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Motocross: Difficult... Or Not?

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James White

on 4 December 2014

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Transcript of Motocross: Difficult... Or Not?

Motocross: Difficult... Or Not?
What say you?
What exactly is motocross?
So... We're at the end of our journey
If non enthusiasts took time to understand the sport before voicing opinions and misconceptions...
There's a problem though
Psychoemotional aspects of motocross racing
Are the physical demands all that serious?
University of Finland neuromuscular researcher with multiple motocross studies, Tomi Konttinen, would say YES.
What about all the injuries?
Now imagine that the path up the mountain...
is a journey of acquiring knowledge
And at the top..
You just might see things differently
The legitimacy of the sport is undermined by those who don't understand what the racers have to go through
The sport and its participants are often not respected as serious professional athletes
On the contrary, however, riders have to deal with...
-Extreme physical demands
-Psychoemotional stress
-Inevitable injury and its effects
-Mechanical Failures
And even more...
Heart rate is one method to measure the physiological load an activity places on the body
Motocross racers sustain a heart rate of 180-190 beats per minute (bpm) (Konttinen)
To put that into perspective...
Motocross: 180-190 bpm
Soccer: 165-175 bpm
Basketball: 165 bpm
A medical facility in the late 80s compared motocross to traditional sports...
It was found that motocross riders were as strong as gymnasts with the cardiovascular endurance of marathon runners.
Surprised yet?

The doctors sure were.
What makes it so physically demanding though?
In short, a 240 pound object, with rotating masses, at high speeds, is being manhandled around over uneven and nasty terrain
These guys are insane...right?
Per 1000 hours of riding time, there are roughly 49.2 injuries
81.25% of these are bone fractures
Motocross injury rate is even higher than the most dangerous traditional sport, American Football
Why all the injuries?
-Extremely high speeds
-Over 100' jumps
-Other riders
-Rough terrain
-A 240 lb bike to be landed on by

Racers have high-trait anxiety meaning that they're able to make extremely quick, instinctive like decisions
But.. Why?
The sport simply demands it, along with the extremely high risk factor, keeping the riders on their toes
Catecholamine, an indicator of psychoemotional stress, is heavily produced by motocross racers

Concurrently, 10x more adrenaline was found while racing motocross rather than just stationary biking
This is a result of the high stress level associated with racing due to competition, physical demand, and the high incidence of injury
Well... What else is there?
Forearm Pump...
But... What is it?
A motocross racer's kryptonite
It's an overexertion of the forearm muscles resulting in too much inflow of blood and not enough outflow
Okay... that doesn't sound too bad does it?
It causes the muscles to stop functioning correctly, becoming extremely weak and slow to move
It is debilitating to ride with as the hands are the bridge between the bike and the rider
This causes the muscle to expand tightly against the fascia tissue wrapping the muscle
A racer that has succumbed to arm pump has very little control over the bike, thus increasing the likelihood of crashing
Some even go through fasciotomy surgery to cut off the fascia surrounding the muscle
Well other sports have to deal with cramps too right???
Yes, they do... But can their cramps put their life on the line like forearm pump can for motocrossers?
Mechanical failures, an unexpected surprise
Throttle stuck completely wide open

Let's see that again
Riders wear a plethora of safety gear
What happens when a rider runs out of gas mid jump?
Chest Protector
Knee Braces
Kidney Belt
Motocross boots
All this gear serves as a heat sink, not allowing the sweat to be wicked away which would cool the body
Furthermore, between the rider's legs is the engine which puts out over 200 degree temperatures
These athletes, quite simply, have to deal with a lot of hardships...
All a rider does is just twist the throttle right?
The bike just does all the work...right?
Often, non enthusiasts mistake motocross for being easy
Don't you think?
Then why the disconnect between non enthusiasts and the difficulty of the sport?
A simple lack of understanding
Lack of easily attainable public scholarly research
Not widely reported on by sports channels
Not as popular as traditional mainstream sports
The legitimacy of the sport would then be strengthened
More people would understand the difficulty, thus the racers would become more respected by non enthusiasts
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