Friday Feature: Austin Stroupe

by Phil Urkov

Austin Stroupe may have already captured a win in his rookie Supercross season, but by no means is he satisfied. While on hiatus from the West Coast Lites Series, Stroupy has been training harder than ever. Although he is confident in his raw ability on the track, he feels his endurance and fitness level could improve. The Pro Circuit rider currently sits in third place in the points, behind Jason Lawrence and Ryan Dungey, and is patiently waiting for next race in Seattle.

So how have you been? Have you started training for Outdoors yet or still going 100 percent in Supercross?

No actually I’ve been hitting the SX tracks still very hard. Even though we (West Coast) have had a break that doesn’t mean we stop practicing. If anything we hit it even harder trying stay in shape and not get lazy.

So how would you describe your progress this year?

Well I hate to say it but I really wasn’t in the best of shape due to my broken collarbone. That was in the beginning of the season and only now I feel good enough to go hard for the 20 laps. I’m really looking forward to take home some wins in Seattle and Vegas.

What is the biggest difference between the amateur ranks and racing pro?

I’ve been really impressed with the amount of fitness the top guys are putting in. It’s incredible to see what great shape guys like Dungey and Lawrence are in. I can run their speed for the first few laps or so but around the 15th I really start to tire out. I knew coming into this that cardio was going to be the key, so that’s what I’ve been working on the most. You should see a whole new Stroupe come Seattle.

What exactly have you been doing to improve your fitness?

More cycling, more weight training and more hard fast riding. I know my speed is there and with the break we’ve had it’s easy to get complacent. Seattle should be a good gauge on how my training has affected my riding. If I do well, we will keep that program. If I do horrible and tire out we will have to keep searching for the right combination of drills.

You must be pretty buff by now. Do you look like Popeye on a dirtbike?

(Laughs) Almost. I’m trying to get there.

Trey Canard has had quite a rookie season so far. Your season has had its share of ups and downs. What do you think of his success and where do you think you should be?

Honestly, I will give it up to Trey. He came into the season way more fit than the rest. Ryan (Villopoto) is always a hard trainer but seems to have struggled a little with his previous injury. Canard just wanted it more and seems hungrier to do well. I hate to say it but the East seems a little easier than the west. Still, he really surprised me and, I think, everyone else.

Do you havve plans to go the East and race any time soon?

I really like the west and don’t have set plans to go anywhere. I may do what Ryan did once I win a championship, but the west is where I need to be right now.

Coming from North Carolina, what do you think of California?

We only have a few tracks where I grew up; mostly race-style but very cool, if its not raining. The only bad things about NC are the winters. The riding basically shuts down because of the rain and snow. It’s like a green card lottery you can’t win. During the summer the conditions are awesome. I hope to buy some property out there one day so I can create my own riding areas. I love California though. I’ve made a lot of good friends and theirs plenty of places to ride year round.

Are you looking forward to the outdoors? What are your goals?

My Houston finish really gave me the confidence that I needed. I’m really looking forward to finishing out the SX season strong and heading outdoors. That’s what I grew up riding so it’s a lot easier to adapt to. Ryan is going to be very hard to beat outdoors. He’s is one bad dude when it comes to MX. There are a lot of really good guys also, like Canard, Izzi, Grant and so on. I would love to show up, ride at my full potential, and do what I came here to do. A number one title would be so insane.

One race at a time.