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Top Athletes are Freaks continued...

James Lackey


...What sports?

Well, pretty much everything there is every sport known: soccer, football, baseball, basketball, wrestling, ice skating, gymnastics, track and field, marathon runners you name it, they tested them. And they tested the top guys in their field. They gathered all this data and information on these guys, and then they could compare who had the strongest muscles and best endurance and that kind of stuff.

What time of year was this?

Because I always heard you were fat and out of racing-shape when this went down. I think it was in November, and it was the off-season for me, since I was finished with the GPs in August and I had been lying around since then, getting fat and stuff, so I wasn't really in the best shape. The other guys were still in riding shape, due to the winter series and stuff like that. One thing I remember is that they didn't tell us what we were going to do, what kind of tests we were going to take, so nobody could get a leg up on any of the tests. It really wasn't a competition between us racers, but more of a gauge of where the top racers were in relation to the top privateer guy. So there wasn't any practicing for anything or any certain type of test. They had about 15 different things they tested us on. They weighed us in water to test for body fat, and I think Howerton had seven percent or less in body fat and I had around 22 percent since I d been enjoying my off-season. Stuff like that. I was the oldest guy and the fattest guy, for sure. They did that, and they did a leg-press deal to see who had the strongest legs and just more stuff like that

When they started testing you guys on this stuff and were checking you out, what was going through their minds, these experts on fitness?

Well, they re looking at us, and none of us are real big and we re not football players or cut like basketball players or gymnasts, and they re thinking that this was a joke of some sort. Motocross guys aren't really defined and ripped and stuff like that. Back then the muscles were endurance muscles, and they re really strong, but you can t really see that. When you re doing 45-minute motos, you re not big and bulky the body just doesn't show how good physically you are. Those experts kind of shined us on and really blew us off, pretty much. So they re going through all these tests with Wardy and Laporte and stuff, and with each test, they are starting to take notice, because we re all putting in some good numbers, even the privateer guy. They did stuff like that, and then for the final test to measure endurance, they put us on the treadmill. This is funny, because with me, they told me to give them the high sign when I was ready to collapse. When I wanted to give up, I should raise my hand and signal. They needed about 30 seconds to run down the test and to gather the last bit of data and stuff. So at the 25-minute mark I m getting my second wind and the treadmill is at its steepest and hardest setting, and all of a sudden I see these guys looking and pointing at stuff, and the main guy reaches over and basically turns off the treadmill! I say, What the hell are you doing, man? I m just getting my second wind here, damn it! And the guys say, Your heart rate s 210! You re gonna die, man! You re gonna die! [laughs].

For people like me that don t know what that means what does that mean?

Well, for my age, it was a little too high. Howerton was probably in the 190s or so. I mean, I was 26, and these guys don t know what motocross racers heart rates are in general, you know? They just think we re a bunch a yahoos at this point, and when they stopped me, they pretty much had me gauged at or near the top for all the athletes that had come through there before us. I definitely beat all the other motocrossers, and by the time we were all done, I think won the bench-press, too. I benched 305 lbs. and I only weighed 160 lbs. I think Wardy had the best leg-press numbers, but we all did pretty well. When we all were leaving, they were all shaking our hands and I asked a few of the men in white coats where we stood among the other athletes. And they said, Well, we didn't really know how good the motocross guys were, and we didn't give it much thought before today, but you guys are in great shape. So I asked them how we compared to the other athletes. Well, one guy says, You know, the strongest guys that we have ever tested are the gymnasts, and you guys appear to be just as strong as them. And the most physically conditioned guys are the marathon runners, and you guys appear to be as fit as them for cardiovascular fitness . One guys said, Man, let s face it: you re the baddest guys around. So overall, they ranked all of us at or near the top of any sports athlete in the world. We had the endurance of a marathon runner and the strength of a gymnast! Soccer players are still at the top, but we were right there.

[Laughs] No problem, Bobby. Let me know and I'll get my old mechanic and my wife and we'll sit down and get it recorded. I can t remember half the stuff, so we need those other people there, too [laughs]! Thanks, Bobby.

Note: RacerX

James Lackey is a Florida trader.