Ask Red Bull X-Fighters superstar Robbie Maddison how he’s been lately and the Australian FMX kingpin raises his eyebrows, barks a short laugh and sighs: "Where to start, mate, where to start?"
It has, to paraphrase the Grateful Dead, been a long, strange trip for Robbie since the end of last season, and the road to the 2011 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour has been eventful, to say the least. As last year’s tour headed toward its conclusion, Maddison was finding form. He’d introduced a spectacular new trick – the Volt Body Varial – in Spain and was looking good for a points-rich finish to the year in London and Rome.
It wasn’t to be. A host of injuries blighted Robbie's progress and the Australian was forced into a long hibernation. The time off was, confesses Maddo, "a bonus" as a far more important event occurred – the birth of his son, Kruz. Says the FMX star: "It has given me a whole new motivation."
Has becoming a dad changed you?
Life’s been so different. I haven’t been on the bike, I’ve just been getting the family right and getting my body right. Riding dirt bikes for me is usually therapy, so to not be able to ride for so long and then have so many things happen in my life was almost enough to shift my consciousness.
"I feel really great, man! I have a whole new motivation, a new family and my body’s finally fixed!"
The good thing about having all that time off and seeing my son being born is that I’ve been able to get back on the bike with a whole new motivation – and that motivation is just to be more thorough. I’m dedicated to riding the best I can because that supports my family and that’s the most important thing now. I need to do it wisely because I don’t want to get hurt.
How do you do that?
I’ve been training a lot, working on my stretching. Trying to be technically smooth on the bike and not riding outside my comfort zone will help. I've progressed a lot; I feel a lot smoother on the bike now. I feel really great, man! I have a whole new motivation, a new family and my body’s finally fixed!
There’s been tons going on. But what it’s taught me is that if I want to push through, I need to be as fit as I can be. So when I’m not making bottles and changing diapers, I’ve been in the gym sweating it out and getting fit.
Do you have a personal trainer or a program to help with that?
My trainer was one of my heroes when I was a kid – Ryan Hughes. He was a Supercross champion and Motocross champion and he has a great understanding of the body, how it works – and especially how it works around motorcycles. He’s able to give me that dirt bike experience in the gym. I do all the workouts in a way that conditions the body to ride a dirt bike.
The weird thing is, I had blood tests recently and found out I’m allergic to eggs, milk, cheese... They rob me of proteins – I use it all up fighting the allergy. I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so run down. I thought it was down to the lifestyle and jumping time zones every couple of weeks, so I was sort of unaware of the allergy. Since I’ve cut down on all that stuff I feel pretty amazing. I definitely feel better on the bike.
Good enough to win?
You know, I’m not too worried about the competition. Over the last couple of years, I’ve really focused on beating certain guys and all that. But honestly, now I’m not concerned with beating anyone. I just want to ride my best. That’s all I’m here for. I’m not too fazed about whether I score well in this category, or whether I beat this guy or that that guy. I just want to go out and ride the Yamaha the best I can.
If I ride my best and do the tricks the best I can, then I’m going to be happy. Only if I go out and don’t pull off the tricks as well as I can will I be unhappy. My main goal this year is to have fun. I always ride the best when I’m having fun and that’s what I need to bring back. I think it will shine through my riding in Brasilia and during the rest of the year. There’ll be a lot of energy.
Follow Red Bull X-Fighters on Twitter for more news and updates.