Second Annual Virtual Trainer/Concept2 Rowing Challenge
By Tim Crytser
photos David Kelly and Tim Crytser
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First Time Around
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The Leader Board at Loretta's!

Last year Virtual Trainer showed up at Loretta Lynn's with little more than a 10x10 tent, two Concept2 rowers, some TransfomX bars, and the excitement of seeing the Ranch for the first time. The goal for the week was to introduce the rower and the bars to the motocross community and have a little competition to find the fastest 500 meter rowers at the Ranch. The fastest times would take the rowers home at the end of the week. Last year's event was so popular that Concept2 once again donated two rowers to be used as torture devices and then given away. Last year only the men were given the chance to win a rower as we split the participants into heavy weights and light weights. This year, we wanted to get the ladies involved so two divisions were created; one for the men and one for women. The kids weren't left out either as they were competing for a free week of training at the Millsaps Training Facility, courtesy of MTF. And once again we had Ricky Carmichael and Travis Pastrana's times to use as benchmarks.

Better the Second Time
This year Virtual Trainer showed up at Loretta's with a bigger and better setup including more banners, a bigger space, and better location (thanks to Tim Cotter of MX Sports). Concept2 has been selling so many rowers to the MX industry, they even sent employee, Greg Hammond along to talk rowing and answer questions. The 10x10 space was not only filled with two brand new rowers and several TransformX Bars courtesy of, but several of the industries top trainers spent much of their time milling around the tent. Trainers including Coach Seiji ( Kawasaki Extreme Team Green ), Greg DiRenzo (Trey Canard's trainer), Kim Wathen (Virtual Trainer's Dietician), and Aldon Baker (James Stewart's trainer) talked to riders and answered questions all week long. The space was bigger and better for sure as we even had Fuel Clothing's Shane Gould there with a bunch of new swag and plenty of stickers. Virtual Trainer continues to gain momentum in the industry and if the activity at Loretta's is any indication of things to come, we are getting ready to blow this thing wide open!  The booth was busy for sure with close to 200 registered rowers competing for one of the $1200 rowers. 

The Men
The men were going at it from the drop of the hat.  Right out of the gate early Monday morning, motocross pro Greg Schell posted a respectable time of 1:38.0. Although that is a very good time, everyone including Greg knew he would have to dig a little deeper if he was going to stay in the hunt throughout the week. Sure enough, Greg's lead vanished late Tuesday afternoon
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Clint Friesen tries his best to break the chain on the Concept2 Rower!

 as Trey Canard's trainer Greg DiRenzo posted a very strong time of 1:30.2. Most of us believed DiRenzo would take home the rower but word quickly spread throughout the Ranch of the time to beat. Soon the folks at Millsaps Training Facility were boasting that they had a guy who could pull a 1:18! Travis Pastrana has World Class speed at 1:28.6 so most of us just waited in doubt that someone could pull such an amazing time; especially in the heat. On Friday afternoon, MTF trainer Clint Friesen showed up to back up the talk. Clint put his money where his mouth is and pulled a 1:21.5 in the 100 degree heat. That ties him for 11th place World Wide out of more than 1473 registered users on the Concept2 website. In one of the classiest gestures of the week, Clint donated the rower to and raised $1000 in an impromptu auction. Well done Clint!
The guys at Verbmoto were also fixtures at the booth when they weren't filming. Editor Brent Stallo and Racer X/Vurb video extraordinaire Robb Swiatek went head-to-head in one of the more competitive battles of the week. Brent prevailed and ended up posting the 4th fastest time of the week! He even beat RC's time of 1:34.5. Read Brent's Blog as he describes his grueling (well not really) training routine leading up to his triumphant thumping of the GOAT.
The Girls
Adding the girls to the fight card was a genius move. Not only are they easier to look at they are competitive as hell! Miss Arenacross, Ashley Phillips (1:58.6), Miss Motocross, Erin Normoyle and several other very attractive ladies showed that pretty girls can be athletes as well. The first person of the week to garner a crowd was the very fit Nicole Marshall (1:53.8). Nicole was at the Ranch with her husband, Rod who qualified for the 35 plus and 40 plus classes. This stay-at-home mom was game all week showing true grit and determination as she rowed several times with injuries accumulated throughout the week. She threw-down with two of motocrosses future stars, #78 Sarah Price and #90 Toni Kirby and gave these youngsters all they could handle.  In the end, injuries got the best of Nicole as she was last seen heading toward the beer tent for some therapy.

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Nicole Marshall gives it her all!

Friday morning the leader board showed a tie between Sarah and Toni with a time of 1:53.1. Earlier in the week, Miss Motocross, Erin Normoyle threw down a challenge to Sarah (who, at the time, was the sole leader) in a 500 meter row-off in front of the Verbmoto cameras under the Air Nautiques Dry Dock. The stage was set as Erin promised she wasn't just a pretty face but an athlete as well and was going to destroy Sarah's time. Unfortunately, Erin had to leave the Ranch before we could arrange the battle (Sarah says she was just scared!), but lucky for us, on Wednesday, Toni tied Sarah's time. The stage was once again set as the girls agreed to a row-off in front of the cameras once they finished their final motos Friday morning. The fastest time would take home the rower in this head-to-head battle.

In an amazing show of sportsmanship, Sarah showed up as promised even though she had just lost a Championship in heart breaking fashion only hours before on the track. With a half lap to go, Sarah was passed by eventual Champion, Vicki Golden in dramatic fashion to finish second for the first time all year. This young lady is only 15 years old but showed character and maturity not often seen in today's athletes. The Dry Dock was filled to capacity as Verbmoto videoed while Kevin Kelly and Jason Weigant provided the play-by-play. The girls put their heart and sole into every stroke with Sarah eventually getting the better of Toni by 7 one-hundreds of a second! It was that close. Both of these girls deserve a pat on the back for putting on one heck of a show.

See You Next Year
In the end, there was a lot of sweating and yes even a few puked as everyone who tried to beat the rower soon found out that there is no beating the rower. There is already talk about what we are going to do for next year's rowing challenge and yes, we will be giving away two more rowers. If you are one of the lucky few who are fast enough to qualify for Loretta's then you need to take notice of all the top athletes and trainers using a rower to improve their fitness. You may not be able to pull a 500 meter time like Clint, but with some practice you will be surprised at how fast (and fit) you will become. The Concept2 rower along with the moto-specific TransformX bars will have you well on your way to a Championship on and off the track!
That's it for now. Until next time, good luck with your training and, as always, VT can be reached anytime at .  In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section , your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.

Check out more Fun Pictures from Loretta's >> Click Here !

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Sarah and Toni get ready for battle!

photo: David Kelly

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Sarah Price Warming Up before her moto!

photo: David Kelly

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Miss motocross Erin Normoyle!