How many 16-year-olds do you know who compete in a sport at a professional level? Kyle Wood has been racing motorcycles since he was eight, and with eight years of competition under his belt, numerous scars and war stories, and a packed trophy room, his dream of being a pro racer is coming true.
Motorcycle racing is a brutal and demanding sport. And one form of racing that pushes endurance to its outermost limits is Arenacross. This high-speed racing takes place in an arena-type facility on a specially constructed dirt racetrack in smaller venues like ice hockey and/or basketball stadiums, rather than in major football arenas like its higher-profile cousin, Supercross.
What this means for the racers is less room to maneuver with 16 to 20 other riders on the track, tighter turns, constant and higher jumps than its outdoor counterpart, Motocross, and an extreme demand for mental focus, alertness and physical fitness, strength and endurance. The lap times are about 28 to 30 seconds, and the main events usually consist of 18 laps.
Imagine doing push-ups flat out for 28 to 30 seconds straight as one repetitive cycle. Now imagine doing this 28- to 30-second repetition 18 times in a helmet, boots, gloves and full riding gear! Now imagine doing this at high altitude! That’s the equivalent of a 10-minute flat out, nonstop, adrenaline-pumping, full-body workout.
In a recent pro AMA (American Motorcycle Association) Arenacross Series event, Kyle’s stamina and endurance were further tested as the event took place in mile-high Denver, Colorado. On a bone stock 2010 Suzuki RMZ 250 cc, Kyle finished a strong 5th place in his heat race to qualify for an outside front row start position. He went on to finish 11th as the youngest rider in the night’s main event. His mother said he could not breathe after the 18th lap in the main event because of the altitude, but quipped, “I think he was probably holding his breath the whole time.”
Kyle’s racing was inspired by his father. “My dad used to race, and he got me into it. At first, he didn’t want me to race, as he himself had suffered some injuries, but when I was eight I convinced him to let me try it. I placed 4th out of 40 in that first race, and have been racing ever since.”
Now, at 16 years of age, he is doing his first year as part of the pro-level Arenacross Circuit, and is on his way to becoming a pro Motocross racer as early as next year.
When asked what sort of physical toll this sport takes on the body, Kyle said, “Physically, endurance is the biggest part. There are so many jumps and the track is so tight. Technically, you don’t get any breaks, there’s always a turn or a jump, there are no straightaways on the course, no rest, no time to relax. Your muscles are always working, always straining. You are constantly faced with the next jump or the next turn. It’s hard not to be sore after a ride.”
Recently, Kyle began taking Natural Calm® Plus Calcium, the magnesium supplement from Peter Gillham’s Natural Vitality, which is specifically tailored to athletes and their high-performance needs.
“It worked very well. I was very surprised. Throughout the years, I’ve always felt extremely sore after training or after a race. Since taking Natural Calm Plus Calcium, I’m not as sore as I used to be. I always make it a point to take it after every ride. My recovery time is definitely faster. I also noticed that it helped my endurance. I’m able to stay out on the track longer and not be as tired as I used to be.
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“Part of my routine is to do cardiovascular training in the mornings and a ride workout at night. I take Natural Calm Plus Calcium after both of these and have no problems whatsoever when I get to the track the next day.”
He also told us about the mental aspect of the sport.
“There are a lot of nerves when you are at the gate with 20 other riders waiting for the race to start. It’s a matter of focusing on what you are doing and just racing. Before my last race, I took Calm. The result was fantastic. It helped me relax and not be as tense. It helped me breathe easier and enjoy the race.
“I notice that I do better when I don’t take it seriously, and just go out there and have fun. The magnesium supplement works really well, and I’m very glad I’m taking it.”
Kyle’s accomplishments as an amateur racer include winning many regional and local races and placing in the top 5 in major national level events, such as the Lake Whitney National Spring Classic, in which hundreds of racers participate every year and race to qualify for the prestigious National Championship held at the legendary Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.
When asked how it feels to achieve his dream of racing at a pro level, Kyle told us: “Anyone who has been in this sport any length of time will tell you it is a roller-coaster ride of injuries and drama, and I have had my ups and downs like everyone else who has ever pursued this as a career, but to race with the pros is worth every minute of it. Lance Armstrong once said ‘Pain is temporary; if I quit it lasts forever.’ So I just keep on going.
Hope to see you all at the track!”
Visit Kyle’s official website at www.kylewoodmx.com.