A Sledders Life By Ryan Adrain.
I started my life behind bars when I was about 4 years old, riding in front of my dad on his Arctic Cat ZR 600 and was hooked for life. I eventually got my own sled which was a 1998 Skidoo MXZ 440 and spent many years on it trail riding with my family since we live in an area that has the best trails in the province. Then upgrading to a 2006 Skidoo rev 600, a few years after being on that I thought I’d give racing a try which quickly changed my lifestyle during the winter season.
My first race sled was a 2008 Arctic Cat snopro 600 that I bought used. I started racing the Manitoba circuit which only had 2 races that year due to lack of snow, so the next season we went south of the border to race the ISOC regional circuit starting out in the Amateur class where I started to progress quickly. This past season I progressed so much! Getting so much faster on the track and the results I wanted were finally coming in. I was running the new 2017 Arctic Cat snopro 600 EFI, I ended up winning the regional Pro 15+ championship and taking second overall in Pro Lite. Also competing in over half of the National Circuit traveling over 16 hours each way for one weekend of racing but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The people I’ve met at the track over the years that I’m lucky enough to call some of my best friends is also what made this sport so great. From breaking apart in your second heat to them coming over to wrench on your sled so you can have it done in time for the final just so you can race against them even though you’re fighting against them for the championship. I’ve never seen anything like it in any other sport and I love that about Snocross.
It has been a life dream of mine since I started riding sleds to get out into the mountains and ride like they do in Slednecks. Last winter I was finally able to make that happen heading out there in April after the race season was over for a spring trip. I was mind blown before we even got there just by the views since I’ve never been to the mountains before. Once we started riding on our first day I knew this is what I really wanted to do and would hopefully make it somewhere in the backcountry snowmobile industry. This winter I got out to BC over Christmas break where I was riding in the deepest snow I’ve ever seen in my life. I ended up bringing a 141, which was nowhere near enough sled for the snow and way too deep to get any good photos or filming in. A few friends and I got together and planned another April trip which It was the best trip of my life. I brought my 2017 race sled out there since it’s set up snow and perfect for building and hitting jump, and that’s exactly what we did! Built countless jumps and spent the week getting as much air miles in as possible. I already can’t wait for next season to come to get back out west and push my limits as far as they will go! Stretching jumps out even bigger and pushing my tree riding to another level as well. Also, with the soon to be purchase of an Arctic Cat M8 153 next year should be an epic one so stay tuned!
Along with the riding, I quickly realized you had to be in top physical shape to be able to progress, to push the limits riding you had to push yourself. I never really worked out much but in the last few years I started really getting into it. Cycling every day after work to build up and maintain cardio was the biggest help for me because I always found myself getting exhausted half way through a race and it caused me to slow down and lose positions. This year I ended up getting a personal trainer and that has helped so much with the extra drive and motivation. I highly recommend it to all!
Injuries, they have been a big part of my life also. With this sport being so dangerous it’s not if you’re going to get hurt, it’s when. Just over 3 years ago, I came up short on a double and landed with my left leg straight causing my knee to buckle and leg to fold completely backwards. I ended up completely tearing my ACL and LCL ending the last half of my Snocross season and my entire moto season. With 2 surgeries and 11 months off work, I was finally able to ride again after getting the all clear 2 weeks before the first race in the next Snocross season. It took a while to get back to where I was always being cautious of my knee and being worried to get hurt again. By the end of the season, I finally got it back and started to really progress from there. It really taught me how much of a head game racing/riding really was and that you needed full confidence in yourself and your machine at all times. The second you second guess your next move something bad is going to happen; so put all fear and worry aside when you strap on your helmet.
When it comes to this sport you are also only as good as your machine. When it has a bad day and breaks, well so do you. Sled prep is a huge part in this sport. I choose to run Arctic Cat snowmobiles because I love the feel of the chassis, they are strong and dependable. Regular maintenance is everything on all sleds, after every single race weekend I tear the sled down and go through every part of it to make sure nothing will fail on me the next time I ride. Therefore, I know I’ll finish that next race or get back home from a full day of riding in the mountains and not have to get towed home because of a mechanical failure that could have been prevented.
Now that summer is here I’ll pull out the bike and keep day dreaming about snow. Winter 2018 can’t come soon enough!