How Motocrosser Eli Tomac Trains To Keep Injuries at Bay
In the world of Supercross, injuries are a matter of when, not if. Concussions, contusions, torn ACL’s, fractures, and sprains are all a part of what each racer signs up for. For Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Eli Tomac, he was born into a family of two wheels. His father John Tomac was the 1991 Mountain Bike World Champion and a U.S. Bicycling Hall of Famer. John also rode motocross for fun and while Eli Tomac was always enamored watching his father compete on the bike, he fell in love with motocross immediately. When he received his first bike one Christmas morning, his fate was sealed.
John has trained his son his entire life. It’s a relationship the current series points leader and 2020 champion has never taken for granted.
“It’s just good guidance, having a good coach and someone to point you in the right direction to send you on the right path,” Tomac said. “Early on, we really focused on technique for riding. From that, that’s what gives you a good base to get you to that professional level. He’s also been my physical trainer, too. He does my physical training program and just tells me what he knows I need to hear.”
No matter the guidance, collisions and spills are hard to avoid, and Eli Tomac has had his share. The most serious ones occurred during his rookie season and the following year. He broke his collarbone during practice. The next season, he injured both shoulders in a nasty crash at the Thunder Valley National in Denver. He suffered a full tear of the rotator cuff in his left shoulder and a dislocation of the right.
While no athlete enjoys revisiting any injury that takes them away from their sport, it’s clear that the love of the sport and competing is what pushes these athletes to continue to get back on their bikes.
“Injuries are a part of our sport,” Tomac said. “I feel like motocross athletes are pretty good at healing ourselves quickly because we are athletes. If you’re in better shape and you get hurt … a lot of times, you’ll heal faster than someone that’s not in great shape that gets hurt.
“I think it just comes down to the love of sport and it’s just your passion for what you do. You don’t think of [the injuries] and I always feel like I’m an in-control rider. Some guys just get hurt more than others and some guys don’t get hurt as often. You try and stay in control as much as possible, but what’s keeping us out there is the love and passion for the sport. If something is really fun, that’s what makes you tick but it’s also the things that can bite you. But there are more good times than bad times.”