Hart On: Bike Week In Daytona Rules

I’m not sure if any of you have had the chance to go ride with the man¿Jeremy McGrath¿but I have to say that this guy is pretty impressive. I’m not one to get excited by riding levels as far as freeriding goes, because it is what I do for a living and I ride with guys like Cinq and Faisst all the time. They are usually the ones who are doing the impressing, but I have to say that riding with MC was pretty wild. I guess I should start from the beginning.

[IMAGE 1]Last weekend I got a call from Lawrence Lewis, the guy in charge of doing “Steel Roots Two.” He wanted to know if I would come out and do some filming for his movie. I was stoked to get the call in the first place, so of course I said “hell yeah!” I had just started riding about a week and a half prior to the invitation after being off for about 3 months due to a back injury. Believe me, I need all the riding I can get right now. My timing is shot to s**t! I had also talked to Cinqmars and he was going too, so I was really stoked.

We all met down at Jeremy’s parent’s house near Temecula, California. The jumps were set up directly behind his overgrown Supercross track. As I pulled in, I saw a big mound of what looked like boulders that had been pushed together from processing dirt over the years. We had two metal ramps set up, criss-crossing over the pile. On the other side of the rocks were two landings: one was low with a long run out, and one was taller with a peaked top. The peaked one was set at just under 100 feet and the other was at about 80 feet, but the takeoff was on a 10-degree uphill, which made for a steep kicker. To say the least, I was nervous of the jumps. They were both blind landings, and you can’t pre-jump ramps. You gotta just bust them out! It sucks. And to make things even worse, we had an audience. Just a couple of guys who ride, you might know them: Ryan Hughes, Jimmy Button and Phil Lawrence, not to mention all of the people starting to slow down on the freeway nearby. The three of us started to pre-run the first jump¿grabbing gears at it and skidding up to it; not too much fun. After we did that about five times each, Cinq fired it up. This was the one that was on an uphill and the top landing was about three feet below the base of the take off. It boosted you about 30 feet above the top of the ramp and then you just dropped out of the sky. There was also a small transfer to the left, so you had to whip it a little to hit the landing smooth.

Cinqmars blasted it, Jeremy was about two seconds behind him, and then I finally got over it. Keep in mind the only doubles I was hitting before this were the ones on Ricky Carmichael’s Supercross game¿it was a rush hitting stuff like that again! Before long, I saw MC go for the grab handle and it was all over with. Of course, he did Superman Seat Grabs like he had been doing them for years. It was so cool to see a guy of that caliber busting freestyle tricks, and even having a lot of fun doing it. Back when I raced, it was an accomplishment just pulling a tear off without getting it stuck on the right side of my helmet, flapping in the wind. It just goes to show how much talent McGrath has; put him in any situation and he will adapt and excel.

I had a blast riding all day and hanging out with those guys. Being down there freeriding, away from the races and contests, made me realize why I do what I do. That was it. Hanging out with your buddies, talking crap back and forth, and just riding. We are so fortunate to lead the lifestyles we do, but it’s still easy to go through phases of burnout or lost motivation. After spending the weekend with Jeremy and Cinq, I have never been more motivated to ride. Sometimes it takes a little reality check to open your eyes and see what you have. Expect to read about more trips in upcoming issues, and most importantly, put down this magazine and go ride already!