Joined: Oct 2011
| Bryan Roper Interview – 100% MotoTrials|
Q: You spent a lot of time in Europe this year; what did you learn from riding over there?
A: I learned many things this past year riding in Europe. Consistency is probably the number one area where I need to improve for next year. Europeans are able to ride their best score the first time through the course and also repeat that score for the next two laps. This is a lot harder than it sounds because of all the different variables that occur during a trial. We have to deal with changing terrain, weather, fitness (thankfully the DA8 Training Facility keeps me in top shape though), time, hydration, and any else I missed. So when all these variables take place, the Europeans are able to adapt to the situation right on the spot and be able to clean the section every time. When I rode this year, I would only manage to get my best score 1 out of 3 tries. At the world round in Spain, if you combined my best score at each section, I would've had a 4 point loop. The winner that day had 13 points and I ended with 64. If I was consistent with that 4 point loop, I could've been in the mix for a win. I know this is a “shoulda, coulda, woulda” situation, but I look at these numbers to know that it is possible to win. Confidence is key!
Q: What is the big difference from the way the Europeans ride and the way we ride over here?
A: The Europeans ride with a lot more body. They maneuver themselves all over the bike to find traction and stay balanced. Also, with a different perspective with the question, all the top riders ride together and push each other to the next level. Here in the US, Pat is in Wisconsin, Andrew is in Pennsylvania, Daniel is in Oregon, Alex is in Florida, and I'm in Arizona. We are all over the place! The riders over there train together and I think that helps with their ability to reach a higher level so fast.
Q: Is there a big difference in the sections at the European events?
A: With the European events under the no-stop rule, the sections are completely different. Here in the US, there are a lot of set-ups we have to do before an obstacle and in Europe, we have more straight on approaches.
Q: Are the TdN sections a lot different from the World Round sections?
A: The TDN sections are easier than the world round sections. They do this for the countries that aren't as experienced. This year, Pat and I had straight cleans from sections 1 through 11 on both loops. Some of those sections my brother, Josh Roper, could've cleaned! They were that easy. Walking the sections the day before, I wondered how hard it would've been to switch the team to the red line because the first couple sections were super easy and didn't challenge us. Thankfully though, they made harder sections towards the end of the loop and gave us a challenge.
Q: You had to ride with the No-stop rules in Europe. Was it difficult to switch over to that after riding the old rules here at home?
A: I had been training no-stop leading up to the first world round in Corsica. So I was already accustomed and trained to the no-stop rules. However, after returning from Italy and going back to stop rules at the Pennsylvania National, I did have a hard time adjusting to the different style of riding. For example, during the no-stop rules, I take as much time riding in between obstacles. Under stop rules, everyone rushes to the setup so you have the maximum time available to complete the obstacle you just set up for. Definitely two different styles of riding and caught me by surprise how difficult it was to adapt to the stop rules. I like the no-stop rules because it makes the section all about the obstacles and not about the time.
Q: Do you riders in Europe like the no-stop rules?
A: For me, I'll ride whatever rules they put. I don't mind no-stop at all. I know a lot of the top riders loathe no-stop completely! I think what makes no-stop not favorable is the checking. Some checkers take the no-stop literally and others are more relaxed. So you have no idea what type of checker you're going to have on the first loop.
Q: Are you planning on going back to Europe in the near future?
A: Yes, Andrew Putt and I will be going back to Europe to compete in the 2015 series. We will being missing the Japan and Great Britian round due to conflicting schedules with the AMA series though. I'm very thankful for everyone that is supporting us for the world rounds. To be specific, I have to thank AIReS, McPfluger Racing, Ryan Young Products, Sherco USA, Zip Express, and Integrated Solutions, Inc., for making it possible. It takes a lot of time and money to do these rounds and I'm glad to be making it two years in a row of competing overseas. Should be a fun year ahead!
Q: The 2015 US MotoTrials schedule was announced recently. Break down each of the events and tell me what type of terrain each will have and what it will take to do well at each one.
A: The first stop is at Sid Mauldin's new place in Texas. Ray Peters is putting on the event so it will have dry, technical, and big obstacles. He's going to put a lot of variety into the event and I think that will spark good competition within the Pro class. To do well, you simply can't put your feet down! Haha! But really, it will be the start of the new season and nerves are usually a bit higher because everyone is wanting to do well for sponsors. So to do well, you have to treat this event as if it was during the middle of the season. The next stop is in my home state of Arizona. There was a national here in 2013 and so it will be the same. Dry and grippy rocks will be available for us to play on at this event, and I like dry and grippy rocks! In 2013, we had some very big obstacles that only a few Pros would make. I think to do well, you have make it up all the big obstacles every time. After Arizona, we have a break in the schedule and resume back up in Nebraska. I have never been here so I don't know what type of terrain they will offer. The following weekend will be in Ohio. This will be a more technical and slippery event. We had a round here back in 2012 and to do well, I will have to be the best one at finding traction. The last event for the series is in Wyoming and I have never been there either. Overall, to do well at every event, it will require focus and determination to fight for every point.
Q: You have been mixing EnduroCross with your MotoTrials schedule. Is it hard to compete in both?
A: Well, something you might not know, I stopped riding Endurocross! It was getting too hard to compete in both and get good results, and so I pulled the plug on Endurocross. I raced Vegas Endurocross this year and the next time I touched my bike was practice of X-Games, which was a month later. I was not in race shape and couldn't perform well because of the time off the bike. I wish I could do both but right now I am going to put 100% focus on MotoTrials for the next couple years. Eventually I'll make my way back to Endurocross.
Q: What are you goals for EnduroCross?
A: See question above.
Q: Do you think your trials background make you a better EnduroCross racer?
A: See two questions above.
Q: What was the toughest part of endurocross for you when you first started competing? (matrix? Jumps?)
A: Jumps! Being a trials rider, you don't have the jumping ability that a MX'er does.
Q: What type of advice would you give a young trials rider who is wanting to someday become a Pro rider?
A: My advice to a young trials rider is to ride with as many people that are just a notch above your level. Riding with them helps you try new things and figure out different techniques that can be used within a section. With the invitational teen camp at TTC every year, that is a great program that help develop young riders. It has really helped my riding over the past couple years. If you're not old enough for the camp, the Youth Nationals at TTC is a great place to meet new riders and have people your skill to ride with. When I was younger, those were some of the best times as a kid. Being able to ride with all my friends in one place and pushing each other to the next level creates memories I won't forget!
Q: In the past, your father has been your minder. Is it difficult working with your father?
A: It is not difficult working with my dad. He is the main guy who has got me to where I am today. I'm very thankful that we work well together because I know that is not always the case with a father/son team. He knows how I think and knows what to say at the right time, so it's very easy for us to work as a team and achieve the best possible result. I definitely couldn't of gotten this far without him! Although, he is getting older and at the world round in 2013, he had to pull out his glasses to fix a flat front tire on my bike! But other than that, I can't complain about him being old because he's able to beat me up if he wanted to! Haha!
Q: What type of terrain do you think you are best at?
A: I believe, coming from Arizona, that I have an advantage in the dry and grippy places. There are no slick spots here in the desert and so practicing on this stuff all the time gives me a little edge over the competition. If you look at the Spain world round, that place was dry and grippy. It also happened to be the place where I posted my best result. I don't think it was a coincidence because at that round, I felt comfortable on the terrain, unlike the previous rounds.
Q: What things are you best at and what are your weaknesses?
A: Reflecting on the 2014 season, I think one of my stronger abilities is the mental side of trials. During a trial, I am completely focused on the task at hand. A weakness I have is not riding with my legs. Being from grippy Arizona, you can be forward on the bike and still climb up obstacles because there is grip. When I go back east, it's almost a different style of riding I have to adapt to because my body has to be farther back to get traction. In simple terms, I can be lazy on the bike here in Arizona because of the grip. So working on using my legs more to create traction instead of my arms will be something I'll be fixing for 2015.
Q: How do you practice? Do you set up a super hard section and ride it until you clean it, or do you just concentrate on different obstacles? Give us an example of how you practice.
A: A typical practice session involves a little bit of everything. Sometimes there are lone rocks out in the desert and makes it impossible to create a legitimate section. So with obstacles like that, I usually just have fun with it and try to hit is as many ways possible. Other than that, I create super hard sections that are technical and big. Usually I ride it until I clean it. But of course, you always have those days where you practice some really hard rear tire lines for the camera. Doing stuff like that helps break up the constant section grind and keeps it fun for me.
Relentless hard on to remove the all day dab.