So to up the challenge and speed up his learning curve, Jeremy gives Jesse a crash (no pun intended) course in how to handle the tough situations. Jesse will have to master several different skills and learn the ins and outs of navigating the whoops (a name given by riders to describe a series of bumps similar to waves in the ocean), threading the needle in tight places, and skidding across the loose rocks. He takes his share of falls while he watches Jeremy navigate with ease. Even an experienced motorcycle rider like Jesse is having a harder time then one would think. But Jesse, in true Dead Man fashion, is a quick learner and becomes familiar with his bike and sets up for his toughest prep test -- careening across a 60-foot water pit to simulate the sliding he will face out in the desert. Bad timing and inexperience sends Jesse flying and gives him a few bumps and bruises that he will regret later.
When thinking about the need for strength and stamina one often envisions football players, wrestlers, and other contact sport athletes. Dirt bike racing for most would seem somewhere way down the list as most motocross racers and stunt riders are not very muscle-bound. Don’t let that fool you. As someone who has worked with countless world-class athletes, I can honestly say that dirt bike racing takes a superior athlete in every respect. Speed, strength, endurance, balance, coordination, and cat-like reflexes are all needed for any race...especially the Desert Hare Scramble. In addition to having a tireless grip on the handles, the arms, legs, and core of the body require extreme strength and endurance. The core, composed of the back, hips, and abdominal muscles has a major responsibility as they play a key role in taking the beating that even a good pair of shocks and struts will deliver. The constant forward lean, grip on the handles and on-off braking and accelerating, and the intense pounding of the tough terrain is one that Jesse will have to endure if he expects to finish this race.
The scornful desert of Laughlin is his stop for the Desert Hare Challenge. His bike is ready, and so is he. Jesse has a nagging back injury from his earlier-in-the-week training accident, but decides this is one race he has to do. Will Jesse complete the course? Will he survive one of the desert’s toughest tests or will he and his bike become tumbleweed in the dirt?
David Sandler is the Science Advisor for 'Jesse James is a Dead Man', and President and Co-Founder of StrengthPro, Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org