Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Nate Adams stumbled upon freestyle motocross as many others do, from motocross racing. Switching over to freestyle, Adams instantly found success in IFMA events and after only one year as a pro he was crowned the World Freestyle Motocross Champion in 2002. Today, Adams has become one of the best freestyle motocross riders in the world. His high level of technicality and difficulty with his tricks gives him the edge over nearly any other competing athlete. Amassing 19 X Games medals, winning five gold, Adams has become the most decorated FMX rider in the competition’s history.
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Chris Remmers: Let’s start of by describing Arizona’s scenery and what it was like growing up there? Where would you tell a first-time visitor to go to get a real sense of the state?
Nate Adams: It was great growing up there. I lived in a normal neighborhood, basically on the outskirts of the Glendale and Peoria area. We grew up pushing our bikes to the edge of the neighborhood, starting them up and pinning it through the desert. It was great, lots of wide open land for kids to [roam free]. I don’t think a lot of kids that grow up in the city are getting that these days. It was a great place to grow up.
© Ernest von Rosen
If I could tell anyone to go one place, I almost don’t even want to say it because I love it so much, it would be Northern Arizona by Flagstaff or Prescott. I’d say Prescott, because it has a little bit of everything the state has — high and low deserts, mountains, pine trees, good snow. It gets hot in the summer. It just encompasses the whole state in one small town.
CR: How was motocross first introduced into your life? When did you know you wanted to do it as a career? Did growing up in Arizona have any specific influence on you with it?
NA: There’s a good motocross scene in Arizona. My dad was still riding when I was a kid. I remember the dirt bikes in the garage. When you’re a little kid you’re interested when your dad rides dirt bikes; you want to ride dirt bikes too. When I was about eight we were going out into the desert a couple times a month, making our own turn tracks out there. We started getting a little older and were going to motocross tracks. By the time I was 15 I was head first in the whole freestyle scene, which is what I’m still doing now.
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There was just a lot of open area to ride there. My dad always loved riding, and he still does. Just last week him and my brother went on an Enduro Loop. I still ride with him a few times a year when I make it back to Arizona too. It’s just a great place to live, camp, be outdoors and ride. I love the state.
CR: It sounds like everything that I enjoy myself. Describe how special it is to travel the world competing in motocross, seeing all different people and cultures.
NA: It’s crazy. When I was young I wanted to be a dirt bike rider, because you want to ride. It’s just that love of the sport. It eventually took me all over the world. If you don’t leave and go someplace where you’re a complete outsider, you don’t know what that feels like. Someplace where you don’t know if you can drink the water, what the food is or how to speak the language. You are kind of at the mercy of the locals and the people that will be kind to you. It’s just the experience you get from that. I never would have thought my dirt bike would take me to Dubai or Egypt — places like that. It ended up being just that though, so I’m very grateful.
CR: Now, having done your fair share of traveling, is there a place in particular that sticks out to you? Has there been a place you’ve gone for motocross that’s left a lasting impression?
NA: Absolutely! Australia was great, the people too. Pretty much every city is a beach city, so there’s always perfect weather. I was young and single then, there were girls everywhere. They really love the motocross/freestyle scene, Canada as well. It’s just a beautiful place, especially by western Canada in the mountains by Alberta and Calgary. The people up there are so friendly. That whole country and the territory that they have is just so beautiful. Leaving the United States, I’d say Australia and Canada are my number one picks.
© Dave Bloggs
CR: Segwaying into more of a vacation sense, where are you looking to go if you have some downtime and are looking for a vacation? Are you looking for more of a beach-relaxation feel, exploring a city or something different all together?
NA: If I’m going with my wife she doesn’t like the outdoors. She likes the comforts, going to see a movie or going to dinner. We would be looking more at a city or where there’s activities to do outside like golfing or batting cages. If I’m going strictly me it’s outdoors. I really enjoy backpacking and archery hunting, so some place in the mountains — a challenging hike. I just like to get out and see some beautiful country that I’ve never seen before.
Actually, just thinking of that reminded me when I was in New Zealand in 2006. That’s the most beautiful place geographically I’ve ever been in my life. New Zealand is shockingly beautiful to the eye. It is crazy.
© Bernard Spragg
CR: What were some of the things you ran into that made it so beautiful and memorable there?
NA: We were riding a tour of two-to-four stops per week. They had us scheduled from the North Island traveling down to the southern tip of the South Island. We were just on busses and in vans the whole trip going through the mountains. It was in the rainy season, because everything was just green as green can get. I really didn’t even know something like that existed. When I was there I found out they filmed the “Lord of the Rings” movies there and it made sense. Long story short, if I’m looking for a vacation I want to be out and away from the city in the country. I want to be soaking up the wilderness.
CR: When you’re arriving in a new destination what are some of the first things you love to do?
NA: Really, it’s hope all my bags show up. If it’s a different time zone, catching up on my sleep. If I’m there for riding it’s just getting straight to business. If I’m there for vacation, it’s getting to the mountains or wherever I’m going [as soon as possible].
© Tom Bradnock
CR: Everyone has a list of places that they haven’t been to, but still want to hit. What are three destinations on yours? Why?
NA: I’ve kind of been everywhere I want to go. I would love to go back to New Zealand and spend more time there. I was working last time I was there, so I’d like to spend more time in the countryside. Maybe bring my archery equipment and get out on a big game hunt. I’d love to get back up to Canada and do some snow bike riding. Snow bikes are gaining a lot of popularity right now. A trip back to Australia to spend some time back on the beach with my family would be nice too. I have quite a few friends there, so we wouldn’t be alone. That would be a great vacation for us.
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CR: You said a few times that you’re into archery. When did you start that?
NA: I started about four years ago. This will be my fourth season for archery. Actually, I first went with my mechanic at the time. I had a bad shoulder injury and I wasn’t able to ride for another couple of months. He was heading up north where he was from in Idaho to go on an elk hunt. He invited me to go because I had nothing going on. So, I threw my gear in the truck, packed some clothes and went up there. A week later I was like, “This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.” So, ever since then. It’s funny, because I’m actually getting my bow tuned right now at the shop. I just stepped out of the shooting range. That’s literally what I’m doing right now.
CR: That’s funny! Lastly, what are the next couple of months looking like for you with motocross or travel plans?
NA: I just went on a backpacking hike for my 33rd birthday. That was a one-day, outdoors trip I did. I have a live action sports touring show called the Nitro Circus coming up. That’ll start in the next couple of months. I’m basically just training and getting all my tricks wired. It’s funny, because each rider is only riding about an hour a night, but we’re not landing on dirt, it’s metal and wood ramps. There’s less give. It’s kind of landing on concrete. It’s just hard as a rock.
You have to ride hard every night and sleep on a bus with 12 other dudes in bunk beds. Then you wake up the next day in another city to do it all over again. You really have to get into tour shape. So, I’m training doing my daily workout routine and getting ready for tour to start.
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