Carl Decker – I Ride - Dirt Rider Magazine

_Pro mountain biker in XC, STXC, Super D, Marathon XC; 2007, 2008 Super D National Series Champion; 2005 U.S. National Road Champion; three-time Singlespeed National Champion; Giant Bicycles factory rider. 35 years old.

I had to wait 'til I was into college before I got into riding since my parents wouldn't let me get a motorcycle. I dreamt about motorcycles more than girls, so I decided to make my dreams come true and I bought a dirt bike.I got a Kawasaki KX500 as my first bike from some guy in a Wal-Mart parking lot who was selling it for $400 cash. It never ran right. Third gear was gone, so I tore it apart and replaced some shift forks. It was a major mechanical adventure, and it still didn't have third gear.I must have had an affinity for Kawasakis. It might have started when I was little with a poster I had with Ponch and Jon from the "CHiPs" TV series that said, "Let the good times roll." They were on dirt bikes in the poster, and it stuck with me. After the KX500 I had some KLXs.On my mountain bike I'm at 1/2 horsepower, and I'm limited by how long I can push the pedals. On the motorcycle I can be going quick and learn about brakes and speed. No matter how I train I try to push hard and be consistent. I feel like I ride my mountain bike like I ride my motorcycle. It isn't as consistent as it could be. That's why I ride a lot of road biking.For cross-country mountain bike racing we are now training like road bike athletes, but you need more bike skills and core strength, and the motorcycle helps with that.A lot of the stuff I do, from the bike racing to skiing to rally cars, is all about lines.Twenty miles on a motorcycle is about as hard as 20 miles on a mountain bike for me. Fifty miles on the dirt bike and I need a bubble bath. But if I'm fit, 100 miles on a road bike is nothing. I'm fine.I'm what we call a "weight weenie" in the bike world. I won't carry water bottles because of their weight, and I can feel the difference. It is about $1,000 a pound to lose weight in the mountain bike world, and I want the lightest things I can get. I think that is why I'm riding a 250F now.Rally racing is my other thing. I'm pretty addicted to it. I did more races this year to get an invite to the X Games. The plan worked!Motorcycles are a really good training tool, but there is the "green" component with cycling, and sometimes dirt bikes get a bad rap even though we often like the same trails. I'm racing rally cars so I see it from all sides.