Saturday, May 22, 2010
Reed talks about his ride on the emotional rollercoaster.
By: Kit Palmer
Photography By: Kit Palmer
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For Chad Reed, the first half of the 2010 season has be one to forget - at least most of it.Chad Reed
Sitting out nearly the entire Supercross series with a hand injury and then returning for the last few rounds with unspectacular results hasn't been easy for the two-time Supercross and defending outdoor National Motocross Champion - nor has the past couple of weeks, especially.
Recently, Reed and his wife Ellie experienced the birth of their first child, Tate, definitely giving something the Reeds could smile about after what had been a difficult last five months. And just when things were beginning to look up, Reed received terrible news that one of his best friends, fellow Australian Andrew McFarlane, had been killed in a racing accident in his home country. Having had little time to enjoy the arrival of his new son, Reed caught the next flight to Australia to be with McFarlane's wife, Natalie, and attend her husband's funeral. It was a quick trip - he was in Australia for 30 hours and on a plane for more than 35 hours. Reed returned to the States on Tuesday, tired and bleary-eyed, not to mention emotionally drained.
Unfortunately, Reed hasn't had time to rest and recover. After all, he has a National Championship coming up and a number-one plate to defend.
Yes, it's been a crazy time for Reed and, somehow, he has to put everything that has happened behind him and start thinking ahead and racing again. We recently caught up with Reed and chatted with him about the last couple of months and the difficult times he's had to endure.
First of all, how is the hand? Are you physically 100 percent ready to go?
Yes, I'm fine. I feel good and ready to start racing again.
You actually started racing again the last few rounds of the Supercross series, but your results weren't spectacular, nothing like the Chad Reed we know.
To be completely fair to myself and everyone else, I think the last few rounds of Supercross wasn't me, you know. I had my head elsewhere - if I had my choice, I would've stayed at home and prepared for the [outdoors] the way that I need to, but I had to race on the weekends. Ryan [Villopoto] getting hurt definitely put a little more pressure on me having to be there, so I just kind of went through the motions, tried to be safe and just concentrate on the outdoors. I feel completely fine. The injury isn't playing any role at all in any of my riding right now. I feel strong and - our base setting is awesome, this is some of the best I've ever felt on the outdoors.
What are your thoughts going into the first round of the outdoor series?
I'm excited to go racing again, to see where I'm at. I know it's a real long season, and I've had a real hectic last two weeks, so I'm excited to get through this weekend and pretty much take whatever points I can get and enjoy the week off and get ready for Texas. The reality is that's it's been a real hectic two weeks.
Explain a little bit what these last two weeks have been like for you.
It's been such an emotional high and low. To welcome your first child into the word - it's such an amazing feeling - to be excited about that. And then you pack up from the hospital, throw everything in the car, and you drive home about 35 mph. Then you get home, you're all excited, you have your wife and Tate, at home, and 30 minutes later, I get a phone call, and one of your best friends has passed away. It was just a crazy event of emotions.
And then you left for Australia?
I was there 30 hours - landed Monday morning and left Tuesday morning. It was a crazy trip and something I had to do. I loved Andrew and his family, and they played a huge role in our life - Elli unfortunately couldn't go. Tate didn't have a birth certificate, so we couldn't get him a passport fast enough, so I just went to lend my love and support to Natalie. I stayed at the house and tried to get some jobs done there, like move his bike into the house, just a lot of things that she personally wanted done. Michael Byrne and I went down there; it was a good thing to do.
The emotions. I got to let a lot out and got to say good-bye the way I wanted to, now it's come back and race for Andrew and try to get holeshots like he always did and try to make him proud.Reed practicing yesterday at Hangtown.
After all that you have been through the past couple of weeks, how can you stay focused on racing?
I think, any racers will tell you, that when anybody is close to someone and you lose 'em in an accident, at a point, it goes through your head: Why in the hell am I doing this? I don't need to work, I don't need to do this [race], financially, we're set for life, then a couple of days later, you really understand. Especially at the funeral and the service, I really took it all in, and I understood that racing was his life. I was sitting next to his wife, and she's holding his medal when he got second in the World Championship in 2005, I think, and his race jersey. It's just you would think that she wouldn't want anything to do with motorcycles - it took her husband away, and here she is holding on to all of that. Those are the memories that she has and the amazing fun times that they had came all from motorcycle racing. So you switch up your mood a little bit.
I feel like I achieved what I wanted to do and that was to say good-bye, and I felt like I let go some of my hatred against motorcycles a little bit, but it's what I do. It's my life, it's all that I've ever known, and I'm ready to give it all I've got and win this title.
They say defending your title is harder than winning it in the first place, is that true?
I love having the number-one on [my bike], and I'm excited to keep it and keep it red as well. It's a long season; it's hard. You have to be in it to win it, and I've got some fierce competition. It's going to be a tough season, but I think I can win this thing.
Last year at this time, you had pretty much just decided to race the outdoors, this year, you knew it all along. Do you feel better prepared this year than last year?
Last year I totally came in behind the eight ball. Probably the hardest thing last year was that I had a teammate [Mike Alessi] that was winning races and going for the championship, he was all happy, and I wasn't necessarily comfortable. We weren't close on settings or the way we rode the bikes, so, it wasn't like I could lean on him for settings or for anything like that. From my experience with Kawie and riding with Ryan Villopoto, we are really close to settings, so he had a great base from last year. Basically the first bike I rode for the outdoor this year was unbelievable - it's kind of hard pick it apart, because it was really solid and strong, so that helps a lot. Just a tweak here and there a little bit. I think I'm coming in with a full head of steam; I'm rested from my time off from Supercross and just really motivated.
Many people still question your desire or ability to race outdoors, saying that all you care about is Supercross. Do you enjoy the outdoors?
I really do like outdoors and I enjoy it. People still question whether I can do it at a winning level, and I'm excited to prove some people wrong.