Cole Seely | The Program
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Two icons in their respective sports anchor Cole Seely's training program: 1980s motocross star Jeff Ward and mountain bike legend Brian Lopes. The addition of Ward and Lopes into the program and their experience in high-pressure situations will undoubtedly help Seely along the way in his rookie season…
Jeff is always there holding the pit board, or chalk board as he calls it because he is old school [laughs]. It's cool to have him there and we get along really well. And working with Brian Lopes and Jeff, they both get along really well. We might go do motos one day, and then are all three of us are on mountain bikes pushing each other. That is what I need. I feel that over the years I've learned so much about the group of people around me, and to have those two and my mechanic Rich is the complete package.
I know of Jeff's history just because when I first started working with him, I was on 85s way back in the day. My dad would say, "Jeff was my hero," and I've heard that so many times. I've done my research, and it's so easy now to look up everything on the Internet and get the background on people. And it's the same thing with Brian. He is nineteen years older than me, so I did some research on him and everything I've seen with the guy is crazy. And still to this day, watching what they do is insane.
[Laughs] I have legends amongst legends training with me. I never thought I would see the day, but it's definitely an honor to have those two in my corner.
Although Seely is free from the mandatory team deals of his 250 career, he's retained a few sponsors from his time at Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda. Completing the look are SPY Optic goggles, another brand looking to make a push in 2015…
My kit was personally selected. I never wanted to be a sellout, "I dont't really like the gear but they are offering me the most money." Once I signed the deal with Honda, it was filling in the blanks from there. TLD stepped up and said, "We want to work with you next year," but I didn't know if they were going to be able to offer that program. When they stepped up and offered it, I was so stoked. It's been so much fun working with Troy and everyone at the squad. When Alpinestars came to me, I was pumped to keep wearing their boots because we've had such a good history together. Kyle Krause from SPY was always stopping by the pits and messing around with each other, but once he found out I didn't have a goggle deal, he was the first to jump on with an offer. I brought addias from the Troy Lee team, and that's another good image and solid company to work with. I am really pumped on the setup this year.
One would think that landing a ride with a factory team would come with immense stress, but Seely says the only major pressure for results comes from within. A two-year deal with Team Honda and the rest of his sponsors will help him learn the ropes of the 450 class without worry of losing support…
I wouldn't say they put the pressure on me. They've never sat me down and said, 'You have to do this.' They are really laid back and pretty much just give me the bike and let me do my thing. I put pressure on myself as a rider to do well, and I think they know that and it's part of the reason they signed me. I strive to be successful and the pressure I put on myself is enough. I obviously want to win and do really well, and with the opportunity I have, there's no reason why I shouldn't.
Six years ago where I was, being on a factory team wasn't even a thought. It never crossed my mind that I would be a factory rider, or that I'd even make it to the 450 class. So every day that I am on the bike, I try to learn a little more. And now with the Honda team, Trey, and all the people around me, I can learn so much. That is what keeps me going and motivated to ride.
I think they know there will probably be some speed bumps here and there through my first year, and it does take a little pressure off having a deal through the next two years. Being able to figure things out and then build off of it in 2016 without having to switch bikes or anything. I'm going to be on a Honda, wearing Troy Lee, SPY, and Alpinestars for the next two years. Not having to worry about any changes in my program is a relief.