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Supplement to “Nicky Hayden, The Kentucky Kid”

These pilots of super bikes are fine-tuned athletes, conditioned both physically and mentally. It is their ability to mold their bodies into the bikes they are riding that almost makes these racing machines appear riderless when they scream down a straightaway.

All of the Hayden brothers from Owensboro fit into the category.

The physical fitness requirements of a world-class MotoGP racer are as demanding as any sport requiring strength and stamina.

“A typical race will last about 45 minutes or longer,” says Nicky Hayden. “It takes a lot of stamina to stay in control going in and out of the curves like I do.”

The training schedule for the Haydens is very specialized, highly demanding, and intense. It involves heart-rate monitoring, lactic-acid testing, improved nutrition, and lots of seat time on bicycles with a focus on improving strength and cardiovascular performance. Twenty- to 30-mile bike rides are routine.

Late in a race, a rider’s ability to have the controlled strength and stamina to lean in and out of curves and to maintain a good line on the straightaway often means the difference in making or not making a podium.

Personal trainers are the norm with world-class MotoGP racers. Nicky is no exception.

The stress placed on the body when steering one of these super bikes often takes its toll by causing injuries, not necessarily involving a wreck. It can happen due to just riding. Both Nicky and Roger have already had wrist surgery due to carpal tunnel. Over time, even at their young ages, the strain on the wrist and hand during road racing has indeed led to the syndrome.

At an earlier stage in his young career he had seen other riders, a little older than him, doing the drinking thing the night before with negative results on the track the next day. He decided he wasn’t going to fall into that trap.

To read the Kentucky Living June 2009 feature that goes along with this supplement, go to Nicky Hayden, The Kentucky Kid

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