In the sport of FMX, it can be difficult to move beyond the spectrum of competitions into freeriding. But for some riders, such as Ronnie Renner, moving into the realm of freeriding is a way to breath new life into the day-in-day-out business of FMX competitions. For Renner, riding in the hills has always been an integral part of his riding, and in the new year, Fox Racing took a special interest in Renner's freeriding path. It wasn't an easy decision to leave longtime sponsor Troy Lee Designs, but as Renner put it, "it's been a big contributor to a kind of second wind for my career." Recently, we checked in with Renner to discuss the switch and how Fox is getting behind his freeride efforts.
ESPN.com: What has Ronnie been up to lately?
Renner: I've been really putting a lot more effort into my entire program, which focuses primarily on freeriding and X Games step up. This year I've decided to add Loretta Lynn's Amateur National to my to-do list since I turn 35 this year and am eligible for the +35 class. I'm having a killer time prepping and simply applying myself better than I ever have. I even have a trainer and I am doing crossfit at Crossfit Inland Valley! I'm feeling awesome. Oh yeah, trying to get my golf game better as well. Golf has been taking good care of me and I love the challenge of that sport.
You recently made the switch from Troy Lee Racing to Fox, how did that all come about?
Not an easy topic to speak about, but it's all good with Troy Lee and I. I guess it was just time for a change. I'm stoked that Fox took a strong interest in my freeriding program and brought me on. It's been a breath of fresh air and has been a big contributor to a kind of second wind for my career. We have some awesome stuff in the works. The meeting with Troy was a very tough one for me. Troy and I are still buds and hold high respect for each other.
Do you think your whips are going to be bigger since you're in Fox gear now?
Like I say, sometimes a second wind will blow some houses down. I'm super motivated to get my riding up to a higher level. It would be nice to get the old RR whip back to vert!
Did you know that when you wear Fox gear you usually get an extra point for style?
That's cool, but I think your biased Douglas, I don't like judged sports, and three, you can't surpass a perfect 10! I am extremely happy with the brand and the product though. They have an awesome platform. Best of the best.
You've had two successful years of the Ronnie Renner Tour are you planning on doing it again this year?
Yes sir. We are launching a totally different program than the previous years. Almost a looser version of the "Great Ride Open." We will be on the road for two weeks, going spot to spot. It will be called "The Road to X-Fighters." All about taking FMX back to its roots -- freeriding!
What locations are you going to?
Ocotillo Wells, Superstition, Glamis, Dumont, Sand Hollow, Coral Pink, Little Sahara
What does freeriding mean to you?
You would think I'd have a great answer for that, but it's complicated. Freeriding is just the type of riding and lifestyle where it all clicks in my life. It's where I can put my favorite parts of riding into one package. Creativity, big air, breathtaking locations/scenery, campfires, travel -- it just brings out the best in my soul. Freeriding has definitely changed my life and outlook on riding motorcycles.
At this point in your career do you find it more enjoyable now that you are "semi-retired" as you put it?
Semi-retired is a loose term. I seriously just do things at my pace and always make sure I'm doing things that love to do. I just do what I want, stay busy and give whatever I do a full effort. I definitely take it too easy (no big rolls of the dice) when I race. That's something I need to fix before the Lorreta Lynn race!
The transition back to the real world will not be easy for any of us.
Do you think it's time that we as riders can make a living past doing just contests?
I think FMX is a tad too small for us vets to make a full living with FMX judging or even TV. I wish I had a better answer, but there just doesn't seem to be a lot of gigs happening in our world. The transition back to the real world will not be easy for any of us. We all had it pretty good for a few years. But you know, that's life and it's up to us as individuals to make a good transition. I don't want to live in the past anyways.
In a perfect world how would you have it?
I could make a novel with this topic, so with that said I'll just keep it lighthearted and say "Moto, all day every day back and forth to all types of riding." I'd be able to bring my family with me everywhere and just explore this world. Ok, wake me up! Definitely too good to be true.