CHAD REED INTERVIEW - EASTERN IDAHO OFF-ROAD ADVENTURE
BY: SIMON CUDBY
“Hey, Cudby, you live in Idaho, right?” I was surprised to get a mid-week text message out of the blue from racing legend Chad Reed. “Do you want to ride off-road with us this weekend in eastern Idaho?” Of course, the answer was a resounding, “Yes!”
I loaded up the Upshift van and headed out. For six hours, I drove east to meet up with the crew from Mountain Motorsports, one of Chad’s sponsors, for a few days of challenging Idaho single track. I managed to snap a few photos along the way and sit down with the multi-time champion to talk about retiring from racing and trail riding into the future.
Upshift: Hey, Chad, we usually see you on the Supercross track. What are you doing out here in Idaho?
Chad Reed: Well, we’re out here in Swan Valley, Idaho. It’s my first time out here, and I’m with the founders of Mountain Motorsports. They’ve actually been coming out here with their families for 30-plus years, which is pretty insane when you think of the family fun and activities that they’ve gotten to do over the years.
When I got involved with them last year doing the car racing stuff, they went M.I.A. for a week, and I was obviously intrigued to know where they went. They told me about riding motorcycles, so I said, “Well, next year, sign me up!” So here we are, they held true to their word, and man, just a blast, such a beautiful part of the country.
When you’ve been racing pro motocross for the past 18 years, you fly in, you fly out, you’re training, training, training, it’s just endless. Even when you have downtime, the last thing you want to do is get on a plane and travel. So recently retiring it’s so amazing, it’s like Australia in a lot of ways, as a kid growing up, the things you get to see. I didn’t get to fly, we didn’t have money to fly, and as an amateur, you drive to all the events. I feel like you see the world, see the country. Although I flew here, just riding around here getting to witness and doing 60 miles plus a day of single track in the mountains is just unbelievable. Definitely unbelievably passionate about riding motorcycles, and coming out here getting to share something that these guys have been doing for 30-plus years is really fun, I’m enjoying myself!
Upshift: You talked about your retirement. Has it been difficult for you to mentally stop thinking about racing all the time?
C.R.: For the past five or so years, it’s been very normal for me to not think about racing in the summertime, not racing the motocross nationals for a while now. Now we are in August, and I get to go and do a few activities and hang out with my kids. Obviously, with Covid-19, the world’s changing a lot, so that feels a little bit weird and different. I think October to December and rolling into January, I’ll have a better understanding. I’ll be thinking, “Am I missing this? Do I want to start training?” At some point, your body just knows. At this point, it’s summertime, time to chill, I don’t have to race. When that October, November grind that I’ve been used to for over 22 years doesn’t happen this year, that’s when I’ll go “Wow, I either hate it or love it,” so I’ll know at that point.
Upshift: Tell us about your bike that you have been riding on the trails this week, and what it’s like being in a non-competitive environment.
C.R.: For me, I actually grew up riding trails in Australia, you know we call it “The Bush.” It was very close to where we lived. From a young age, you know 10, 11, 12 years old, my cousin and I would go and for the most part run our bikes out of fuel, and just have enough gas to make it home. Then we’d refuel and go again. So I’m quite familiar with riding a single track, figuring it out, geographically getting lost, then finding my way back home.
I’m just loving it, you know, switching to a KTM for the last seven Supercross rounds. You know their line of motorcycles is just impressive. The fact that you can go race Supercross, then X, Y, Z, or whatever else you want to do. Do you want to ride fire roads? They have a selection for that. For me, I’m riding a KTM 450 XC-F, and it’s just awesome, it’s really fun to ride.
It’s funny, a lot of people always seem like they want to go fast. For me, there’s a time and a place to go fast and push the limits. Every time I get myself in this environment, I feel like I’m just on a Sunday ride. I’m that guy that’s willing to take in the views and just cruise along. I don’t push the pace on the trails, and I don’t take risks. I just try and have fun!