Todd DeHoop on injuries, the joy of riding motorcycles

And the wheels? Something that handles this badly shouldn’t be able to go this fast.
Yeah. I was also riding a 1970 CZ 250 with a downpipe, and you know before that there’s the step they had after the dogleg on the right, I was doing that on this 1970 CZ from the outside. And then after the start line you turn right then left and there’s a climb right there, I was doing that on this bike too. The guy I borrowed the bike from, he was freaking out because he thought, one, I was going to break it in half, and two, because they have a belly tube that goes under the bike and he was afraid that I was going to smash it. But I landed it perfectly on the downside every time! But the pipe was all loose and rattling when I came off the track both bikes [Laughs] but I said, “Hey, he stayed together!”

Have you always been a natural jumper? I mean, do you have a supercross title?
Yeah, I was always the first to jump everything, pretty much all the time. It was just one of those things, it was always fearless, without repercussions.

What still comes back to your injury is the thing that hurts you, but also the thing that pushes you to get better.
Yeah, it’s a double edged sword. That’s what defines you in the race is that you don’t care what happens to you for the reward. I mean it doesn’t matter to you, you look at it and you’re like, “Okay.”

Going off of that, I read an interview where you said, I mean you were obviously disappointed that you were injured, but you were more upset for your wife and daughters and how your injury affected their lives, compared to how it affected your own life because you were like, “Well, that was my mistake, but they didn’t sign up for that.” How has this affected their life?
One hundred percent. It was literally the first thing that came to mind, it wasn’t even what happened to me but what I was now going to put my wife… I mean, it was really emotional because that the perspective changes immediately, right away. It’s not like it took a long time to set in, for me it was immediate, I was in mental panic because I told myself that I didn’t care because I was putting myself in my shoes. All of a sudden you think, “I’ve put my wife and daughters in a position where they have to take care of me for the rest of my life. So now I’ve basically ruined their lives with my stupidity.

By doing something that, first of all, I shouldn’t be doing because I originally went there just to do the vintage thing and not ride the Ricky Carmichael thing [on modern bikes], but I was like, “Oh, I’m already here, shit, I’m bringing my 450.” I didn’t have to do that, I could have been more than happy just driving my ’86 250, but I didn’t. My wife told me, “You shouldn’t do this, you should just do what you came here to do. So yes, I have that against me too.

So whatever, the perspective for me is that this happens and then I have to put up with the fact that I put myself in this position and now they have to spend the rest of their lives taking care of me, and you know how to change my pee bag or whatever. You look at it and you think, “I can’t believe this.

So, the question of the day, where are you now? What are you doing and how are you coping with injuries?
So when it comes to injuries, I always tell everyone in my mind, in terms of functionality, I’m about 70-75 percent. I’m not normal… well I’ve never been normal. [Laughs] I’m limited on my right side, but my left side is good, my right side is slow and I don’t have a lot of strength, muscle movement and control, it’s not all there. But I move around as much as I can on a normal basis. I get tired when I try to do too much, and it will take me a few days to recover. Like, our mindset is just, go-go-go, do-do-do, and then our bodies are like, “Oh, you’re gonna pay.”

So I try to do as much as possible. Last weekend I probably backpack blew three quarters of an acre of leaves, stumbling around like an idiot, but I do. I always tell my neighbors, “I swear I’m not drunk!” because I always stumble. I never fall but I always stumble from the imbalance of trying to control 800 CFM of backpack blower blowing you. [Laughs] Looks like you’re drunk, but I swear you’re not!

So, just to try to make the most of it, and then for the job, I’m the regional road equipment manager for the retail stores. So that involves inventory control and hiring, all that comes with management, lots of emails and phone calls. Sales meetings with big clients… So I travel, have meetings and talk with clients. It suits me well because of my background, my diplomatic skills in dealing with sponsors, talking with people in the industry and talking with fans. For me, it’s easy to be involved with a lot of people because of my background in racing and always having to promote myself. And I think that has helped me enormously in what I do. So that’s what I do: try to promote the company and try to work with all my employees and try to make it easier for them. I try to be a good boss. My thing is that I try to manage with diplomacy and try to solve a problem, not create one.

About Todd Wurtsbach

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