Writing for a Racing Magazine

writing for publicationsThere was one point in my life where I wanted to write for a motocross-racing magazine. I always had big dreams of becoming a race reporter, traveling the country following the top racers and sponsors, and going inside the world of professional motocross. And over the years I have been given a few opportunities to do just that, but I never fully took advantage of them. I took an internship with a racing magazine when I was 20 and had a blast. I had a few short stints as a writer at several other magazines, but I never made a career out of it. I suppose I wasn’t wiling to put forth the full effort to being successful. I mean, I have always been a decent writer. I never mix up the difference between onto vs. on to or other common grammar mistakes. I know sentence structures and word placement and most importantly, I know racing.

But aside from being proficient at basic grammar help and a good working knowledge of racing, the amount of time to make yourself stand out in the world of magazine journalism is tremendous. A few of my friends who stuck with it have spent years and years trying to develop a name for themselves in the industry—some have had moderate success and others haven’t. This kind of unpredictability is probably another reason why I didn’t pursue writing. I really prefer a more stable income where I can make plans and set aside savings.

All this talk makes it sounds as if I don’t write at all though! I still consider myself a motocross writer, just not for a racing magazine. After all, I run a popular blog all about motocross which many of my friends read each and every day. That in and of itself is a success. Not many people can claim that they do that. I’ve also written a number of local profiles of my riding group that travels around to different destinations throughout the country to compete. While we aren’t professionals, we do compete in a number of regional races where we often rank. If we bring home a trophy, our local paper is more than happy to run a spot about our trip and it’s a great time!

But for anyone who does want to pursue a career in motocross writing, the path to successful career really is no different than any other one. It involves a lot of hard work, long hours, and practice. You’ll need to be both knowledgeable about writing (obviously), you can’t be mixing up words like the difference between Cite VS Site, and you’ll also need to know a lot about the sport itself. You’ll need to make yourself current and keep track of the rankings. Be knowledgeable of all of the latest equipment on the market—and always have a current writing sample ready to send off to anyone who asks for one. Oftentimes you can make or break a job offer by having a quick, prompt writing sample that showcases your best work ready to go. And, as you write more, be sure to update the writing sample you send around.

Freestyle Motocross

free-style-motoI love riding my dirt bike. I take dirt biking trips just about every month, sometimes more. I go racing, I work on my bikes constantly, but the one thing that I never was able to get into is freestyle motocross. I tell you what those guys are real daredevils. Those people are doing back flips, tail whips, no hand landers all like it’s nothing.

Last week I went to a freestyle motocross competition and it was incredible. Some of the tricks that these people are doing are just insane. I mean they’re flying off of 50-60 foot jumps doing back flips. It really is incredible. But besides getting to see all of these sweet tricks this time around, it was really reminiscent of my first time seeing freestyle motocross. I had only been to a show one other time with my dad when I was younger, and I remember back then I thought it was just as cool—if not cooler.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a school night, so my mom didn’t want us to go but my dad and I went out anyway because we knew that it was going to be awesome. When we got there we could hear the sounds of the biking warming up down on the stadium floor and sight of blue smoke rising from all of their tail pipes.

They performed for what seemed to be almost two hours and I could not get enough. I had just gotten my first digital camera and I was taking all kind of pictures and taking videos of them going over the jumps. After they were done all of the riders went outside and signed autographs and talked with all of the attendees and I was so stoked to meet them. I had them sign my little racing jersey at the time—which I still have to this day—and I was excited as can be. When we got home mom was sure mad at us, but of course she asked to see all the pictures we took!

For the longest time after my mom and dad both wouldn’t let me do any types of tricks on my dirt bike and if they caught me they would ground me from my bike. I snuck some in every now and then but I mostly followed the rules because I couldn’t stand being without my bike for any amount of time at all.

Eventually the rule was lifted and I could do whatever I wanted, but by that time it wasn’t that attractive to me. I was more focused on racing and doing it competitively that I kind of lost all interest. Now I look at it and I can’t even imagine practicing some of those tricks.

Maybe I am just one of the racers who is too sissy to do any type of tricks. Well, maybe so, but I like going fast instead of flying through the air. That’s what I prefer to do on my bike.

Weekend at the Races

race-trackI’m a big fan of going to the racetrack. It’s good practice for other types of riding and it’s overall a fun experience. This last weekend we took a trip up to our local racetrack and spend the weekend with some old friends who we haven’t seen in a long time.

First think I do in order to head out for a weekend of racing is get the trailer ready. We have a pretty big bike trailer that can hold up to five bikes, all of our gear, tools, etc. It’s a beast to drive with, but it is really handy. So the first thing I do is do a complete once over of the trailer. I check all of the tire pressure, I check to see if the lug nuts are tight, and I check all of the taillights and turn signals. Then I do an interior once over. I make sure all of the tools are in the proper place and nothing is missing. We work on our bikes, so much that our tools get spread out all over the place, so this really is the most important step.

After I am finished checking all of our gear, I focus on the food. Just like our trips to the sand dunes every year, we bring lots of food! We always bring a grill and have a big old-fashioned grill out for the races. The racetrack is perfectly situated for it too. Where we park and grill out you have a great view of the entire track and can watch everything. It’s great because even the people who aren’t racing can see everything that is happening.

the-trailerEverything is done. All the gear is packed up. It’s time to drive to the track. The track we usually go to is about two and a half hours away. It’s a little bit of a drive, but nothing too major. It’s takes awhile to get set up once you’re there so we try to get there a little bit early. Also, we want to secure our primo parking spot to view the track.

Next what we do is tune up all of the bikes. We take them all for a preliminary ride along the track to make sure everything is running smoothly and to get them up to operating temperature, and if everything looks good it’s time to race!

For those of your who have never raced motocross, it’s an experience like you’ve never known. First of all, after you finish one or two races, you are completely beat. Racing motocross is one of the hardest workouts you will ever experience. You know the feeling you get after a long day of tubing out on a boat? How your entire body is sore? Well, multiply this by about 100 and that is how you feel after a race. It is very much a physically demanding activity.

But the thrill that you get from flying around the corners, or riding across the moguls cannot be beat. And of course after awhile you grow accustomed to it and it doesn’t wear you out quite as much anymore.

This week I finished 2nd and my buddy finished 3rd. I was so close to getting 1st place, but I messed up on the final lap when I hit the final jump. I didn’t quite clear it and it cost me a second and my first place spot.

If you ever want to go racing, let us know and we’d be happy to let you come with. We usually go at least once a month.

Yearly Trip to Sand Dunes

riding-on-the-dunesAs many of you know we generally try to go to different places each year to get new experiences riding that we haven’t had before and see new and exciting terrain. There is one location that we make sure to go to every single year, however. And I mean every year. It’s by far my favorite trip of the year because it is such a unique terrain to ride on. What am I talking about?

None other than the California sand dunes.

Imagine as far as you can possibly see of sand. Not dirt, but sand. Just pure sand as if you were in the Sahara desert. But instead of the terrain being flat like a desert is it is full of hill and dunes that towers hundreds of feet. This is exactly the experience that you get when you go riding at the dunes.

You’d be surprised at how many people have never been to sand dunes before. They are just astonished when they arrive and see the sheer volume of them. Dirt bikers are no exception to this and most of them have never been riding on the dunes before.

This makes them a little uneasy when they first take off too because the sand is a little different than most terrain you’ll ride on elsewhere. I usually put on a paddle tire on the back wheel that helps you go better in the sand. But I have never had anyone regret taking our annual trip out to the dunes.

Anyway, here’s what our usual trip looks like. We pack up everything we need for the weekend in our trailer and haul it down then. And when I say everything we need, I mean it. We pack tents, sleeping bags, food, clothes, grills, etc. Anything you would possible need, we make sure to bring it along. This helps to save on costs because the trip itself can get pretty expensive. To get access into the dune park you need to get an “Off Road Vehicle” sticker and flag to put on your bike, not to mention gas for the trip there and for your bike to ride on the dunes.

Once you get there, it’s three full days of riding. Nothing but flying around on the dunes. Going off jumps. Going through mud pits. Zooming past trucks and dune buggies that think they are fast. I hate to break it to all of you dune buggies, but nothing is faster out there on the dunes than a dirt bike. Pound for pound, dirt bike have the most torque and can cruise so much faster than anything else out there. So much so that you really need to be careful—especially because so many people don’t know what they’re doing out there.

After a full day of riding we go back to the camp site and have a fire, cook some food, and relax. Then we start it all over the next day. It is the best trip of the year.

The only problem with it. Sand get everywhere! You need to do a complete tear down of your bike after a trip to the dunes and clean everything because that sand will tear your bike up. But then again, I like working on my bike!