One question, five answers… Snap January, 2000

How do you get yourself out of a rut?

I try not to change anything. I think when a lot of people get in ruts they don’t make mains, they crash a lot, they try to figure out what’s wrong and they try and change the things they’re doing. I think basically you just have to ride it out and hang in there. Try not to panic¿it happens to everyone. I’ve been through it, everyone goes through it at least some time in their racing career. Maybe ask someone to see if they notice anything you’re doing different, but don’t worry about it. You just need to relax. The more you think about it the more screwed up you get.¿Jamie Staff/Haro

I think I’m currently dealing with a rut right now ’cause the race season’s kinda in that weird phase. The NBL Grands are over, the ABA Grands are a while away and the trails were getting old, so this week I put a back peg on and I’m pretty psyched to ride. I’ve learned that you need to mix up your riding as much as you can. If you’re a racer, go out and bunny hop some stuff, if you’re a dirt jumper go street riding¿just doing some different kinds of riding mixes it up. Sometimes when you get tired or you’re in a rut you don’t ride for a week and you’re out of it, but if you can go out and do something else, it helps. I’m just as sore after street riding as I am after a good gate start session. Switch up the riding as much as you can and you’ll always be fresh. ¿Brian Foster/Schwinn

The first thing I do to get out of a rut is ask myself three questions: am I ready mentally, am I ready physically, and am I ready mechanically. You have to ask yourself if you’re really giving it one hundred percent because if you are, then you probably wouldn’t be in the rut in the first place. Physically, if you’re ready for it and you’re eating good and doing all your training, that’s going to help you out mentally also. Your bike has to be right, everything has to be running perfect. If you’re not one hundred percent on each of those three categories then you need to take it back to the chalkboard and figure out what you need to fix. If you’re not totally happy to be at that race, then you’re not going to do well. You’ve got to be happy you’re there. The whole beginning of ’99 I was in a rut and wasn’t mentally or physically there, now I’m working my way out. You have to get some good races under your belt and get some confidence going. ¿Robbie Miranda/DK/1-800-Collect

First of all, a rut is usually caused by a lack of mental focus. I like to go back to basics; basic training, basic thinking, and going through basic procedures. Motivating myself to be more focused, more concentrated on the race and not be so distracted. When I get in a rut, I start preparing sooner for the race, focusing more on the race, think about just racing¿instead of getting distracted so much¿and start off from there. I think some people don’t realize they’re in a rut until after two or three bad races, so it takes a lot longer to get your confidence back. You’ve got to go back to the drawing board and see what’s not working for you. I usually go off by myself and start thinking of past races I did good at and what I did, it helps to get me back in that same train-of-thought of doing good. ¿Robert MacPherson/Diamondback

I just try to keep an even keel lifestyle. Basically if you’re looking at BMX racing and you’re struggling, then obviously you’ve got something going on outside of racing that’s disturbing you. I just try to keep a balanced lifestyle outside of racing and go ahead and train and do everything I need to do before the race. Usually the race is the test that will assess how I’m living. If I’m having a bad weekend then I probably struggled during the week. I think ruts can be both a mental and physical thing; you could take Leveque or Purse¿both got injured this year and they showed signs of struggling. The physical aspect plays a paart as well as mentally. If you have a major crisis or a lot of emotions going up and down outside of BMX then obviously it’s going to show on the track. The first thing you can do is address those issues and move on from there. ¿Greg Romero/Robinson