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Coronavirus Chronicles

By Brett Smith

We Went Fast doesn’t normally cover breaking news or current events in racing but The Great Cessation is a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) period in our lives. I found it important to document it somehow and I asked a handful of riders (including the great Jeremy McGrath!) the same six questions. I asked them to all have fun with them. Adam Cianciarulo may have had the most fun because I caught him in the middle of the golf course.

The points placings after the riders’ names indicates where they sat in the standings when the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross series paused after the Daytona round on March 7.

What have you done during this down time that you wouldn’t normally have time to do?

Dean Wilson (9th in 450SX points): I have just rested a little more. During the season we are pounding our bodies every day so it’s important to give it some rest while we have the time.

Adam Cianciarulo (10th in 450SX points): Florida isn’t on lockdown (March 25) so we’re still training. But we’re doing an off season version of what we would normally be doing. Lots of golf, too. Getting in a many rounds as I can. I moved to a new house recently and I’m on a golf course. In fact, I’m lining up a putt right now for birdie… [long pause, the ‘tap’ sound of a club making contact with a ball, long pause] go, go, Go, GO, GO, GO! IT’S A BIRDE! A 35 footer while I’m on the phone with you.

Justin Brayton (8th in 450SX points): A lot of family time. Doing school work with my five year old daughter and a daily workout with my wife. Normally I’m on my own program as far as working out so that’s been fun. I learned that teachers and moms have the toughest jobs out there.

Zach Osborne (14th in points): I built my wife a garden planter box from scratch. We’ll plant summer vegetables in it. I’ve also been hammering down on the stuff that gets neglected around the house or stuff we would normally hire done. And I etched the concrete on the back porch. I’ve had it done a few times but today I fired the pressure washer up and did it myself.

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Jeremy McGrath (7-time AMA Supercross Champion): The things we have been doing as a family are cleaning out areas of the house, such as closets and office cabinets. Pretty much all spaces in the house that we never even see or never have time to do. I have been doing the same in my moto garage. We have also been out the desert the last two weekends as a family, camping and driving our Kawasaki KRX side by side. It’s been a blast and the girls are loving it. It’s a great social distancing destination.

Blake Baggett (12th in 450SX points): Finishing my unfinished projects. The ranch keeps me busy 24/7. There are always things that need to be fixed or organized. I’m just using that extra time on the weekends to finish things I haven’t had the time for, or get started on new projects that need to be done. I’m currently working on moving the shop around to make room for my new gun safe. There are so many things that need to be finished around here it would take me a year of quarantine to finish it all.

Justin Cooper (2nd in 250 SX West points): Not much has changed because they were in the mix of running the east coast rounds of supercross. I was doing my training program every week and that is still going on now. Only thing that has changed is the no travel. We are finally starting to ride a little less because of [bike] parts being an issue due to companies being shut down right now. All this does is give us more off the bike training time. It’s given me more time to relax at home which is important with this virus being so crazy.

The McGrath family practices extreme social distancing. Photo Courtesy Jeremy McGrath
Where were you and what were you doing when you found out they cancelled Indianapolis? 

Dean Wilson: I was at home just back from riding and my friend, who is very close to the inside of supercross, told me it was cancelled. So I told everybody on my Instagram that it was cancelled. That was kind of funny because nobody really believed me but some people did and didn’t board their flights and it saved them a trip to Indy. It’s a shame but we saw it coming because the NBA and all other big sporting events were cancelled. I wasn’t surprised.

Adam Cianciarulo: I was talking to my friend Ken Roczen. He was supposed to fly out earlier in the day but he pushed his flight because we heard rumblings of it being postponed. I’m a big NBA follower and they pulled the Thunder and Jazz off the floor just before tipoff [March 11]. I was watching that game on the ESPN app because I actually had some money on it. The play by play on the app said “cancelled”. So when Indy was cancelled, it wasn’t a big surprise.

Justin Brayton: I was outside riding bikes with my kids and got the call. Unfortunately I wasn’t planning racing anyways due to my broken hand but it was really weird knowing a supercross race got cancelled.

Zach Osborne: I was just at home. I came back from California and I knew things were about to get crazy. I saw it on Instagram. Obviously, at first I was skeptical, but then I saw it on Racer X and knew it was legit.

Jeremy McGrath: I am not exactly sure where I was when I found out but when I did, it felt really really strange. I don’t recall if there has ever been a cancelled supercross. About the strangest thing I have ever experienced in racing was the night the lights went out in Vegas (1995). I can’t imagine being a racer during these times. It must be very strange.

Blake Baggett: Home at the ranch. I heard a rumor early in the day but really didn’t expect for it to actually happen.

Justin Cooper: I remember seeing it on Instagram the Thursday night before the race [March 12]. It was funny because my team had already boarded their flights. They had press day with Shane [Mcelrath] Friday. So it was quite crazy to see everyone fly there just to fly back when they got there. I was sitting on the couch in disbelief because I thought they would run the race with no fans.

One positive thing about the quarantine?

Dean Wilson: I’m going to be honest. I don’t have a lot of positive from this virus. I was in a good position picking up momentum mid-season, riders were getting injured and I wanted to get back on the box. Then this happened. So, I’m actually bummed but what do you do? It’s the same for everybody.

Adam Cianciarulo: I moved so just having the chance to do everything that comes with moving, like decorating and going furniture shopping with my girlfriend. I’m spending more time with the house than I would normally. The centerpiece of my purchases is the Cloud couch. I’ve wanted that couch since I was 15 or 16. It’s quite a bit of money but I spend a lot of time on the couch recovering after races and training. 

Justin Brayton: There’s been a lot of positives. For me, I’m at the tail end of my career so I’ve had a real look into what life would be like after racing. I’ve called and FaceTimed several friends I normally wouldn’t if I was racing cause the weeks just fly by during the season. And I really think everyone’s perspective of normal life is changing by the day. We’ll all have more appreciation for the simple things in life when/if we get back to normal, like food, hanging with friends, health, going out to dinner, racing, etc. We take a lot for granted. 

Zach Osborne: We are pretty simple. For my wife and kids it’s almost business as usual right now because they are very much home bodies. For me, it’s been good to just get to do stuff with the kids that I would have normally not been home to do. My son is starting to talk so it’s new words everyday and deciphering that has been fun.

Jeremy McGrath: It’s a tough deal with this situation. I am sad that this could even happen. I feel bad that in a matter of a few weeks, everyone’s lives can be turned upside down. I’m not sure there is a silver lining in this but if I had to say, it would be reconnecting with my wife and kids. Life has a way of getting very busy and it feels kind of nice to be forced to slow down, not watch the news. We’re playing cards, board games and doing puzzles together. It’s a bit stressful when you see the stock market tanking but family time has been fun.

Bake Baggett: More quality family time. We’re all three [wife, baby boy Braeker] always together.. always (laughs) but we’ve been able to take Braeker on the boat, spend more time at home, enjoying the property with the dogs.

Justin Cooper: One positive about the virus I would say is the traffic here in California. It’s pretty much on lockdown over here and you can definitely tell the difference in the mornings with the traffic. Oh and the gas prices dropped. [$2.59 per gallon average in Riverside, Calif.]

Worst part of the quarantine?

Dean Wilson: See answer above (laughs).

Adam Cianciarulo: Not being able to get out there and race. I was planning on returning at Seattle [from a broken collarbone]. They cancelled that race first, before Indy.

Justin Brayton: Worst part is people are legitimately suffering from sickness and layoffs. It affects people’s families big time. Pretty sad. Our local church, Elevation, has been a massive help in the Charlotte community.

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Zach Osborne: Just the uncertainty of the next few months. It’s a crazy time.

Jeremy McGrath: Being quarantined is really not that bad.

Blake Baggett: Missing out on racing. As much as I think we all enjoy having a break, it’s a weird change.

Justin Cooper: No racing for a while. I had a month off before it got shut down. I’m itching to get back to the races. But the health issues are far more important in these times.

Did you panic buy anything? And what item did you buy the most of?

Dean Wilson: No, we never panic bought anything. Just the usual. My fiancé stocked up but I don’t know why there is a big toilet paper crisis. It’s so weird but we are good on groceries.

Adam Cianciarulo: I didn’t panic on anything. When the world is panicking I get calmer for some reason. I stocked up on food and we already had plenty of toilet paper. 

Justin Brayton: No, not really. We just stocked up on more food than usual. Partly because we were actually gonna be home instead of traveling. We’re a little low on toilet paper so we’ll see how that goes if the stores aren’t restocked in the next couple weeks.

Zach Osborne: No, we didn’t. We just kind of did the normal grocery run. My wife bought some extra rice and beans just in case there is a major shortage but nothing else out of the ordinary.

Jeremy McGrath: We made a few trips to the grocery store but definitely didn’t panic buy. We are very lucky and rarely short on anything.

Blake Baggett: (Laughs) Well, Keleigh (wife) told me to go grab a bottle of Microban when I went to Home Depot… So I bought six.  Otherwise, I kept it minimal.

Justin Cooper: I didn’t panic one bit but the people that have panicked after hearing that there won’t be a shortage of anything has kind of annoyed me because the things I am low on, like paper products, I now can’t get. All these people hoarding these products for no reason is quite dramatic.

How many rolls of toilet paper are you down to?

Dean Wilson: Let me go check. [long pause]. We are at 4 in the clear!

Adam Cianciarulo: I think we have about 10 rolls left. We’re good. And I take a probiotic so it’s all clean. 

Justin Brayton: (laughs) We’ve got about a week or two left and then we’ll have to get creative.

Zach Osborne: I don’t know. We can use a 24 pack for, like, six months so I’m not concerned. Worst case, just hop in the shower.

Jeremy McGrath: We do Costco shopping, it’s really hard to be low on toilet paper when you shop at Costco!

Blake Baggett: Well, we stock up on paper goods normally, not just when we’re facing a pandemic. We live in the middle of nowhere so I’m thinking we probably have close to 20. We haven’t bought any since this whole thing went down, believe it or not.

Justin Cooper: Luckily I had a big bag of toilet paper, so I have quite a few rolls left. But definitely going to have to ration it until it’s back on the store shelves.

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