Seasons of Change

Wisconsin's Justin Hoyer is a Winter X Games Snowmobile Freestyle gold medalist, but like any top athlete, he aspires for more ... more dirt that is.

Sledheads Tes Sewell ESPN Action Sports
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Justin Hoyer put in an impressive performance last January, taking the gold medal in freestyle snowmobile at Winter X Games in Aspen. Shortly after, Hoyer and I were talking about the fact that he and Swedish rider Daniel Bodinwere both legitimate freestylers on dirt bikes too. He then revealed to me that his thoughts were to try and get into the summer version of freestyle, on tires instead of skis and a track.

After several weeks of trying, including a missed appointment at the Mexico City round of Red Bull X-Fighters, I finally tracked Mr. Hoyer down; coming in from his back yard after repairing a hose on his loader ...

ESPN: So what's happened to you since we last saw you win the gold medal in Aspen?

Hoyer: Since the X Games quite a bit has gone on. I was pretty burned out, but you know I was really happy that I won, but it was a lot of stress after that. Then I went directly on the Masters of Dirt tour and I had a little mishap and ended up breaking my arm and my collarbone. So it's been two months of kind of relaxing and working on my house. I kind of needed that and now I am all fired-up to be back, you know, start doing some freestyle moto.

How long do you think it will take you to get back to full strength?

I dunno, I'm thinking that by early June I should be back to where I was, If not better. As far as riding, physically I'm doing OK and I have already rode a little bit. You know, I've lost a lot of strength just from being dormant so long, but it's coming back day-by-day, so by the beginning of June I should be shredding pretty hard.

Is there anything you do in particular for your exercise routine? Anything that's pretty unique?

You know, not really. [laughs] As far as exercising and working out goes, I hate doing that stuff. I absolutely hate working out, but I realize that it's good for me to do, so I stick with the basics. Mainly I ride on the exercise bike just to keep my knees strong, for my joints. I've had both my knees reconstructed so I've got to keep them things strong and keep 'em tight.

Do you do any weird stretching or yoga, anything like that?

No, I don't do any yoga, but I do make sure to stretch out really well before. Everybody always says, "You should try yoga out" and all this stuff for flexibility, but I don't really know why I don't want to get into that. I just make sure to stretch out really well and it seems to help prevent injuries and keep me limber.

So you don't think it would be a good idea to do yoga and get to go into a room with girls in short shorts?

[laughs] Yeah, it probably would be, but I live out in the country so to go anywhere to get some quality girls with short shorts would probably be kind of a chore, so I just do my own thing.

Let's go back to Aspen [Winter X Games]. What do you think it was that set you apart from the rest of the guys this past year?

I think this year was just holding it together and putting down a solid run and not making many mistakes whereas a lot of people were just 'hail mary-ing' it and kind of making mistakes. I learned that in the past, that's not how you win. And this year too, I knew that doing stuff off the big ramps is going to be how you win. I'd seen that last year, I wasn't scoring as high not flipping the bigger ramps. I came this year to Aspen and I was thinking, "Now I really got to pull all the stops out. This is what I think would win", so I just did that and ended up doing well.

In the freestyle snowmobile world, who is your biggest competition and why?

You know, that's hard to say because each year it's so different and it's so new, but I think Joe Parsons has been really consistent and he has showed that he's got the mental focus to be up at the top. It's hard to count anybody out because no one has ever won twice. Each year it has been someone different, so everybody is really driven to win. For freestyle snocross, it's a newer sport and now that you can win gold medals people are working really hard at it and I think that shows in the progression over the last few years -- it has been really insane.

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