of the crash in sequence that are going to run that are going to gross some people out. It’s a great shot. You can actually see my hand hitting the ground and then the middle of my arm just folds and my hand hits me in the shoulder.

Man, that’s sick! Sounds like Joe Theisman's leg when he broke it back in the day. I know you are fighting for a Supermoto title; did you do anything to stay in shape while you were injured?
You know, last week I did one bicycle ride. I went out on my mountain bike with the wrist braces I got and just wanted to see if I could do anything with them on. When I had the casts on I couldn’t do anything. Sweating in a cast just sucks. They stink bad enough and adding sweat just makes it worse. So I didn’t do much, but I really didn’t think I was going to be able to come back and race anyway. So I literally did nothing for 5 weeks except sit on my couch and eat Vicodin. That was it. But then when I realized I was going to race again, I went out and did a bicycle ride got in my Jacuzzi and tried to get loose and warmed up and stuff. Even this week I have been real busy with Racer X stuff so I haven’t been able to train at all. But now, I think I am better off going into the next race rested and hydrated then going out and trying to get it all back in three or four days. [ed. Note: Ping placed first and fourth at the last round of the Troy Lee Designs' AMA Supermoto Mayhem at Morongo and second in Supermoto Lites overall points!]

How does the Supermoto series compare to the outdoor nationals or the Supercross series. Do you take it as serious and is it as physically demanding?
You know, it started out just for fun and I wasn’t taking it too seriously. But then I won a few races and looked at it and decided it would be more fun to win more races and possibly a championship and make a second career out of it. So at that point I started taking it seriously. Before I got hurt I was riding a couple times per week that were real disciplined and focused sessions. I was riding my road bike and doing sessions with Charles [Dao] and really working hard at it. You know, last year when I did a couple of these I had no intention of doing the entire series. That was even my attitude a little bit in the beginning of this year, but I thought if I could find a good deal then maybe I would do the whole series. And then I got the offer from Troy Lee to ride for his team which is a Factory Honda Supermoto team; that’s no small thing. You don’t take an opportunity like that light-heartedly. Now I take Supermoto very serious and work hard at it. As for how physically demanding it is; it is definitely easier than MX or SX. You are sitting most of the time and the motos are only 15 minutes long so it’s definitely not as physically demanding. It requires a lot of concentration though. There isn’t a lot of room for error when trying to hit your lines coming into a corner. You also have to really pay attention to the transition between the paved surface and the dirt because your tires get slick with dirt on them.

Racer X's fastest editor ended up second overall in the Supermoto Lites class

photo: motocross.com

You mentioned training with Charles Dao who has contributed a lot to the VT website and is one of our volunteers on the expert panel. What type of training do you do with him?
Well, in the beginning Charles was working out with me but he didn’t quite have the cardiovascular fitness that I do so we started doing more of his style of training which is more strength training oriented. We would do sets of things with higher weight and lower reps and not quite as high a heart rate. We just did basic strength training exercises that Charles likes like plyometrics with the balls, rows, dumbbell bench press on the ball, pull-ups, dips, and other basic stuff. We were in the gym for about an hour and that was it. Since I have a full time job at Racer X I don’t have the time to go in and train in the morning, take a break get something to eat and then come back later and train again or ride. All I have is an hour, so our workouts are focused and intense.

Does Charles Ride the Road Bike with You?
No. I got him a bike but he hasn’t jumped on it yet with me. But I have a ton of guys out here to ride with. All the motocross guys are into it and some of my friends ride. There is never a shortage of people to go ride.

When you Cycle, what type of rides do you go on?
Well, it kind-of depends. During the season I was doing this 30 mile loop that takes me just over an hour. But this fall and winter I want to try and get some of my base fitness back that I feel I have lost with this injury and the five weeks off by going out and doing some longer rides of two to three hours that are really slow to get my base built up again and then build from there.

Do you use a Heart Rate Monitor on your rides?
Well, I trained with heart rate monitor for so long that I can pretty much tell what my heart rate is now within a couple of beats. On my longer rides, I just use the premise that if you can talk to someone and hold a conversation then I am in the zone I want to be in for my long rides. It’s pretty easy to tell when you start pushing and your heart rate goes way up.

Back when you were in your prime and a factory rider, did you take your training seriously or was it an afterthought?
I guess later in my career I did. But back then there wasn’t all the talk about training like there is now. Now everyone has a trainer and the face of the sport has really changed. Back then there were only a few trainers like Jeff Spencer who is still around today, but only the elite 250 guys could afford him back then. I did what I thought was right, but in hind sight I didn’t have any idea what I was doing.

So does the light bulb go off now and do you say to yourself, “man if I just would have known what I know now!”
Well, sure. That’s how everything works out, right? Unless you have someone to show you the right way you have to learn it yourself and that takes time. Unfortunately that’s where some opportunities were not taken advantage of completely. But it was never for a lack of trying. I would say that in the last 4 or 5 years of my career I think I started getting it right. There were a couple of years that were really good though and fitness wasn’t an issue at all.

At the Racer X 500 meter rowing challenge in May, Ping was one of the first to jump on and set the time to beat. Check out his times here.

What were some of the misconceptions regarding training you had as you matured through your MX career?
Well, there were definitely some things that I wasn’t doing right. Small things like lifting heavy weights during the season and not riding motos the way I should have. The overall lack of a program and lack of knowledge hurt me. It would have been great to have someone there with a stop watch counting laps and keeping track of lap times and keeping a log of it. But when you are a kid you don’t care about that stuff or want to hear about it. It’s like talking about an IRA [retirement account for you kids out there] or something. You don’t care about keeping track of stuff, you just want to go ride. My first full season as a pro with Pro Circuit I definitely did not do the work. I had all kinds of distractions and was young and after the 15 minute mark, I was done. I have some regrets that way but what can you do?

How much of a role do you think conditioning plays in the success of a rider versus pure talent?
Well, if you look at a guy like Ricky [Carmichael] I think his conditioning played a huge role in his success. Not just the fact that he didn’t get tired, but he knew in his mind that he wasn’t going to get tired. So I think that extra confidence went a long way. That is the biggest part of this sport, confidence; more so than talent or fitness or anything else. It’s just confidence. He knew that he could go as hard as he wanted for as long as he wanted and not get tired. He used that to his advantage and he knew he was the guy to beat.

Yeah, it will be interesting to see if Aldon Baker can transform James Stewart into the same type of champion as Ricky. That will be the proof if fitness and training really are that important. I mean, James is often the fastest guy on the track but so far no outdoor Championships. Plus, when Ryan Villopoto moves up to the big bikes it is going to get really interesting because he and Randy Lawrence seem to have a great program going.
Yeah, for sure. Randy and Ryan have a great program and Ryan is just amazing. Randy was my mechanic for two years and I know first hand that he is really good at reading the rider and getting inside their head and knowing what they are thinking. He knows when to push and when to back off. He isn’t afraid to break a pit board over his knee and start screaming at him. He also knows when to back off if a guy is getting frustrated. I think those guys have a really cool deal going on and obviously its working.

Yeah, for sure. Those guys are certainly doing something right. Let’s talk a little about supplements and performance enhancing drugs. First Supplements. Do you use supplements like Cytomax to train with?
Oh for sure. I use all of the Cyto products. “Iron” [Montgomery] has been keeping me hooked up with Cyto throughout my career. Every competitive endurance athlete uses this stuff; it is simply the best product out there. I also use their Muscle Milk product and the Joint Matrix capsules for my knees. I’ve had three knee reconstructions and the Joint Matrix is a life saver for me.

Simply known as, The Crash!

What about performance enhancing drug use in the sport? Do you think they are being used and to what extent?
Um, yeah, for sure they are. Unfortunately, I know first hand. I know guys that are doing it; top guys. Not a rumor or second-hand; I know for sure that it is being used. I have seen the bottles in their fridges. HGH [Human Growth Hormone] is all the rage in the sport right now. I have never done it my self or done anything else like that, but it almost makes you wonder if you are stupid for not doing it. The AMA doesn’t test for it and it definitely helps.

Well, sure, but there is that nasty side effect that it can kill you later in life.
Well, yeah, there is that. But I guess you have to weigh it out. I mean I’m not sure how much it helps but if you read what it does it sort of fits with what you need as a motocross rider. I think it is a bummer and I wish there was a way to test for HGH. I’m not even sure there is a way to test for it. I think it is a bummer and if you could completely eliminate all of that crap it would be ideal. I think people would definitely be disappointed if they knew who was doing it. And I’m sure it goes even deeper than what I know. But what I do know is just mind blowing.

Do you think the AMA should step up and recognize the problem and perform mandatory drug testing?
Well, I don’t know. It’s like the tour. If these guys really want to use the stuff they are going to find a way. I see it as loosing battle. Like I said earlier, of the little bit I do know about HGH, I’m not sure there is a reliable way of testing for it. I do know that the AMA tests for pot, cocaine, and speed which is ridiculous. No one is using that stuff. Well, I shouldn’t say no one, but those aren’t drugs that will enhance your performance, especially pot (laughs). I do know one kid that would fail every week if they tested him. But from what little I have read, drug testing is generations behind the drugs that are being used to mask the illegal drugs. I just think it is a loosing battle from that stand point.

Good Point! Well, David, thanks for sharing and letting us in on that bit of insider information. Good luck with the arms.
Sure thing, Tim. Anytime!

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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