Catching up with Dr. Jason Richardson
Looks like you’re having a busy year riding and traveling. First off, how’s the UCI World Cup announcing gig going? Seems like the production has really stepped-up the coverage this year.
I have been busy, but I am proud to say that all my “busyness” has been productive! This year I have been finding a great flow with everything I do and preach… The #MoreBetterHappier and #ChampionshipLife tags are about living life holistically and in alignment with one’s values. As it relates to the UCI announcing, I am grateful to have the opportunity to travel, stay in the mix, and literally talk BMX all day long! The BMXLive.Tv crew along with the Baku Media Center are really making it easy as they both have created a positive (and fun) working environment. This is especially hard to do since money is tight in the BMX community… so it’s actually amazing that they have stepped up the coverage with less resources available – NOT that more resources and sponsorship isn’t warranted or would be appreciated!
What’s your take on the current landscape of the UCI World Cup a year out from Tokyo?
“Barring anything catastrophic”, the players you see doing well now will be the ones we most likely see representing their countries in Tokyo. I am also certain however, that we will see some surprises and past champions come back to form as we move toward the Games. My question is, who will do the commentary during the games?!?!!?
Any riders you think may still be under the radar that could be featured in Tokyo that the rest of the World doesn’t know much about yet?
Hopefully the USA will have harder decision to make in the future…? I see the French and Dutch benches being super deep right now and something tells me the UK will have a couple of medal contenders as well.
From Social Media it looks like you’ve been riding the MTB a lot this year and there seems to be quite a crew on the weekly riding with you, including your boys. What are some of the things you like about the MTB scene?
Truth be told, I have always liked MTB. When I rode for Giant (MOSH) BITD, I had the opportunity to ride different bikes and try DH or Dual slalom. I actually sucked at both. It is hard to turn with no berms! Also, the bikes back then were terrible. That is NOT the case now. The bikes are amazing and the riding/riding spots challenge me in different ways. I will always love BMX. This is the ironic part because MTB in its form now is much like how riding BMX was! Flat pedals (though I do clip in as well), dirt turns, and a bit more natural landscape/terrain – not to mention, all of the old homies riding MTB. I also like that I can access a trail close to home, my kids will ride with me and the tourism around the sport as well as the racing. Last, I am a bike geek/nerd (both BMX and MTB) so there is much to geek out about in my down time!
You’ve been riding out at the new Pacific Highlands Ranch Pump Track in Carmel Valley. What are your thoughts on the new facility?
The new facility is great and obviously VERY MUCH needed in the North County San Diego area. I wish it were bigger. Thank you @MTBEsq for making it happen!
With more pump tracks popping-up around the US, can BMX racing benefit from it?
BMX racing will benefit… and/or become more diverse… or maybe even change?!?! Not sure how its going to go down, but the current landscape of racing BMX in the USA at least, is changing and pump tracks offer easy accessibility to the sport. You gotta think that more kids riding pump tracks will eventually lead to more inquiry about BMX racing, or maybe MTB racing, or maybe Scooter racing? But—that is the cool part about this pump track stuff. It introduces (reintroduces) people to other disciplines. Hopefully people will buy more bikes and more importantly, get themselves outside enjoying the world – not just “virtually” enjoying the world.
Where do you see the future of BMX and MTB racing?
Where do I see it or where would I like to see it…? Both will exist. I think MTB racing will get stronger. I hope BMX racing grows – but it needs to evolve. BMX seems to have lost it’s soul. You get to the track, warm up, clip in, race, cool down, go home. I get it… I totally get it! I suppose it is that way in every sport at a high level. However, as it pertains to racing, the only people that care about both MTB and BMX racing are the participants (recreational and otherwise). MTB has way more participants (people actively buying MTB and riding with regularity) than BMX. This is obvious at the bike parks. And, I will add it is not about the cost of the bikes!!! It is about access and experience. Like I said, it is easy for me and my family to ride locally, and when the head up to the mountain for the bike park, it is about riding as well as the experience. BMX Racing needs more participants (not necessarily racers) buying bikes and riding, jumping, and pumping – even if they do not race!
I would like to see BMX become whole again. Meaning, I would like to see the dirt jumpers at some events. I would like to see a summer tour again (that is documented on social). I would like to see a king/queen of (name your region) series again. I would like to see a food trucks, a good DJ, and beer garden at some races – with promotion to the outside community!! I would like to see more tracks being open to the public without the gates being dropped. I would like to MORE of a showcase of the collegiate level of racing (possibly its own little series… again documented on social). I would like to see our top pros doing more clinics, talks, and getting to more local tracks. I would like to see collaborations between the disciplines MTB, Freestyle, BMX (any wheel size). I would like to see less nationals. I would like to see more pedaling. I would like to see a track that DOESN’T have a rhythm section on the third straight. I would like to have a real conversation with BA about how all of us can make this better! I would like to see the big hill go away.
Many may read this and think I might be negative or down on BMX. However, if you look at my social channels, I trust you will come to the conclusion that I work to be optimistic AND honest!
All that said, bike sales across the board are down. I would imagine that participation in outdoor recreation as a whole is down… I would imagine. Humans are becoming more sedentary and we are becoming victims of our own collective success as a species. BUT, research is showing that we are happier when we get outside. We are better when we move regularly. We are more creative, healthy, and productive when we experience community, physical activity, and things that challenge us. If it were not for BMX, I would not have the life I have. If it were not for the people, the lessons, and lining up every week – I would not be as effective of a professional that I am today.
For me, it is important that every person find their version of BMX.
Jason Richardson, MBA, PsyD
Speaker | Author | Olympic Psychologist
PC: Justin Kosman