Which stage are you in? Read on to figure it out. Words and Photos by Mike Emery



*Editors note: This article is written in satire. Our TWMX Trans Am Vet Classic on March 23rd, 24th, and 25this going to have racers from beginner to pro, seasoned to off the couch, and many more. Loosen up and read on for a free psychology lesson…

As many of you may or may not have heard, our crew over here at TransWorld Motocross is hosting our first big vet race in a couple weeks that goes by the name of the "Trans Am Vet Classic." With this monumental weekend comes a whole new way to enjoy a TransWorld event for all of you that fall into the "Vet" category. Speaking from experience –Vet racing rules. I mean, so does all racing, but when you have to go to work the next day it's nice to know your neighbor on the gate isn't planning on auguring his 450cc four-stroke into your tib/fib in the first corner because chances are that guy is in the same boat as you. It's a damn good time, and I personally can't wait to be there to enjoy the racing myself in between my work duties as our Photo Editor.

Right after this event plan actually began to come to fruition in our offices, I immediately dove into all the thoughts of what classes I'd be signing up for, how bad my gate drop reaction times would be, whether or not my thumbs would be bleeding from blisters after first practice, or if I would have arm pump in the third corner –the list goes on. My point is it sparked all my nerves, and that is what racing does. It gave me the idea to write this article based loosely around the idea of "The Five Stages of Grieving (obviously racing not being grievance!) In the widely known Kübler-Ross Model: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance are the five categories. I present to you my way to categorize the nerves and feels that some Vets may get after committing to race (hopefully with me at our Trans Am Vet Classic!) I present to you: "The Five Stages of Vet Racing Emotions.”

Step 1: Denial/Acceptance

Lucky for you, my five-stage program begins and ends the entire Kübler-Ross Model in the very first step. Denial: "Holy shit –I really just signed up for this thing?!" – 38-year-old John Doe may say. Yeah, it's kind of scary at first to commit to lining up behind the gate, and this denial stage may last a little longer for some than others. Luckily you're a racer and acceptance has to come quickly. It's time to buck up and start the mental journey to the starting gate. You're doing this, bro! Accept it.

Step 2: Bargaining

"Okay, on second thought is it still too late to back out? How are these people over at TWMX with refunds, there's no way I'm doing this thing! I'm out of shape, and 15 pounds heavier than I want to be. I've eaten 7-Eleven taquitos for 8 of my last 10 meals. Plus I've been having more beers than usual lately because Cindy the receptionist at my office won't stop nagging me all day about playing Candy Crush Saga and it really stresses me out. My buddies also keep twisting my arm to do karaoke at Applebee's on Thursday nights and it's become my escape from everything to start the weekend –I mean, $3 domestic pints you can't go wrong. At least I've gotten pretty good at Sugar Ray's "I Just Wanna Fly" song." These are all thoughts a Vet may have after they've committed their pre-entry or even mentally committed to racing. Trust me when I say that it's all healthy (well maybe not all of the above are healthy) thoughts and just parts of the bargaining stage. You'll get over it, just stay committed it will be worth it. Which brings us to step three!

Step 3: Commitment

This is the key word throughout this whole process –commitment. It's committing to whatever you know is going to happen after the bargaining stage. Are you going to cut out Karaoke night, all the pints and glory of the roar of the crowd, in lieu of a healthy dinner and a gym regimen? Maybe not, but the key word here is commitment and you'll realize quickly that you're either going to commit to being an out-of-shape racer or you're going to hit that 24 Hour Fitness hard in between direct messaging Aldon Baker on Instagram for fitness advice. C-O-M-M-I-T-M-E-N-T: Another way of spelling success, trust me.

Step 4: Anxiety

Oh, anxiety…how we all love you so much. To be frank, anxiety may start at stage one but it will for sure hit you the minute you really put the pieces together before the big race. There are so many good things to get anxious about, like the thought of sitting at the gate and remembering how to position your body so you don't completely light up the rear tire after you've lagged a whole second to pop the clutch. Like re-living the feeling of being a kid when you line up 6 motos early in staging to make sure you don't miss your moto. "Do I look cool?" you might ask…damn right you do. It's the TransAm Vet Classic and you're really doin' it!

Step 5: Accomplishment

Holy shit! You did it! The weekend came and went, and you made some damn fine memories in the process. You didn't yard sale yourself into oblivion either –look at you! Maybe you did go down and break the clutch lever off –this can also be reversed into an accomplishment because now you have just one more reason to excuse that mid-to-back-of-the-pack finish. If you won, then you've got new hardware to bring home to the apartment, wife, whatever the case may be, and a boatload of confidence to begin the next round of "The Five Stages of Vet Racing" whenever that may be. No matter the outcome, this fifth stage is the moment you give yourself a big pat on the back. Well, damn it feels good to be a gangster Vet…

See you there, in whatever stage of these emotions you’re in!