FMX pro and X Games Moto X competitor Mike Mason had a packed year filled with demo tours, multiple X Games stops and lots of training in between. Now that he has a little downtime, we checked in to see what the three-time X Games Moto X Speed & Style gold medalist does once the engines turn off and the lights go down.
For Mason, it means evening motocross sessions at Sandy Valley, his local track in Las Vegas, an occasional road bike ride -- depending on the scorching Las Vegas heat -- and plotting his next moves on the latest edition of the popular video game "Call of Duty."
When he's done handling his day-to-day work, his next form of entertainment is jamming out on guitar with his friends, filmer Dave Dawes and mechanic Cliff Campbell. Rocking out is a way of life in the Mason household. So much so, that the windows on Mason's house are soundproofed so the late-night jam sessions don't bother neighbors.
In the sport of motocross, timing is everything. Come out of the gate too early and you're stuck in the gate, take off too late and you miss the field. Taking the necessary time off when you can to recharge your batteries is key to lasting a whole season filled with endless travel, riding and competitions.
In 2014 Mason's schedule will again be packed solid with tours from the Nuclear Cowboyz and the second year of global X Games.
In between jam sessions and night rides, we spoke with Mason about the FMX season, taking time off and playing in the band.
XGames.com: How's life been for you post-X Games?
Mason: Post-X life has been good! I've taken a little bit of time off and just kind of relaxed and enjoyed what's left of summer. Still hitting the tracks a bit to keep in a little bit of shape, but not too much riding other than that.
How do you feel about being crashed into by Matt Buyten in Speed & Style quarterfinals at X Games L.A. this year?
Ah, man it was a bummer for sure. I worked really hard this summer and to have it all end in one lap sucked. But what can you do? It's been a month now and I'm just kind of trying to put it behind me. I'm more pissed about our tracks this year. They were pathetic. That's what I still lose sleep over.
Are you referring to the technicality of the Speed & Style tracks this year?
Yeah, there was no technicality this year (laughs).
I get Barcelona … Munich even, but L.A. we've always had awesome tracks, tracks that had some good lines on them but weren't too crazy to where someone could get hurt.
Watching the women and the adaptive riders getting to ride the same track as Chad Reed and the top pros was disheartening. Our track was just too basic and it made us look bad, I think.
What would you like to see them do different? I heard a lot of rumblings from everyone who rode Speed & Style when they saw the Moto X Racing track, they didn't understand why they couldn't have had the same track.
Yeah, exactly my point. That SX track was perfect, there were some technical sections and a decent little whoop section where riders could have got some separation in the speed portion.
I was so bummed on our track, I've raced my whole life and spent my whole summer preparing for what I thought would be a track I could gain an advantage on, and when I got there and saw the track, I just wanted to go home.
What typically fills your offseason before X Games?
I try and fill up the schedule with some overseas demos here and there, but I kind of enjoy the time off to be honest. With Nuclear Cowboyz running December to May that's a big part of my year, and then you add in X Games training, there's not a whole lot of time off.
I see you're still hitting the track riding laps quite a bit. You ever think about doing an Arenacross or a Supercross race?
Nah (laughs), I'm old and I know my place. Personally I feel like I'm riding the best I ever have but you put me on a gate with guys that actually do this day-in and day-out and I'd get my [butt] kicked. Nowadays it's more about me getting on my bike and getting some exercise.
Are you doing Nuclear Cowboyz in 2014?
Yep, I sure am. Can't wait. That's always the most fun part of my year.
Will any dates conflict with X Games (Mason missed X Games Foz do Iguaçu because of his N.C. tour commitment)?
I'm not sure, I haven't seen the X schedule. But I'm contracted with Cowboyz so I'll be locked into that no matter what.
What is Main Event, who's in it?
Main Event is our band, started by ex-Supercross racers Daniel and Vincent Blair. My mechanic Cliff Campbell plays bass. We all grew up racing together and once they formed the band I started playing guitar with Vince. Five years later it looks like we are getting the ball rolling. We've made some awesome contacts already and next summer we will be releasing a new EP, so things are looking good.
What kind of music do you guys play?
Ummm, it's hard to explain (laughs). We all have such a wide variety of taste in music that you kind of get a little bit of everything. One song could have Bullet For My Valentine influence and the next song could be Rise Against influence. We don't want to set ourselves into one genre, we kind of just play what we feel and that's what's awesome about it.
Do you plan on doing any shows for fun?
Oh, yeah, for sure. Next summer after X games we are going to start playing some local Northern California and Nevada shows to get our feet wet and then hopefully start expanding and playing some bigger gigs in the future.