Life in the Fastlane: Motocross Riders Cole Seely and Trey Canard Talk Injuries, Training

Life in the Fastlane: Motocross Riders Cole Seely and Trey Canard Talk Injuries, Training

Professional Motocross riders Trey Canard and Cole Seely have collected their own bumps and bruises following nearly 20 years of riding. Broken backs and lacerated kidneys are just a couple of injuries sustained by the duo. Now, you can add a broken arm to the list. 

Canard, who is 24-years-old, recently broke his arm in a crash during the 12th round of the AMA Supercross Series at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. He was sitting in second place, as far as points go, at the time of the accident but must sit out of the last race of the series on May 2nd in Las Vegas. 

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The proud Oklahoman, who has hopes of becoming a minister after his days of riding professionally are over, is one of the most reveered in his sport. A Team Honda rider, Canard debuted with the team in 2011, after claiming the 2010 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Rising Star Award. Since then, he’s dealt with a litany of injuries, including potentially career-threatening ones to his back and leg. 

Determined to not his let his story end abruptly, Canard made it through both, eventually capturing sixth and fourth places finishes in Supercross and Motocross, respectively, back in 2013. Last season, he logged his first premier-class overall victory at the Miller Motorsports Park finale.

Canard’s new teammate, Seely, is no stranger to injury either, having lacerated his liver and damaged an artery leading to a kidney in a 2012 crash. The 25-year-old missed a majority of the 2012 Supercross and Motocross seasons, forging a relationship with Honda, as, ironically enough, and injury replacement for Canard. Seely would fill in for Canard once more in March 2014 as part of the 450 class, while earning a career-best eighth place in 250MX points.

Seely, who became the first premier-class rookie to win a race in the 450SX series in 2015, is currently third place in points, trying to bring home a title alongside second-place teammate Eli Tomac. Both Seely and Canard now prepare to head to Las Vegas for the Supercross Finals, but before that, the pair checked in with Men’s Fitness to talk about their racing history, injuries, and training for Supercross. 

When did you start racing?

Trey: The first time I got on a bike was when I was three-years-old. My older brother and dad raced. It was just a family fun thing to do. Some people went to the lake, golfed or the rodeo; this was our thing. I’d say when it got more serious I was 10, 11 or 12. At 16, I signed my first professional contract.

Cole: My dad and grandpa rode and grew up around it. They took me to the track. Like Trey said it starts out fun, and then evolves into all the amateurs and nationals stuff. Even if we didn’t make it professionally, it’s still kind of cool to look back and have that time spent with the family. 

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Cole, when did you meet Trey?

Cole: Well, we grew up racing together. We’ve known each other since we were 12. 

What would you say are the keys to longevity in the sport and competing at a high level?

Cole: The main thing is if you can stay healthy but with Trey coming back from injury, it’s also how quickly you bounce back. Also, keeping good results when you do return, which he’s been able to do, knock on wood. I haven’t had to deal with too many injuries. I think that’s a big part of it.

What kind of training does one have to go through to get on the bike?

Trey: Obviously, the first bit of training that you do is going to be on the bike. You don’t want to mess that up. Like a runner will run and a swimmer swims, there’s going to be bits of cross training but the motorcycle is really important. I think we all do our strength programs and core is a big part of that. The big muscle groups as well. Cardiovascular is a huge part of that; just having that base to go long periods of time, especially during our summer season. We all pretty much ride our bicycles and spend time at the gym. 

Both of us have a riding coach and a physical coach. My riding coach is Tim Ferry who raced for 17 years professionally. It helps to have that wisdom and knowledge to help you understand the physical part of it as well but more of the intellectual—getting to know the tracks and everything around it from the travel to the signings. My physical coach is Dean Golich; he’s from CTS in Colorado Springs. He’s kind of the mad man; the science guy behind it all. 

Is there an offseason in your sport?

Cole: [laughs] No, not much of one. There’s a no racing season from the end of the summer until… Really two to three weeks of kind of relaxing but then it’s right back into the swing of things. Training, testing; all that good stuff. November and December are the gnarliest months of our year just leading into January because we’re on the bike a lot during the week and in the gym.

How much time do you get to spend in the gym during the week?

Trey: Like Cole said, in the offseason is your big time because whenever you race—we race basically 17 races in a row—there’s not a ton you can do during that time. [So] you’re really maintaining kind of what you gained in the offseason. It’s[to make]  a big point in finding your weaknesses and strengths and trying to build a program around those few months where you can really wear yourself down. 

I’d say it’s probably 2-3 days a week of being in the gym and riding 3-4 days a week. It’s about trying to figure out that perfect ratio of everything you put together. 

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What about flexibility? Does that come into play in your sport at all?

Cole: Yeah, I mean, the better in all aspects you can be; physically it helps riding. I’ve never really been into stretching or anything like that up until a year ago. I did some fitness tests with Red Bull and they kind of tried to fine-tune my training program based on strengths and weaknesses. Flexibility was one of my big weaknesses and I’ve tried to incorporate it into post- or pre- gym sessions and maybe before bed. I think if you can be more flexible and fit; everything’s going to help for motocross. 

Trey: It’s been a pretty big part of my program since I’ve been injured. Obviously, the more flexible you are, when you hit the ground, the less chance of [injury]especially soft tissue injuries. There’s not a whole lot you can do for the bones. It’s definitely been a big part of mine, especially since I hurt my back; trying to make sure my posture is good and make sure those muscles aren’t holding me in a bad position. 

Trey, has your arm injury affected the way your train or work out?

Trey: Yeah, I mean there’s always limitations no matter what. You hurt. I think the arm is probably good because there’s a lot of things I can do with my lower body. Being able to keep that up is really important for our sport. It’s probably a decent injury to have. Obviously you lose anything upper body for a little bit but you just keep everything else going and improve where you can. When I get released to cycle, I’ll cycle. I just got released to swim so I can start some swimming. 

Take us through a day in your rehabilitation.

Trey: This is tough because I kind of have to keep a tight leash and know that my body is trying to produce bone growth. Knowing when to shut it down and not push is really important. For me, if it’s a therapy day, I’ll wake up and go spend a couple hours at therapy. I’ve been doing three days in the gym and three days cardio. One day, I’ll spend an hour [to an] hour and a half in the gym and then the next I’ll do intervals, whether they’re 10 minutes or 3 minutes. Then, I’ll just have one long, medium pace cardio day. 

Cole, you had a bad injury, right?

Cole: Yeah I had a bad injury in 2012. No broken bones but I lacerated my liver and damaged an artery going into my kidney and was off the bike for almost six months. I had to take the rest of the season off and come back in 2013. 

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You’ve talked about breathing being an intricate part of Supercross in the past. What do you work on in terms of cardio?

Cole: A lot of us have kind of transiitioned into a lot of cycling. That’s where we get most of our cardio; during the preseason. I probably spend more hours on the bicycle than I do on the motorcycle. As far as breathing goes, there’s a system out right now that helps open up your nose from being pinched by the goggles. That’s something that I’ve been experimenting with and racing with lately so it’s helped a lot. It’s easiest to work on that stuff when you’re at the test tracks and training rather [than] while you’re racing; having that as second nature. 

Take us through what a typical day is like for you in preseason.

Cole: Typically, on like an interval day, I might go to the track and do some work with my riding coach. I think Supercross is basically one long sprint. I’ll do that and maybe go to like a pump track and ride some BMX to try and spike my heart rate up pretty good. Either after that, or if I felt like I’ve gotten in a good enough day, we’ll go on a mountain bike rideit’ll be a longer ride, but we’ll put in some sprint workouts where we might base it off a moto. During Supercross, we have one six-lap race, so about six minutes. We’ll do about a six-minute sprint, then a ride to recover. Then a 20-minute sprint where you can kind of simulate a Supercross main event. It’s all kind of based around a race night. 

What would be your four keys to obtaining a Supercross body?

Cole: It’s all about Instagram. The Instagram posts [laughs]. I think number one in all of our minds is cardio. That’s on all of our minds. My favorite is going mountain biking. I enjoy road riding as well, but my favorite is mountain biking. Number two would be handling skills. Handling is important. Number three would be strength training, which is equally as important as cardio. I’m not a typically very built guy. My trainer is old school. Basic clean and jerks, squats; heavy lifting. Four would be to have fun and enjoy your time in the gym and on the bicycle. 

Trey: Number one for me I think is mental. It all kind of ties into that. Whether you’re spending time in the gym, on the bike or eating. As long as you believe in it. Being comfortable on the motorcycle is also very important. Your bike skills. We always want to do more and we can get focused on the other sides of training. I know I can. The cardio side of it is also very important and strength. We have to be strong but you get so much strength from riding a 220-pound motorcycle and having to move it around. 

Will you both be prepared to race in the summer X-Games?

Trey: I don’t plan on it. It’s kind of in the middle of one of our series. 

Cole: It’s kind of like a bonus race almost. Really, it’s usually the main series of Supercross and Motocross since they’re points paying AMA races. That’s what we’re after and anything within those series is kind of a risk.