Steve Hatch Riding Tip – ISDE Organization

November 25, 2008
The International Six Day Enduro is finished for 2008, the riders have returned and normal racing schedules have commenced. However, don’t think for a minute that the US World Trophy and Jr. World Trophy teams aren’t already thinking about the 2009 competition. If you or one of your riding buddies is considering making the voyage to Portugal next year, or even to the qualifiers, check out some of the tips from former six-time ISDE gold medalist, Steve Hatch. He has plenty of experience with this format in his eight appearances (Top American, Jr. World Trophy win, 3rd OA Jr. Team twice, 3rd OA Trophy Team in Finland and one broken foot), and has learned plenty about how organizing your program off the bike will transfer to succes on the marked course. More information about Steve’s ISDE approach and other professional knowledge can be found on his website,

Prepare to Win

ISDE helmets
The helmets from Steve’s eight ISDE appearances grace his home as some of his most revered trophies. Note all the medals – six gold, one silver.

After 25 years of riding and racing my dirt bike around the world I have come up with a formula that helps to make each ride or race more organized. The name of the game is preparation. Early in my career, I used to go to a race and would intentionally wait until the last minute to build my goggles as to keep my mind from being nervous about the race. But one of my best friends, long-time teammate and brother-in-law, Rodney Smith, taught me that being prepared was 10% of winning. Once I learned this, I used it to help me become more organized and ready, in turn this made me more confident and successful.

For a weekend’s race, I would make sure to have a checklist and have everything ready and packed by Wednesday. I also would make sure to have everything ready the night before with all of my practice stuff (bike, gear, gas, tools, hydration and nutrition and spares). By having everything ready it allowed me to have fun practicing or racing instead of wondering what I had forgot. I even kept a spare bag in my truck that had a full set of spare gear in case I, or one of my friends, forgot to throw in goggles or socks, etc.

This leads me to the discussion of the International Six Day Enduro (ISDE). Since the riders are back from Greece with an awesome podium finish for the Trophy and Women’s team, I wanted to discuss what the riders go through during the event. I have been blessed to have done eight of these events, and each one teaches a ton about travel and the different countries. I have a list for my riders at that helps ensure as much of the homework is done prior to arriving at the Six Day event as possible.

Steve’s ISDE Inside Secrets

GOAL: Make event as easy a possible on you.

1. Make a list so someone can help you do things during the event. Example: get goggle bags and bring them to the hotel room each night and refill them and take them back down to room that goes to each checkpoint.

Typically, a fully prepped goggle bag should be available at each check point, and should include: Spare gloves, goggles, two roll-offs, energy bars, Aspirin, athletic tape, and anything else you specifically need, or think you may need, at a checkpoint 

The winning Jr Tropy Team from Czechoslovakia 1991-left to right  Jimmy Lewis  Chris Smith  Me  and David Rhodes
The winning Jr. Tropy Team from Czechoslovakia 1991. Left to right: Jimmy Lewis, Chris Smith, Steve Hatch, and David Rhodes.

2. I always laid out all my gear in piles for each day. Each pile would include socks, spandex pant, riding pants and a jersey for each day

This will help eliminate extra stress each morning and make forgetting something less likely once you get physically and mentally fatigued as the week progresses. For Day 6 I would put in extra pants and jersey just so I felt good for the final moto if I had gotten my original gear dirty that morning getting to the final moto.

3. I would pack a lot of energy bars and snacks that you like to eat, then if you wake up in the night and are hungry you can give your body the nutrients it needs.

4. Scheduling
6 a.m. – Breakfast
6:30 – Leave for Parc Ferme
7:15 – Arrive at Parc Ferme, look at scores previous day
7:45 – Get ready to head to impound and have all things ready for what you want to do to your bike
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Race and make a list of what needs to be done to the bike the next morning so you don’t forget
4:30 – Eat snack, go walk next day’s tests, drive back to hotel, clean gear needed for next day immediately, boots, helmet, chest protector, fanny pack (if you can rotate these with spare boots and chest protector every other day helps). All dirty clothes that you are not going to use again put in one place in a garbage bag each day
5:30 – 6:30 – Nap
6:30 – Shower and go to dinner
8 p.m. – In bed set alarm for 6 a.m.

ISDE start - Japan 1997
You spend countless hours prepping your bike, body and mind, but it can be the little details that make a race weekend podium worthy.

Imagine the calmness you will feel by having an exact plan on each and every day. It will help calm the mind and give you extra confidence that you are ready and organized. Having someone to help is important. Make sure your helper knows the program and the times so you don’t even have to stress about what time it is. They can wake you from a nap and every morning. PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS!

5. Special Tests – Visualize exploding off the start in perfect form and hitting the first three corners fast and perfectly. Take three deep breaths prior to the start of each test, if you mess up a corner or crash, get up and try to slow down a little just to get through the next two turns smoothly, this will help get you back into the zone and flowing again. Think ahead, pick good lines and just flow and ride loose on the bike.

I hope this helps! Trust the process and be prepared for every situation. If an issue arises (crash, sick, got lost, ect..) do the best you can in the situation and then move on.

And always remember to have a blast! How cool is it to represent your country and experience such fun in life?! We are so blessed to do what we love! Have fun and go after the gold!

Full Rage Mode!
Steve Hatch