Getting Intimate with Adams: A Nate Adams Interview

By Ryan Leyba, Photos by Milan and Maeda

Unless you have been living on Uranus for the past couple years or you’re just some old hillclimber that hates freestyle, the name Nate Adams should ring a bell. At the tender age of 19, Adams is fast becoming one of the world’s best freestyle riders and quietly stomping his competitors’ heads in week in and week out with his smooth style and innovative tricks. Along his road to success, Nate has been named the IFMA Rookie of the Year, awarded the 2002 WFA big air and freestyle championship belts, and has just recently collected two silver medals in Los Angeles at the 2003 Summer X Games. With all of those accomplishments, you would think that Nate is content with his life. Wrong! Just recently, Adams made history and reached his ultimate career goal: GOLD. Just before press time, Nate not only won the Gravity Games gold medal, but in the process defeated the undisputed king of freestyle motocross, Travis Pastrana.

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Unfortunately, in the world of “extreme” sports, your riding ability can only take you so far. Because of this sad fact, with his modest character and seemingly dull and quiet personality Adams tends to get overlooked in a sport that is oozing with over-the-top, WWF-style personalities.

We at Transworld, however, were curious. We wanted to dig a little deeper than his bland podium speeches and sponsor shout-outs to find out what makes this all-business rider from Glendale, Arizona, tick.

TWMX: What’s crackin’ Nate Dogg?

Nate: Not too much right now, just trying to rest. I just got back from riding at the local track here in Arizona and I’m getting ready to head up to the O’gio headquarters in Salt Lake City to film for the new Transworld video, “Crush.”

Leyba: What are you going to do up at O’gio?

Nate: They are building five 65- to 70-foot dirt doubles in a row and I’m going to trick through the whole section, backflipping as many as possible while I’m at it.

Leyba: Damn, homeboy; you’re loco!

Nate: Yup!

Leyba: So Nate, what got you interested in freestyle motocross, rather than in competitive MX racing?

Nate: Well, of course I got into riding freestyle by riding motocross. That’s what I grew up doing, but one day I just wanted to learn a no-footed-can and a heelclicker and so I did, and it all just kind of went from there. I did a couple of local freestyle events and then I met the Distler brothers. They took me to a Clear Channel event and they invited me to do the remainder of the series, and the rest is history.

Leyba: Was that back in the day when you were on a Suzuki and wearing Warpt gear?

Nate: No, actually I was wearing LBZ! (laughs)

Leyba: So did you go to those rippin-ass LBZ foam parties at the clubs with all those whacked out wannabes and jumper humpers?

Nate: Um…no!

Leyba: I can’t help but notice how incredibly white you are. How can you be so damn white if you live in the triple digit heat of Arizona?

Nate: I just have white skin and I can’t tan. I went surfing the other day down in Huntington Beach and forgot to put on sunscreen. I got completely lobstered!!!

Leyba: You’re buddies with racer and pimp dogg extraordinaire Josh Hansen. I was talking to him the other day and he was telling me that one of your goals is to qualify for an AMA Supercross. Is that true?

Nate: Yeah, that is true. My goal when I was younger was to race professionally and then I kind of just stumbled into freestyle. I fell in love with FMX, but it was not my original plan. Now that freestyle has provided me with my house and land, I want to build a Supercross track and go from there. Lil’ Hany is going to coach me and make me fast!

Leyba: I don’t know about you, but I think Josh Hansen looks like Bob Saget,ut some people say he looks like Screech from Saved by the Bell. What do you think?

Nate: (laughs) Definitely Bob Saget!

Leyba: You have a very strong Christian faith as do some other riders like Jimmie McGuire. How does being close to God help you in this sport and in life?

Nate: In this sport things can start to get hectic and people sweat the small stuff. Like when people tell me “Oh, you’re not getting paid enough, you need to have so and so pay you more.” But so what if some riders aren’t getting paid enough? You can’t take money or any material stuff with you when you die anyways! Stuff like that. I also don’t get caught up in all of the BS and drama that complicates your life. I just keep my life simple and pure so that I can do what I love most…go riding. Through my faith I have also met some of my best friends like Jimmie McGuire, Jiri Dostal and a bunch of others.

Leyba: I know that you’re a funny-ass cracka’ and have a great personality, but to someone who doesn’t know you personally, you come off like a shy and quiet guy. Do you think this is why you sometimes get overshadowed by riders like Pastrana and Deegan and overlooked by judges?

Nate: I’m just a mellow guy and not all high strung. One thing that people have told me is that when I’m riding I don’t get the crowd behind me as much as other riders do. Some of it may be that I haven’t been around as long and some people don’t know me. Pastrana is always on the gas and Metz is always charging, and people are watching him to see what he does next. I guess that I just kind of ride around really smooth and steady and it might be a downfall for the judges and fans alike.

Leyba: I think that FMX judging should be based more on style and bike control, rather than just plain old tricks. Lots of guys have smooth style and good tricks, but if I were a judge I would dock Kenny Bartram for running such ugly-ass graphics, Renner for dancing like a gay robot, Tommy Clowers for running a short back fender and a long dong front fender, and Chris Denison for wearing pooka shells. Who would you dock points for whack style? I wanna’ hear some trash talk!

Nate: I would dock Jimmie McGuire because he uses four fingers on the clutch and he actually took his front brake lever off so that he doesn’t hit it when he does Cliffhangers. So he’s an all-back-brake, four fingered clutch man that just skids into corners, all gooned out! (laughs)

Leyba: Where do you see the sport of FMX headed? What will the future hold?

Nate: Well, with everyone stepping it up and 360s being done, I see foam pits being a necessity. I’m talking to Thor now to see if they can help me to get a foam pit built at my house. What I would like to see more than anything is the main motorcycle manufacturers getting more involved with the sport. I’ve been to Supercross and the Nationals and I see how much support they get, and I just think that our sport has reached such a professional level that we deserve some support also. This year at X Games I drove from Phoenix with my two bikes loaded up in the back of my truck and flew my friend down to be my mechanic for the weekend. If anything goes wrong, all I have is my spare bike and that’s it. I would just love to see a box van with a mechanic at big events to help us out when we need it.

Leyba: Like to help all of the retarded, stoned freestylers clean their filters and tighten their chains?

Nate: Exactly!

Leyba: Nate, you’re the first person to ever beat Travis Pastrana in a freestyle contest. What are your thoughts on that?

Nate: I’m really happy about it. It’s a big honor because he has dominated everything since the get-go. It’s more of an accomplishment than winning that first gold medal, you know? Standing on top of the podium was an awesome feeling. I just felt good with my riding all day and I may never ride that well ever again, but that was definitely my day! It was a really cool feeling to have everyone’s attention on me instead of someone else.

Leyba: How important is the Gravity Games compared to the X Games for your sponsors and you?

Nate: For me, they are both equal. Of course, X Games is more well known and for that it is considered more prestigious, but to me I value them the same. Winning the Gravity Games really meant a lot to me because it was an all-dirt course and I proved that I am not just a freestyle ramp robot like some have labeled me. For some reason I have earned a reputation as a four fingers on the clutch, elbows down kind of guy and I proved that to be wrong at Gravity Games. I may not be Chad Reed, but I can ride a dirt bike on all types of terrain. For my sponsors, they are just happy for me when I win, period. They are awesome.

Leyba: What’s in the future for Nate Adams? What do you want to accomplish in your career and in life?

Nate: In freestyle, I want to win a gold medal in the Summer X Games, Winter X Games, and also win the Vans Triple Crown series. It seems like for the past four years I’ve been doing freestyle contests week in and week out, and I really want to take it easy for a year and go to places like Caineville, Utah, or the dunes and just have fun with my friends. As for life, I just want to lead a simple life, have a positive attitude and just take things as they come.

Leyba: Besides Trevor Vines, you are probably one of the most corporate-sponsored athletes in FMX. How does it make you feel knowing that such huge companies support your efforts? Do you feel more pressure to perform well?

Nate: It’s awesome knowing that companies like Target and Butterfinger take notice in what I do and it really makes me feel good. As far as pressure goes, I don’t really feel any added pressure from my sponsors. Of course they are going to want me to perform well, but most of my pressure comes from myself and my own competitiveness. I always get the butterflies before I ride a big event.

Leyba: Do Butterfingers give you the butterflies?

Nate: No, just diarrhea! (laughs)

Leyba: Do they pay you in Butterfingers or money?

Nate: Um…U.S. currency, thank you very much.

Leyba: So Nate, say you’re in some town and in a bind because you need some fresh new underwear or some dope new Velcro shoes. Can you just go to Target and hook it up?

Nate: Nope! Unfortunately they don’t hook me up with a discount, but they have me gift cards that I used to decorate my new house.

Leyba: Speaking of your new house, you just bought a house outside of Phoenix, Arizona. How do you like owning your own crib?

Nate: It’s cool owning my own house. I have 5 acres and I think it was a good investment. I built my own freestyle course and now I’m riding more than I ever have. I think it contributed to me doing so well at X Games.

Leyba: You’re 19 and you have your own house with five acres. That’s more than a lot of people will ever own. How does it make you feel knowing that jumping a dirt bike has gotten you so much?

Nate: It’s crazy. I would have never dreamt that it would have come this far. Sometimes it will hit me when I’m irritated or not having a good day. I’ll be like, “What am I complaining about; I have it so good!” I’m very grateful for what I have.

Leyba: I know that most quiet people bottle stuff up inside until they go psycho and start killing everyone. Is there anything that you want the world to know about Nate Adams?

Nate: I just want the world to know that I really love riding dirt bikes and I really appreciate all of my fans and sponsors. I know riders always say the same thing, but I really mean it from the bottom o. I just felt good with my riding all day and I may never ride that well ever again, but that was definitely my day! It was a really cool feeling to have everyone’s attention on me instead of someone else.

Leyba: How important is the Gravity Games compared to the X Games for your sponsors and you?

Nate: For me, they are both equal. Of course, X Games is more well known and for that it is considered more prestigious, but to me I value them the same. Winning the Gravity Games really meant a lot to me because it was an all-dirt course and I proved that I am not just a freestyle ramp robot like some have labeled me. For some reason I have earned a reputation as a four fingers on the clutch, elbows down kind of guy and I proved that to be wrong at Gravity Games. I may not be Chad Reed, but I can ride a dirt bike on all types of terrain. For my sponsors, they are just happy for me when I win, period. They are awesome.

Leyba: What’s in the future for Nate Adams? What do you want to accomplish in your career and in life?

Nate: In freestyle, I want to win a gold medal in the Summer X Games, Winter X Games, and also win the Vans Triple Crown series. It seems like for the past four years I’ve been doing freestyle contests week in and week out, and I really want to take it easy for a year and go to places like Caineville, Utah, or the dunes and just have fun with my friends. As for life, I just want to lead a simple life, have a positive attitude and just take things as they come.

Leyba: Besides Trevor Vines, you are probably one of the most corporate-sponsored athletes in FMX. How does it make you feel knowing that such huge companies support your efforts? Do you feel more pressure to perform well?

Nate: It’s awesome knowing that companies like Target and Butterfinger take notice in what I do and it really makes me feel good. As far as pressure goes, I don’t really feel any added pressure from my sponsors. Of course they are going to want me to perform well, but most of my pressure comes from myself and my own competitiveness. I always get the butterflies before I ride a big event.

Leyba: Do Butterfingers give you the butterflies?

Nate: No, just diarrhea! (laughs)

Leyba: Do they pay you in Butterfingers or money?

Nate: Um…U.S. currency, thank you very much.

Leyba: So Nate, say you’re in some town and in a bind because you need some fresh new underwear or some dope new Velcro shoes. Can you just go to Target and hook it up?

Nate: Nope! Unfortunately they don’t hook me up with a discount, but they have me gift cards that I used to decorate my new house.

Leyba: Speaking of your new house, you just bought a house outside of Phoenix, Arizona. How do you like owning your own crib?

Nate: It’s cool owning my own house. I have 5 acres and I think it was a good investment. I built my own freestyle course and now I’m riding more than I ever have. I think it contributed to me doing so well at X Games.

Leyba: You’re 19 and you have your own house with five acres. That’s more than a lot of people will ever own. How does it make you feel knowing that jumping a dirt bike has gotten you so much?

Nate: It’s crazy. I would have never dreamt that it would have come this far. Sometimes it will hit me when I’m irritated or not having a good day. I’ll be like, “What am I complaining about; I have it so good!” I’m very grateful for what I have.

Leyba: I know that most quiet people bottle stuff up inside until they go psycho and start killing everyone. Is there anything that you want the world to know about Nate Adams?

Nate: I just want the world to know that I really love riding dirt bikes and I really appreciate all of my fans and sponsors. I know riders always say the same thing, but I really mean it from the bottom of my heart. Without them it wouldn’t be possible to live the awesome lifestyle that I do. I get to travel all over the world and ride my dirt bike and I feel very blessed. I don’t take anything for granted. So thanks everyone!

Leyba: One more thing before you go. I know that for a white boy you get down with some hype lyrical flows. I think that with some of my training you could be one of the best! Why don’t you give everyone a little sample of what could be the next Eminem?

Nate: “Traffic, traffic.

Looking for my ChapStick.

Look, there goes a Ford Maverick.”

Leyba: Word!

-30-

 

 

NATE’S TOP TEN 5

 

 

Riders: Jeremy McGrath

Twitch

Drake McElroy

Jimmie McGuire

Travis Pastrana

Riding spots: Cainville, Utah

The dunes

My Backyard

Ocatillo Wells

Pastrana’s house

Bands: Sublime

Atreyu

Descendents

The Doors

AC/DC

Hot chicks: My girlfriend

Jenny McCarthy

Gwen Stefani

Carmen Electra

Tara Reid

Movies: Slackers

Baseketball

Ace Ventura

Fight Club

Bubble Boy

 

Influences: Dad

Mom

Jesus

Jimmie McGuire

Ryan Johnson

Besides riding: Skateboarding

Surfing

Snowboarding

BMX

Drawing

Places on Earth: Hawaii

My house

My parents’ house

The beach

Snowy mountains

Can’t live without: Dirtbikes

Mom and Pops

Fun

Comedy

Mexican food

Can live without: Whiny people

Selfish people

Onions

Moochers

Posers

Jimmie McGuire/ Professional freestyle rider

“Nate is a rad kid that I met at my first-ever contest and we have pretty much grown up together in this sport. He has become one of my really good friends. He is also an inspiration to me with his riding, business, and whole outlook on freestyle motocross. He is probably the most professional rider in the industry right now. He wakes up early and practices every day and that’s why when he rides his tricks are better than everyone else’s. When it comes to surfing though, I give him about a 3. He has to wear about a gallon of sunscreen to keep him from burning, so that might be a bit of a disadvantage. Plus I usually snake all of his waves!”

Josh Hansen/ Professional motocross racer

“Before I even met Nate he was my favorite freestyle rider because he’s really smooth and he had his tricks down to perfection. I met him and realized how determined he is to be the best. When he first started he didn’t really have too much and he has worked hard to get what he has now. Even though Nate is a freestyle rider he motivates me to work and train hard. I know that he wants to race a couple of supercross races and I’m gonna help him with some JHMA lessons so that he doesn’t boner air out and try to throw nac nac’s on the first lap. I don’t want to see Nate pulling a flying W through the whoops!”

 

Jeff Doetzer/ Professional freestyle rider/ ballerina

“Nate is pretty fly for a white guy and one of my good buddies. We ride and practice our aerial acrobats together here in the meth lab-filled Arizona desert. He used to come over and hang out with me and my pig Bo Jangles. That’s where my pig and I would go over the backflip, play by play, until Nate finally grasped the concept. The more I think about it, the more I realize that Nate was actually coming over to hang out with my pig and not me. I would always catch Bo Jangles humping on Nate’s leg and Nate seemed to like it. That horny little rascal! Let me bust a rap for you and let everyone know my feelings about Nate!”

I think Nate is great,

He used to come over and practice late.

Everyone thinks he’s the man,

Especially when he does a no-footed can-can.

I don’t want to name any names,

But I think he should have won the X Games.

Now that Nate got so big,

He doesn’t have time to chase my pig.

 

 

 

 

 

y heart. Without them it wouldn’t be possible to live the awesome lifestyle that I do. I get to travel all over the world and ride my dirt bike and I feel very blessed. I don’t take anything for granted. So thanks everyone!

Leyba: One more thing before you go. I know that for a white boy you get down with some hype lyrical flows. I think that with some of my training you could be one of the best! Why don’t you give everyone a little sample of what could be the next Eminem?

Nate: “Traffic, traffic.

Looking for my ChapStick.

Look, there goes a Ford Maverick.”

Leyba: Word!

-30-

 

 

NATE’S TOP TEN 5

 

 

Riders: Jeremy McGrath

Twitch

Drake McElroy

Jimmie McGuire

Travis Pastrana

Riding spots: Cainville, Utah

The dunes

My Backyard

Ocatillo Wells

Pastrana’s house

Bands: Sublime

Atreyu

Descendents

The Doors

AC/DC

Hot chicks: My girlfriend

Jenny McCarthy

Gwen Stefani

Carmen Electra

Tara Reid

Movies: Slackers

Baseketball

Ace Ventura

Fight Club

Bubble Boy

 

Influences: Dad

Mom

Jesus

Jimmie McGuire

Ryan Johnson

Besides riding: Skateboarding

Surfing

Snowboarding

BMX

Drawing

Places on Earth: Hawaii

My house

My parents’ house

The beach

Snowy mountains

Can’t live without: Dirtbikes

Mom and Pops

Fun

Comedy

Mexican food

Can live without: Whiny people

Selfish people

Onions

Moochers

Posers

Jimmie McGuire/ Professional freestyle rider

“Nate is a rad kid that I met at my first-ever contest and we have pretty much grown up together in this sport. He has become one of my really good friends. He is also an inspiration to me with his riding, business, and whole outlook on freestyle motocross. He is probably the most professional rider in the industry right now. He wakes up early and practices every day and that’s why when he rides his tricks are better than everyone else’s. When it comes to surfing though, I give him about a 3. He has to wear about a gallon of sunscreen to keep him from burning, so that might be a bit of a disadvantage. Plus I usually snake all of his waves!”

Josh Hansen/ Professional motocross racer

“Before I even met Nate he was my favorite freestyle rider because he’s really smooth and he had his tricks down to perfection. I met him and realized how determined he is to be the best. When he first started he didn’t really have too much and he has worked hard to get what he has now. Even though Nate is a freestyle rider he motivates me to work and train hard. I know that he wants to race a couple of supercross races and I’m gonna help him with some JHMA lessons so that he doesn’t boner air out and try to throw nac nac’s on the first lap. I don’t want to see Nate pulling a flying W through the whoops!”

 

Jeff Doetzer/ Professional freestyle rider/ ballerina

“Nate is pretty fly for a white guy and one of my good buddies. We ride and practice our aerial acrobats together here in the meth lab-filled Arizona desert. He used to come over and hang out with me and my pig Bo Jangles. That’s where my pig and I would go over the backflip, play by play, until Nate finally grasped the concept. The more I think about it, the more I realize that Nate was actually coming over to hang out with my pig and not me. I would always catch Bo Jangles humping on Nate’s leg and Nate seemed to like it. That horny little rascal! Let me bust a rap for you and let everyone know my feelings about Nate!”

I think Nate is great,

He used to come over and practice late.

Everyone thinks he’s the man,

Especially when he does a no-footed can-can.

I don’t want to name any names,

But I think he should have won the X Games.

Now that Nate got so big,

He doesn’t have time to chase my pig.

 

 

 

 

 

nac nac’s on the first lap. I don’t want to see Nate pulling a flying W through the whoops!”

 

Jeff Doetzer/ Professional freestyle rider/ ballerina

“Nate is pretty fly for a white guy and one of my good buddies. We ride and practice our aerial acrobats together here in the meth lab-filled Arizona desert. He used to come over and hang out with me and my pig Bo Jangles. That’s where my pig and I would go over the backflip, play by play, until Nate finally grasped the concept. The more I think about it, the more I realize that Nate was actually coming over to hang out with my pig and not me. I would always catch Bo Jangles humping on Nate’s leg and Nate seemed to like it. That horny little rascal! Let me bust a rap for you and let everyone know my feelings about Nate!”

I think Nate is great,

He used to come over and practice late.

Everyone thinks he’s the man,

Especially when he does a no-footed can-can.

I don’t want to name any names,

But I think he should have won the X Games.

Now that Nate got so big,

He doesn’t have time to chase my pig.