Photos courtesy of ESPN
Each year, ESPN The Magazine produces their acclaimed Bodies Issue, which showcases world-class athletes and their bodies in the nude. This year’s installment included WMX and Endurocross racer Tarah Geiger, who is featured shredding her Florida practice track in nothing but a pair of Tech 10s. We, like everyone else, wanted to know about the photo shoot and rang up the X Games medalist.
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is delete all my junk email, reply to the important ones, and then check Instagram. My feed the other morning was filled by you riding a motorcycle naked for ESPN. How did this come about?
Back in March, I got a call from the media people at Red Bull. They talked about me possibly doing this shoot and with X Games going global, they wanted to have something be included. Funny story, though; they said that they had seen a bikini shoot I had done with my bike. And I started cracking up, because it wasn't me, it was a joke…
Oh, you mean the fake one from April Fool's Day?
I guess I have to thank TransWorld for doing the April Fool's joke. It kind of piqued their interest when they saw me doing a photo shoot in a bikini, even though it wasn't me.
I think that your body is better than the fake body that we used.
(Laughs) That's what I had to tell them! They said they might need to take test shots and I said, "Well my body is way better than hers, minus the boobs."
I don't know how many times we've offered you both sides of the poster and you've always turned it down…
(Laughs) Yeah I've been waiting for something bigger; I just had to wait a little while.
I've seen you super fit, and I've seen you when you've said that you're not super fit. When you got the call, did you have time to train and prepare for your photo shoot?
I was training and getting ready for Brazil, so I started eating a little bit healthier. And it helped with riding, too. I was going to the gym four days a week, and eating healthier and cleaner.
How long did you have to get ready for your photo shoot?
They told me about it in March and we shot it at the beginning of June.
Was there different motivation to get your body in shape for the photos than to get your body in shape for motos?
Yeah, there was. For racing, you want to be strong and fit, but I definitely thought about being leaner and I think it worked out. I definitely slimed up a bunch for it.
Did you have to go tanning?
No, luckily I had just gone to Australia for a week and a half, so I just burned myself there (Laughs).
Talk about the photo shoot a little bit. How strange was it riding your bike with no clothes on?
When I went to it, I didn't actually think that I would be riding my bike; I thought I would be posing with it and I didn't really know what we'd do. But when I got there, they said that I was going to be riding and only be wearing my boots, which was a relief. I didn't know how I would have been able to ride and turn barefoot, and I was worried about burning my legs. Once I got on the bike I forgot that I was even naked; in the first shot I covered myself in sand from head-to-toe. The rest of the shoot was pretty good and the photographer was amazing and such a professional. You literally just forget that you're not wearing clothes, because there's so much to think about to get the shot lined up.
Were you running a gripped seat cover?
Yeah, pretty much. It got pretty rough towards the end, like the fourth shot. We did five action shots and one still shot, and by the fourth shot it was getting uncomfortable.
In the jump shot you have your elbows down strategically to cover yourself up. Did it take a couple shots to get the placement of your arms right?
Yeah, especially in one of the turn shots, and I actually went down once. They wanted me to look at the camera, have my elbows down, but by then the turn was getting blown out and it was difficult to do.
And smile at the same time?
Yeah, to look like you're not just relaxed.
Having shot you several times in the past, I know it's hard to get you smiling seriously or without that cheesy grin that you give to the camera on purpose…
I think I start out that way and then I slowly start to get over it. I think they just had to wait it out. I was flexing for 20 minutes to get the cover shot, and that exhausted me.
What is it like being on the cover of a magazine naked? You're the first one in motocross right?
Yeah, I'm the first motocross rider that has been featured in it. It's awesome to get the opportunity and then to get the call that I got the cover. I couldn't be happier, that's for sure.
Are you prepared to sign a few of them at the races now?
(Laughs) I guess. I definitely don't regret it and all the feedback that I've gotten on Instagram has been positive, which I'm kind of surprised by actually.
How is Endurocross going for you? Has it been an easy transition from motocross?
No, it's been super tough. Going to the races and seeing new things that I have never encountered before on the race track, then learning them in the 15 minutes we get in practice is really tough. I have only gotten five races so far, and I have definitely learned something new and have had new situations happen at every race. It's taking some time and the other girls are getting a lot better. It's definitely tough but I'm enjoying it because it's something new and fun. But I do miss racing motocross and I wish I could have done that series, but it just conflicted too much. I'm looking forward to riding Supercross, just getting back to racing and knowing that you're not going to crash on the track.
Do you ever cross-train on a trials bike, or would that help you?
I would, but I don't have a trials bike in Florida and there are not a lot of places you can ride it like you could in California. That's where I've been struggling, getting the materials to practice what I need to practice and it's really hard to find that stuff. Whereas in California, I could buckle down and get as much practice in possible before LA.
In LA you're going to be doing Supercross and Endurocross. How different is setting the bike up for the two races? I imagine that suspension is quite a bit different?
For the first two races I just used regular motocross stuff, but at the third race I felt like my bike was actually hindering my progression. I had my forks revavled and it made a world of difference, but I ended up having bike issues in the final in Barcelona and it held me back. I'm excited to get the bike back so that I can start testing the suspension and get ready for LA.
To go from racing the WMX series all over the United States to riding Endurocross around would have to be a cool experience.
I did WMX for a long time and I really enjoyed the last couple of years. It was so much fun and I wish I could have done it again if the series was the same. The Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda team was amazing. But this year the X Games came up for Endurocross, which I was excited to learn how to ride, and be in events as big as the X Games. And that opened up the chance to do the shoot with ESPN. I definitely don't regret my decision and hopefully I can do it for the next couple of years.
Are there the same opportunities in Endurocross as there was WMX, or is it actually better?
Going into it, I'm kind of on my own. KTM made me a couple of bikes and I am sponsored by Parts Unlimited and FMF. The TLD team, which I wasn't riding for, has supported doing my own thing and a lot of people that I used to be sponsored by before I was on the TLD team have came back to support me. I couldn't do it without Red Bull, KTM, FMF, New Egg, Dunlop, Sunstar, Replay XD, Twin Air, Enjoy Graphics, Troy Lee Designs, Alpinestars, Von Zipper, and ODI. The Endurocross prize money is really good and they really take care of their athletes, so it's a long term thing. I think it will get better as people see it's a successful series that they can get something out of it.