Pat Smage - Rider Profile and Interview
Posted by on
Hometown: Elkhorn, WI
Local Club: WOTA
Years Riding Trials: 16
Bike: Sherco 300cc
How was your 2016 season?
2016 was a tough year for me, mostly mentally. I felt like I was riding well in the off season and was ready to put down a solid year. I knew Andrew was going to be good and the other riders seemed to be getting closer and closer.
Then when I heard Marc Freixa was coming over I basically felt beat, like I had no chance. I watched Marc back when he was competing in world rounds and he was one of my favorites. I knew what he could do on a bike and felt I was not on that level.
Of course, I still had to try to win, and tried my best to do so. I always try to focus on my own riding to keep from letting other riders get in my head, but that was tough to do with a World Round winner to compete against! I felt lucky to score a couple wins in the early rounds, but figured the toughest was yet to come. Having my first completely clean national in Tennessee was cool, but having to race him to the finish was not fun! That was a whole different kind of pressure. Thanks to everyone that let me by to save time, sorry if I cut you off on the loop!
Oregon was where the difference really showed. The sections were much more difficult than previous rounds and he really set himself apart. I had a feeling it was going to be a long weekend after falling in about every hole the practice area had to offer. I just could not get comfortable or confident in the slippery creek sections and huge wet logs while Marc was on point.
I really wanted to have a solid finish to the series in Colorado. It is usually one of my favorite states to ride. After struggling with a couple sections on Saturday and taking five 5's, I had my worst finish of the year in 3rd. Congrats to Andrew on beating me that day, took him long enough! Sunday came along and I really wanted to end the series on a good note. Everything was going well, things were flowing right up to the last section. I didn't know this at the time but all I needed to do was make it through with a 3 or better. I had a feeling it was close, but not that close! It also happened to be the scariest section of the year in my opinion. I went for the clean and ended up taking a 5, missing out on the win by a couple points. It was not how anyone wants to end the year. Time to turn things around and have some fun in 2017!
What did you do on your off season?
I stayed busy with a lot of different things. Right after the Nationals I went to work getting a rental house ready for my girlfriend Hannah and I to move into. That took quite a bit of time and effort but has been nice to live right across the street from where we ride. Living with Hannah isn't so bad either, haha. We were also lucky enough to borrow a 125cc Sherco from RYP for her to ride. She hasn't ridden MotoTrials in a very long time so it has been a lot of fun to reintroduce her to it. That bike is also for sale if anyone is looking for a solid 2016 Sherco 125!
My brother Phil and I had a lot of riding shows. Besides our normal show with our trailer full of obstacles, we also provided intermission entertainment at select rounds of the Nitro Arenacross Series around the Midwest. Learning to backflip is paying off! We also put on a riding school in central WI at his place called Smagical Adventure Retreat. Hopefully we will have more in the future so keep your eyes open!
My dad holds local WOTA events at his cabin and was trials master for another event, so I made it to those. I hadn't ridden a local in a while so it fun to come back. We had 7 Smage's competing over the course of those few events! Besides myself and Phil, my dad rode as well as our brother David, his son and daughter, plus our cousin Austin! It was a nice reminder how much of a family sport trials really is.
Other than that and normal riding, I have been running the company KillerShot for my second year, which has been a huge learning experience. I branched out from my normal video edits to give wedding videography a try. It was a huge challenge but the bride was happy! I made it to a couple mountain bike races and had some fun there. I also put on an RC Crawler event at my house. RC crawling is actually a lot like trials, its all about picking good lines and finding traction. It is something anyone can do, the guy that won needed a cane to walk the course! It went way better than expected and I already have 2 events planned for 2017.
What are your goals for 2017?
My goals are simple; have fun and learn something. There is always something to learn in trials no matter what level you are on. Progression is what keeps us coming back for more. I hear Marc is coming back this year, so hopefully, if nothing else, I can learn something from him. Last year I rarely saw him ride and didn't take advantage of his knowledge like I'm sure some others did.
Other than that, I'm looking forward to a fun year. Sometimes I lose sight of why I ride, because it's fun! Trials is an awesome sport and being able to travel the country to ride and compete is pretty special. It shouldn't be taken for granted and I plan to make the most of it.
Stay tuned next month for an interview with Andrew Putt. Be sure to share and subscribe if you like our content!
Subscribe to our newsletter here: https://forms.soundest.net/signup/v1/57a8e1dc4d9e021021f38c5b.html