In two months’ time, the sands of Sentosa will turn into something resembling an apocalyptic wasteland. There will be giant sand dunes and sharp valleys, and the sun will beat down ferociously on the sparse environment. There will also be a bunch of daredevils wearing full-body jumpsuits on two-stroke dirt bikes racing maniacally around, up and down these dunes and valleys, in an attempt to win the inaugural Singapore MX Beach Race 2017.
Spread out over three days from 25 to 27 August, the event will see Asia’s top motocross riders duke it out on a track designed by one of the legends of the sport Pablo Toribio. The man was in town recently to check out Sentosa and turn it into a playground for the riders so we grabbed him for a few quick questions regarding the Singapore race and why you should watch the two-wheel action.
How did you design the track for the Singapore MX Beach Race 2017?
Specific to the Singapore MX Beach Race, most of the riders here are not as experienced as in the US, where kids as young as four start on their bikes in their backyards; it’s a lifestyle to some degree. So this is going to be a balance of challenging enough to excite the pro riders & inspire the beginners with a bit of easy thrown in for everyone to catch their breath. Safety is the most important thing to me – that means making sure that the riders don’t lose their mental focus and doing crazy stunts out there because they’re pumped up or frustrated.
Actually how did you get started riding on two wheels?
Well, I started riding a bicycle at three and moved on to motocross when I was 14.
Riding a dirt bike is a very interactive experience. It’s you, the bike and the dirt. You have to be very strong – I focus on three things: power, control, speed. When you have your power and you have control, you have incredible speed. Another aspect is the mental part. 75 per cent of the training I do before getting on a bike is mental.
When you’re not on two wheels, what do you usually do in your free time?
I ride my mountain bike every day. I have a training schedule I keep up. On different days I focus on different aspects of my body. I do a mix of road cycling & trail riding for about two to three hours. My main thing is my heart rate. I just completed the Port to Port MTB race in Newcastle Australia, and I’m heading for another one in the US, Leadville 100.
Usually, in the morning I follow up with the motocross riders I train in the US. I ask them how the day went – progress with heart rate & the workouts they have done. To see if their whole body has recovered & how much energy their body is producing. I check their practice if they are ready for the races.
I have a bicycle and a system (Kickr & Zwift) that allows us to hook up/connect and ride together. Think video game on a bicycle. I also ride with them at the same time on the same course and see how fast or slow they become tired.
Besides that I play with my dog a lot. I hang out at the pool to relax. I don’t drink or smoke but I love hanging out with my friends.
I heard that you’ve done a lot of other things besides motocross.
I used to race professional motocross in the Dominican Republic. I was the Dominican Republic champ for a little while. Then I moved to the US and kept learning. I raced pro in the US; I made one national at Budds Creek. I was on the Dominican Republic Motocross of Nations team at Budds Creek in 2007. I started learning more and more about the training side of the sport and decided to be a personal trainer because I wanted to know my body better. I am a personal trainer with seven certifications and four US national certifications.
The thing with me is I raced professional motocross for a little while and I raced professional bicycles. Not a lot of people know that I rode the Tour de France, and that was a lot of fun. I finished in 2005 and was a replacement rider for one of my friends from the Dominican Republic. So, I learned all that fitness stuff.
That was how Pablo Fitness came about. It’s funny, I was working out at a gym all the time in the city. I was really working hard there every morning. The owner of the gym asked me, “What do you do?” and I told him I race motorcycles. He says, “Why do you have to be in shape to ride motorcycles? Doesn’t it do all the work?” That is absolutely not true. I eat probably every two hours!
What can viewers expect from the Singapore MX Beach Race 2017?
Great competition! It’s a fantastic event and will provide a good rush of adrenaline and excitement. Heck, I’m excited.
What are some hacks that I can use while watching the race?
Each part of the track is different. Definitely score yourselves the VIP tickets. The finish line of the track is of course exciting but if I were you, I’d move around abit. The riders have to use different skills around the track.
As a layman who prefers four wheels over two, what should I look out for when I’m watching the Singapore MX Beach Race?
Listen man, I’m just as crazy about my four wheels as I am over my two wheels. Motocross is an extreme sport and it is about appreciating the talent and how tough the riders are when they are out there racing. That rush when they are done racing – it’s the adrenaline and the excitement.