Nathan Ramsey has retired from professional racing, but that does not mean he has stepped away from the sport. The former factory rider and Supercross champ is now helping young racers achieve the level of success he enjoyed during his career. Nate Dawg has enlisted the help of an old friend to offer complete training for those interested in taking their racing to the next level. Nathan spoke with us about his latest endeavor and his thoughts on what it takes to make the big step.
Nathan, what have you been up to since announcing your retirement?
Being a racer myself, I’ve been waiting to see where I end up within the industry. Some friends of mine, James Coy and Brian Fleck from Dunlop, introduced me to Blake Baggett and his family. He was my first guy and I have been doing this now for a couple of months. There is starting to be some more interest. I have been going to the races with Nick Wey and helping him more on the coaching side of things. It’s becoming something that I really enjoy doing; it’s the next best thing to racing because you get a little part of yourself out on the track. I raced professionally for 16 years, so I have learned a few things.
The guy who I viewed as a mentor, or even a life coach in many ways, is Jeff Spencer who I worked with for about nine years. He is a part of this program as well and we put our heads together to come up with the best ideas for our riders. The goal is to create an individual program to let each guy become self-motivated and independent champions so they can achieve what they want to in racing and in life. What Jeff was able to teach me applied to a lot of my life. Lessons from riding and racing, with the mental and physical sides, teach you how to deal with life. So I just wanted to pass on a little wisdom that I’ve learned over the years to some of these kids, with their eyes wide-open, so they can live out their dreams.
So you are working with long-time trainer, Dr. Jeff Spencer. Is he helping with the physical training aspect and you are working with racers on their riding technique?
Jeff is more behind the scenes, but he knows the body and has the degrees and experience to back up any question that might come up. Whether it has something to do with conditioning the body, supplements, diet, recovery, or injury and injury prevention. I know a lot of that stuff too from my own trials and years in racing, but like I said, he has the degrees to back up his knowledge. So between the two of us the package is really complete because you get the point-of-view from a racer and a professional trainer/doctor. My experience helps with what I feel I did right and wrong, and we can help riders make their careers last as long as possible. There are a lot of kids who come in, blow up right away, and then are gone within a year or two. This is a tough sport and you want to make yourself last as long as you can. With the combined experience between Jeff and myself, I believe we have a program that gives you the longevity needed for a sustained career that you can be proud of.
A lot of kids will come into the pro ranks, and once they have established that they are another front-runner, burnout is often not far behind. Usually they have been racing for so long already they just lose their motivation. Sometimes that can also be due in part to the way racing was approached by the family, where it can either be forced or they let the kid decide for himself/herself.
We definitely address that, and I think that is still one of the biggest problems. There are the kids who are just dynamite amateurs who are pushed so hard the whole way. Honestly, even if that is not the case, a lot of people change and it can just get to a point where they say, “I don’t have it in me anymore.” It has to be something that the individual wants, not how bad the parents want it. If that’s not there, then they can still have a lot of fun riding motorcycles and maybe race locally. But if that passion is not there it is going to show in some way.
What we try to do is build a program that is sustainable and does not burn people out. It still dots the “i’s” and crosses the “t’s” but does not put you into the hurt locker. It is a new style of thought and people are becoming wise to the idea. The bottom line still is: how long can you last and how long can you stay motivated?
Are you working with any other riders aside from Blake Baggett and Nick Wey?
Blake is my first guy and I wanted to get my feet wet first and get to know his family, who are great people. As a rider he is very impressive; I have high hopes for him and he seems to be the total package. There has been some interest with some other guys and I am exploring some of those possibilities right now, although nothing has been nailed down for sure. I am actually starting to work with one of the female riders now though, Sarah Price. I do a little bit of coaching with her, although she does have another guy who helps her already. I think I am fairly versatile in that respect, where I can do some of the training, but I would prefer to offer the complete package because that’s when a rider can get the most out of it. But if it’s just coaching, I am open to that as well.
Right now you are working mainly within the group of riders who are making the transition from amateur to professional. Are you willing to work with riders with less experience?
Honestly I am very open, although I seem to have landed in that group where guys are ready to make the jump to pro. That is a very important time to get sound thought process behind you and get a good group of people surrounding you. But I was not one of those guys myself, so I certainly would not want to turn my back on the mediocre guys who have potential, or don’t even know their potential yet because they have not been given as many opportunities. So I definitely I am not shutting the door on them. The only thing that I am trying to do is to keep a small, tight group. I do not want to get spread out too thin where I am not really helping the riders and taking care of them the way they should be. For me to teach them what they need to learn, I believe I need to maintain a small, core group.
What I will probably end up doing is have a certain day of the week when I’ll work with individuals or a couple riders at a time. At this point I am not planning on doing big schools. Maybe that will happen in the future occasionally. But for now I would like to have perhaps three or four main guys and then have set days to work with new riders and do small training sessions.
Is there a way for people to get in touch with you if they are interested in your program?
I can be reached at my e-mail address, which is email@example.com
Good luck with your new venture Nathan. I am sure there are plenty of young riders out there who can use that extra bit of help and training.
Just being around that level of amateur these last couple of months is pretty impressive; seeing the level that they have all reached.
They’ve taken the scrub to a whole new level!
Everyone does it! They never hit jumps and just go straight anymore (laughs)! Its part of what they do and it’s pretty cool.