Muscle Milk TWMX Race Series Profile: Mike Sleeter

Mike Sleeter, 33
Murrieta, CA
Sponsors: KTM North America, One Industries, 100%, all of KTM’s associate sponsors
Mike Sleeter has long been a part of the Southern California motocross community, competing for many years at the national level, including still making the night show at supercross while working a full time job.  After retiring from the top level of motocross a couple years ago, Sleeter has been keeping very busy with his role at KTM and was a part of developing their amateur riders.  It had been a while since we saw Mike at one of the Muscle Milk/Transworld MX races, so tracked him down between motos to see what he has been up to, including his plans for the new year and a side business venture.
What brings you out to the Transworld Race today?
Honestly, my role has changed at KTM, the last five years I was running the amateur program, but it is changing and they want me to concentrate on testing and racing for the next two years.  I just signed a two year contract with KTM for testing and race development for production.  So I am just jumping back in full steam ahead and you will see me out here for more races.
Since you are jumping back into racing again, are you going to compete at any of the nationals?
Yes, that is the plan, but just for testing purposes only.  My only goal is just to make the program, it has been three or four years since I’ve raced.  I was never that top guy anyway, so to come back a little bit older with two kids, it is going to be a challenge.  But the point is not for me to achieve goals, but to make the bike better for consumers for racing purposes.  That’s the whole goal for this production development process.
After you retired from professional racing, at least the first time, do you find that you enjoy racing more now that there is less pressure?
Yeah, I just love to ride, and I enjoy being able to work with KTM, they are such a forward moving company on development that I really enjoy developing their product.  I don’t ride a whole lot unless I am working, and luckily I am working 2-3 days a week, so I am also riding 2-3 days a week.  I think my base of riding is so good right now since I haven’t been focused on searching for speed that finding a little more of that speed will be a little easier this year.  I don’t have any injuries, I know the bike and I know what the bike is going to do in every circumstance, so if I crash it will be completely my fault. 
What is your training regimen to get you ready for this year’s racing?
I am a mountain bike and cycling-a-holic.  It is my passion and my hobby.  We have awesome trails right out of KTM and I also live next to a park with trails.  I raced mountain bikes yesterday.  It’s the ultimate preparation for my job, they run me through the wringer 8 hours on the motorcycle, so I have to be fit and I have to be ready to ride.  Riding and racing my mountain bike is my form of training, I don’t do a lot of gym training, although I know I should, but it is just a lack of time.
What do you think is more competitive, mountain bike racing or motocross?
I think as a whole, mountain bike racing.  People can ride out of their back door, and equipment isn’t as critical.  It is important, but it is readily available and it is more about how much work you put into it, you’ll get back out of it at a regional level.  At the top level, I am just a fan of the sport and the top guys like Aaron Gwin, Brian Lopes and even Johnny O’mara.  It is so much time dedicated, that you can’t fake it, mountain biking is all time and dedication.
You’re also starting out on a new business venture, tell us a little about that.
Yeah, I am starting up the Mainline Coffee Company, and it is seriously just a hobby.  It’s like a girl sells Tupperware, but I am making coffee with my friend Danny.  We have a roaster up in Portland and it is all organic fair trade coffee.  Honestly it started because I wanted to do something my friends weren’t doing.  All my friends in the industry have their hands in something and they do it very well, so I don’t want to make gloves, goggles or gear, and in my opinion, I get to wear the greatest gear from my friends, so if I can give back to my friends and sponsors who help me out and have a little following with the coffee thing then great.  I think it is more of a consumable item that people drink daily, it is a hobby right now and I am having fun with it and we will see where it goes.  I am going to hook up all my friends and get them all spun out all day. 
How did you pick coffee?
It is a consumable item, and I won’t be able to test for the rest of my life, and people that make a lot of money are into things people use every day, even if it is toilet paper, napkins, paper cups and products they use every day.  Coffee is a $30 billion business and Starbucks has $15 million of it, so if I can make $100,000 of that, I’d be stoked.  It’s a hobby, and even though I am trying to make money, it is a lifestyle thing we are doing, something casual and right now I am having fun with it, but hopefully we can grow it.