After dominating the first five races of the GNCC series XC2 Pro Lites class, things are starting to tighten up for Steward Bailey for the final few rounds. He’s still got a five point cushion on Jason Thomas and Andrew DeLong, but a broken wrist earlier in the season was recently re-broken while working on his comeback at an Enduro race. Known to endure one of the most rigorous training programs in the sport, Baylor is now focused on building his body strong enough to handle the pain for the remaining rounds. Read on as Baylor takes us through his season, the injury, his training program and what it means to be part of Team USA for the ISDE.
You were untouchable the first five rounds of the season, then things sort of stopped going your way, can you take us through your season so far?
I started off the year and, well, I wasn’t necessarily the best rider in my class but I was in the best shape. Then as time went on those guys started realizing what was going on and they were getting closer and closer until they started running with me. I went on to win the first five races. My goal was to sweep it but whenever Indiana rolled around things kind of got off track. Andrew and I were in contention for the overall on the last lap and the reeds went out on my bike. I got back up once we got the bike running and I had to make it to the finish, just kind of limp it in. I really wasn’t riding hard, I knew what I had to do. I wasn’t gaining or losing any time on the last lap after a 25-minute pit stop in the woods. I don’t really know what happened. I hit the ground and knocked myself out, broke my wrist and hurt my shoulder a little bit.
How has everything been going since the injury in Indiana?
It’s just been going through he recovery process. At the last Enduro I got my speed back but now we’re running into a thing where I think I pushed it too hard too early. I was only on the bike two weeks after surgery. Everything was still weak and actually still is. It’s the navicular bone, which is the slowest growing bone in your body so it’s a bad one to break. My strength is there but whenever I do certain things it gets to a point where it hurts me so bad I can’t use it. Last week I actually found out that I re-broke it. The bottom side of the bone is actually broke off. I’m guessing it happened at the Enduro.
In this situation, do you feel it is important to stay aggressive and let it all hang out or sit back, stay consistent and let the other guy make the mistake? You’ve got a five point cushion but you don't have a lot of room for mistake.
Well I know for a fact Unadilla’s not going to be my track to shine really. We’re not going to risk anything there. Then we’re heading out for ISDE the day after. Unadilla’s not the place to throw it away for me. I’ve still got a five point cushion and Andrew’s got a big advantage there because of the 4-Stroke traction at Unadilla. I kind of know my place and I know where I need to be and I know what I need to do. Right now for the next race I know I can win but I’m just going to see how it goes on the first lap and go from there. I’m going to show them everything I’ve got till the end. After the last Enduro I think everyone knows I’ve got my speed back. Now it’s just getting everybody scared again and making sure they know I’m on the radar again.
And you’ll be doing the ISDE as well. What are you feelings on that?
Yeah, we’re leaving out the day after Unadilla. I know my speed is definitely better than most of the guys. But it’s six days and it’s not about me, it’s about the team. I’m going to play it safe. I’m not paid to go there and I can’t risk my career in GNCC and National Enduro just for one Six Days race. It’s definitely important that I do well and it’s an important race for everybody, but for me it’s not top on the list. It’s just another race. I’m just going to play it cool. It’s a privilege to be there but I can’t throw it all away for the series that I need to focus on here.
You’re known for having kind of a different training regime than most. Take me through your program and explain how it’s helped you get to where you are today.
My training is a little bit different. I know a lot of people just go out and road bike and whatever it may be and I do a lot more short sprints. I like to get my heart rate up and down and work on a lot more power. I do more weights. I do more with the thick, heavy-duty rubber bands and kettle bells, stuff for explosive power rather than endurance. I still get the endurance stuff in, it’s just not the most important part of my training. It’s a little bit different than other guys but it works for me. It may not work for others but it seems to have worked for the last couple of years and I think it’s important to stick with what you know.
Good deal Thanks for the sit down and good luck at the remaining GNCCs and the ISDE.
Thanks. I’ll do my best.