“I want you to be brave today. I know you are hurting and everything inside wants to curl in a ball and cry or die. But here’s the deal – you are not dying! This is not a career-ending injury. So get out of that hospital. Get to Dr. Reiman – and get to Brys. Every minute counts in making you better. This doesn’t have to be season ending unless you let it. We have a championship to win and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anything stop you or put you on the couch this season! I know it’s going to hurt. But I promise the last two years hurt worse. Get up. Get moving.”
Chad Reed found that instant message on his phone when he woke up in a San Diego hospital on Sunday morning. It was from his wife, Ellie. It shows that motorcycle racers like Reed are a tough bunch. It also portrays just how important the families behind the racers are. In fact, they may even be tougher, especially the wives.
I grew up in a racing family. And there may not be a tougher business. When someone makes a throttle fist and gives you the wide-open gesture before saying “this to eat” before shutting it off and saying, “this to starve,” nothing can be closer to the truth. You win, the family thrives. You lose… well, not so much.
Any husband and father worth a damn knows the pressure of providing for the family. It’s what you do. But racing turns that up a notch. While we all go to work sick and maybe even injured, if we’re not there tomorrow you can catch up the next day with more hours at the desk, etc. If Chad Reed misses Saturday night’s Dallas Supercross, his chances of winning this year’s AMA Supercross title can fit in a thimble. Ain’t gonna happen.
That, my friends, is pressure.
The Reeds win as a family, lose as a family and get hurt as a family. Like I said, I’ve been there, done that. And I’ve seen the role up close that mothers/wives play in the racing career of their husbands.
I recall being at a road race in San Remo, Italy as a kid. My dad crashed and hurt his shoulder in a race that wasn’t a points-paying Grand Prix… but it was at those international races where you made the money because the “show-up” money was good. Chances are his collarbone was broken (he says to this day that it was just “tweaked”), but he didn’t go to hospital or a doctor because there was other stuff to be done. The van had to be loaded, the caravan (trailer) that we lived in had to be attached to the van’s hitch, and we had to drive to the Isle of Man for the next race.
To read the rest of this week’s Carruthers Says in Cycle News, click here