“I love the adrenaline rush,” she said.
Senior accounting major Addison Clouse is a student at the University of Indianapolis student, but also a motocross champion. Clouse described the feeling when she is on her bike during a race as one of high energy that she thrives on.
“I’m a really competitive person,” she said. “Riding is fun, but when I’m just out riding around, it’s not the same as being in a race and getting that rush that you feel when you’re in line with twenty other guys and you are getting ready to go into the first turn. It’s just crazy.”
Motorsports racing is inherently dangerous due to a high risk of injuries, so riders should ride with the proper medical insurance and at own risk, according to americanmotorcyclist.com. The article states that the riders should dress for the crash and not for the race and that crashes are inevitable, so the more safety gear that the rider has on, the better.
“I think about it [the danger] a lot, probably more than I should. I mean, it’s kind of always in the back of your mind that something could happen every time you put the helmet on. But when you do put the helmet on, and you go out there and you line up, you just have to push that out of your mind and do the best that you can,” Clouse said. “I’ve seen first-hand people getting paralyzed in a crash and you think, ‘That could be me. That could have been me.’ So if you’re going to keep doing this, you kind of have to push that out of your mind or you won’t be able to take it seriously.”
Clouse’s father was interested in motocross in the 1980s. He got Clouse her first bike at age four. Clouse and her father would ride around for fun; only a few years ago did the hobby become competitive.
“From the time I was four until fifteen, we [my father and I] would just go riding. Maybe once or twice a year, we would go to a track and it would just be [me] following my dad around and kind of riding over everything,” said Clouse. “Then four or five years ago, we saw up north they were having a women’s championship race at a track. And so we decided to go up there, and I actually ended up leading the race, but I got passed in the last turn, so I got second. It kind of clicked and I really liked it, to be competitive. Then I decided I wanted to race more and do it competitively.”
According to Clouse, the sport is very male-dominated. She said that there is a women’s only motocross class. Clouse occasionally competes in this class, but also is a part of a second class with male participants called the ‘College Boy Class.’
She said there are challenges that come with being a woman, but also many of the male participants are on a different level since they only focus on motocross and do not attend school. Clouse explained that this was a disadvantage for her since she has to balance school and motocross.
“It’s really hard, because I’ll try and make a schedule at the beginning of the week and set aside hours and then it’s like, ‘Oh I have a paper due tomorrow so I can’t do that workout,’” said Clouse. “You’re kind of cutting yourself short. I hate doing that. I hate cutting it out, but in my mind, school always has to come first…. It really takes away, and it’s hard to balance sometimes.”
When it comes to preparing for races, she discussed how other racers have race tracks in their backyards to make it easier to practice at any point. She lives in Indianapolis, so she does not have a track in her backyard and the closest track is about an hour and a half away from her apartment. Clouse said she occasionally rides for fun, but mostly only rides on race weekends. Because of this, she has to prepare in other ways for this sport.
“ESPN has called it the most physically demanding sport; I do know that. If you just count the number of times in one lap that you have to stand up and sit down on the bike and just all of the movements you have to do,” said Clouse.
Assistant Director of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Marketing Kirk Bryans first met Clouse when she visited the Professional Edge Center to work on her resume. When Bryans asked whether Clouse possessed any qualities that would make her stand out, she mentioned her motocross racing.
“I found it fascinating that Addison was so humble about all of her achievements both in the classroom as well as on the track,” Bryans said. “Her motocross showed that she was competitive and successful at the highest level of her sport.”
Clouse said she used to be a softball player, so during her first years in racing, she could not fully commit her time. She would only do half-seasons, so she felt behind at times.
It was not until last year that Clouse fully committed to the sport and trained full-time. This year she ended up winning eight championships, but was halted by an injury.
“I decided to take the first half of the year off, because I had an internship and school was really demanding. So I was just going to come in a the end of the year and defend my state championship because that meant the most to me,” said Clouse. “It was the night before state. I was leading a race, passed a lapper and he got out of control and ended up on top of me. I don’t remember it all. I’ve just been told what happened. I’m in physical therapy now for my shoulder and my knee so hopefully [I] can get that all healed up and get back at it. It was really disappointing because I have nothing to show for this year. It [the season] runs from about April through October. I don’t know how long physical therapy is going to take, but hopefully I will be able to get back in the gym and hit it hard before the [next] season starts.”
Clouse compared motocross to other team sports and the skills those sports present that can be applied to other aspects of life, such as teamwork and independence.
“It’s more of an individual sport because you are out there, but you have a whole team behind you. The pros, they have endless amounts of guys on their teams, but [for me] it’s still my dad. He does most of my bike work for me. So if he doesn’t tighten a bolt, I’m not going to finish the race,” Clouse said. “You definitely have to rely on people, but I think at the end of the day, it’s all on you. If you don’t perform well or you’re having a bad day, if you miss a line and crash, it’s on you. So I think the accountability is really there that you have to take responsibility for your training and you really have to take it seriously,”
With graduation coming in December for Clouse, she has been thinking about what it is that she will focus on in next phase of her life and the sport of motocross. Clouse said that although she will focus on finding a career first, she hopes she will be able to return to motocross and continue doing it once she stabilizes her postgraduate life.
“I don’t know how quick I will get into it [motocross] next year because I want to make sure that I have a job and that I am set in place,” Clouse said. “I do want to get back into it. I would really like to go to nationals some day.”
Whatever the future holds for Clouse, she will be able to apply the skills and lessons in time management she has learned from balancing personal and academic lies with motocross