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EMX Q&A With Carlen Gardner 805

Updated: Apr 12, 2018

You have had some great screen time on TV with your BWR Racing Honda. Howdo you feel like the season has gone thus far? What was the highlight of theseason so far? This season has been going very well! Of course it could always be a little better, but I am progressing each weekend and opening eyes which is what we are trying to accomplish. The highlight for me this season was making my first 450 main event at the Daytona Supercross. Not only for me, but for BWR, as well.

Photo Credit: Kyle Pesci

Competing with the big names has to be a really cool experience. How do you change gears from being a fan versus racing against them on the track?

I am definitely a fan for sure, don't get me wrong, but I try to keep the mindset of them just being a normal person just like me. So, it doesn't get in my head, but sometimes I do look back and realize how awesome it is to race with the biggest names in the industry. 

Speaking of the big name racers out there, how does your BWR Racing equipment stack up with what the big teams have? How much better is a full race bike than stock in the 450 class?

This question is always tough to answer, honestly. I have never ridden a factory level bike. So, I can't say how much better it is or not; you know? I am, however, fully convinced that my BWR bike builds by Brian are more than capable of putting me in the best position possible. My 2017 crf250 race bike for west coast this year was an awesome running machine and could go faster than I could take it. It was everything and more than I could have asked for as a privateer. In the 450 class you definitely don't need as much done as far as getting the most power possible. It's more fine tuning and getting it to be smooth and handle well on the track. Long story short, my BWR bikes will take me as far as I can take myself.

The tracks look pretty gnarly on TV! How does it feel to launch huge jumps that are full of ruts?

Terrifying! Does that sound about right? Haha. No, it's scary for sure, but when you're racing and your mind is on auto pilot, it just happens and you don't think to much about it at the time.

Seattle was a real crap fest as far as track conditions go. What do you do to the bike to get it ready for those conditions?

Seattle was fun! Are you kidding?! Haha. It was definitely an experience, and I didn't know how it was gonna go. For bike prep, though, there are little things you can do like putting foam in places and tape under the fenders to help quickly clean them and to run Evens engine coolant to prevent the engine from over heating.

Riding at the highest level is something most of us can only dream about, but most people don't realize the amount of work that goes into making it happen. What does your average week look like with training and riding?

An average week in between races is fly home Sunday, try to relax do a bit of bike work. Monday go ride and put in the proper motos you need to. Monday night is strength in the gym. Tuesdays depend on the weather, but typically bike work and a high heart rate workout in the gym. Wednesday ride again and do some corner work or sprint work depending on what I sucked at the most the past weekend. Thursday is hang out do something involving cardio. Then, drive to the airport and fly out Friday. Race Saturday. Then, start over.

Do you follow a specific diet or work with a nutrition specialist to make sure you are staying on track? Honestly, I don't do a whole lot. I try to stay away from dairy, white bread, lots of red meats, processed foods, and sweets. I don't always stick to it, but for the most part I try. Haha.

What type of training did you do to get ready for the season? I would imagine that testing and bike prep takes a lot of time to get it dialed in. Where did you train?

The pre-season training was an eye opener for me, but it was the biggest thing and best thing for me this season. Doing the laps I needed to and working speed was key. Staying on a routine of riding 3 to 4 times a week, and getting to ride with Adam Enticknap at Castillo ranch in motos was big for me; as well as doing long and hard workouts in the gym to push my days to the limits. I just needed to put in actual hard work to really progress as quickly as possible. Working with Brain and having my mechanic Chuck Fernquist on my side was huge for off season testing. Brian knows just about everything to set up a sweet Honda race bike. So, it was as much as following orders and my mechanic switching out parts to get me dialed in.

A lot of people don't think about recovering between races. What do you do to keep your mind and body fresh?

If we are talking about race day: the key is to just worry about riding and don't get stressed about bike stuff or results, really. You just need to worry about going on the track and executing what I need to do because I know Chuck and Brian have everything bike-wise covered for me. If we are talking about the weeks between the races: I just know what I need to do Monday through Thursday, and Friday is just hang out, relax and start thinking about how to go fast. Haha.

When it comes to riding fast, what are some pointers that us amateurs could use to get better? How do we get the confidence to "send it?"

It's as easy as twisting the throttle more! Hahaha. No, just keep practicing. Pay attention to the small things that you aren't doing properly, and break it down and figure out the right way to do it. Then, do it over and over until it's normal. That's how you progress and build. 

I would also like to give a huge shoutout to LTEC Underground Utilities here in California for basically making this year happen. Those guys over there are the reason I'm racing each weekend and getting to do a full Supercross season. Thank you to everyone who is apart of LTEC.

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