When Andrew first secured his factory Honda ride back in 2005, he was plucked out of relative privateer obscurity. Similar to the career of former Honda team member Jeff Stanton, Short had payed his dues on privateer and support teams for several years, with some notable rides and even a few wins along the way. Honda finally recognized the Colorado native's concentrated work ethic and very pleasant demeanor, choosing him to ride West Coast Lites on their works CRF250. Now Short finds himself entering his sixth season with Red Bull Honda after a strong 2009 season. Andrew was one of only a handful of riders to have his contract ironed out well in advance and he is looking forward to the upcoming year.
So what have you been up to in the past few months?
Since Steel City I've been trying to get my health back up to the base line. It was a long season and I had some problems with my thyroid, but I kept racing through it even though I was hurting the whole time. I've been enjoying the time off and just riding the bike for fun, no motos or serious training. I've been riding on trails and making some play jumps to keep me occupied. I'm riding Supercross still, but it's not really structured; if I want to do ten laps then I do ten laps. I haven't done that in a long time because I always felt guilty that I should be making myself a better racer. I love riding and I know there is a day that I won't be getting paid to race and I can do that as much as I want, but I needed to play for a little bit. Now we are back here and I'm getting serious for Anaheim and Supercross.
Thyroid problems are not something you hear too much about in racing. What exactly were you dealing with?
There are about 20 million people in America that are dealing with a thyroid condition, so it's a condition that a lot of people deal with. I'm what's called "hyper thyroid", which means my body depends on my thyroid more than normal. Basically your thyroid controls your glandular system, your pituitary gland, the hyper thalamus, it's pretty complicated to explain, but it's basically the gas and brakes to your hormones.
I was tired all of the time. I would sleep for fourteen hours, wake up and ride my bicycle for twenty minutes, and then feel like I needed to sleep again. I had no energy and I would be tired when I'd race, I'd be too tired to train, so it made it frustrating to come to the races knowing I wasn't at one hundred percent. The bright side is I ended up second n points, but it was a challenge to be at them tired all the time.
When did you start to feel the effects and know that something wasn't right with your body?
It started at Texas and it was in full swing by Red Bud. I was dealing with some other problems because of it, and it kept tearing down my body without building it back up. I'm just happy to have the time off and have a ride with good people and experience, so I know better days are ahead.
Your attitude is more than likely one of the reason Honda kept you around. It was obvious you weren't in the best of health, but you still tried to deliver the results they expected. Many people would have just backed off or pulled out of racing if they were dealing with less of a problem.
I wasn't the only guy who had problems this year, because Chad was visibly sick and he came out on top at the end of it. As a professional athlete we deal with things like sickness or injuries, no matter if it's a sprained ankle or something like this. This was the first time I've ever experienced something like this, because it wasn't a bone on ligament that was the problem, it was my energy level and it had me confused.
What is you deal for 2010? You just got to California after being home in Texas since the Nationals and you're getting ready for next year. Do you have most of the same details in your 2010 program as last year, or are you changing things up a bit?
Yeah, I've just been in Texas having fun. I'm here to start testing with Red Bull Honda for next year and I'm very fortunate to still be with Fly Racing. They are all great people to be at the races with, and because we already have our thing lined up, we'll have a little bit of an edge on everyone else as they get their rides later and sort out their bikes. I don't have many changes, so it's up to me to make things happen. I want to win a race, that's always been my goal, and once I start to win races I'll look at a championship.
So no European appearance fees to add to the bank account?
No, not this year. I actually went to Sweden right after the Nationals, but that's because I was committed to it long before I was at my worst. It's a cool race with great people, but that's the only one this year.
Are you feeling more comfortable with the bike this year? Last year was a totally new and different bike that probably took some time to get accustomed to but the bike hasn't changed too much for this year.
I think the biggest benefit is the year we have on the bike. Last year was a whole new platform for us, and we have made different changes to make it better since day one. I never had a problem with it, it's always fit me well, and it was my speed that was holding me back from bridging the gap. To be on the level with James, Chad, Villopoto, Dungey, and everyone else, I need to have more raw speed that's there for the entire twenty laps. That's what I've been working on, and I know with the elements like technique, training, and my team that I am in a good position. If I can find the last piece to the puzzle I'll be pretty happy.
That's something you've mentioned before, the line between technique and speed.
You need to find the speed but you have to replicate it, and once you can do that it becomes almost second nature. I can do it for a few laps, but I need to do it for twenty like James and Chad. It's maybe easier said than done, but once you can stick with them for a few laps you can grow from there.