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Saving Energy on the Track

by Sean Casey

450 Outdoor Champion, Ryan Dungey exibits power saving energy all over the track with superior technique and style.

photo - Steve Cox

This year's Southwick National was an interesting one to say the least. Dubbed “The Boss” for a reason, Ryan Dungey finally earned his number 1 plate. However, the track and a few of the riders put up their best efforts to stop him. With Short and Metcalf running out of gas, the notoriously rough track definitely had a factor in the overall outcome of the race. So, I thought this would be a perfect time to go over a few tips to help save some energy on a rough course.

Stand Up
One of the most important things to remember is to stand up. I know this is probably a no brainer, but some people will still ride as though the track is smooth. Most of the time, you will have to stand up later into corners and then get up sooner when exiting. For rougher corners, it is even a good idea to stand up through the whole turn and look to the edges of the track for smoother lines. Many European riders will do this because the course gets so brutal, if you sit down; your back will take all of the impact. This is not the best idea because your back could become tense and result in some serious pain.

Grip With Your Legs
This next tip goes hand and hand with standing up: gripping with your legs. I have said many times before that you will save yourself from arm pump and getting tired quickly if you squeeze the tank. The quadriceps are large enough to take the impact from a rough course and they can handle this stress much better than your forearms and biceps/triceps. You almost want to think of your arms as hinges to your core. Relaxing your grip on jumps will also keep your “hinges” from cramping and pumping up too much. To help get through extra tricky sections; you can even apply pressure to one side of the tank with your leg to help steer the bike.

Barcia may appear to be a wild child on the bike but there is a controlled chaos to his technique.

photo - Steve Cox

If you watched the 250’s, then you saw Barcia killing it everywhere. Other than his crazy style, he was doing something that caught my eye more than a few times during the second moto. If you notice, he was riding on his back wheel, a lot. The deep holes and moguls were not as bad when he could get the front wheel up. The back wheel would just roll over the bump and the rear shock absorbs the tire’s vertical travel. If you go through a rough section with both wheels down, it just rocks you back and forth. I am not saying to do a full blown wheelie here, but just getting your front tire to skim or get over the rough stuff will make life much easier. Remember that riding in a high gear will help the suspension work properly in the chop and provide you with more traction to get the front tire up

One final tip is to just relax! If you know that the track is rough, just accept it and ride. When you become tense, any bump and hole you hit is sent throughout your entire body. If your breathing is deep and even, you should be able to roll your shoulders back and ride smoother. By your rolling them back, you can keep that attack position much easier and you open up the diaphragm for this more efficient breathing. Like I said earlier, this is not hard stuff. Keep it simple and remember the basics!

About the Author:
Sean Casey has been riding/racing since the age of 13. Now attending the University of Central Florida, Sean is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine in Personal Training and studying Sport and Exercise Science. His site, MxTrainingBlog, covers everything from nutrition and training to racing mentality and riding technique. If you have any questions, comments, or just want to talk moto, contact Sean via email, Twitter, Facebook, or his website -

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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  1. Gravatar
    thinkmx September 16, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Awesome article. You nailed quite a few good tips and tricks that will save your energy on the track. Thanks!.

  2. Gravatar
    EddieCasillas September 16, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    I funny that you mention Dungey and standing up when he is known for sitting down. Obviously it works for him and I do agree with you on standing up. Again I just find it funny that you would use Dungey as an example.

  3. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer September 17, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Eddie, where did he use Dungey as an example of standing up? He referred to the Euros standing up.

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