Earlier in the year, we caught up with Alex Ray to talk about his training program with Davi Millsaps. At the time, the program was in it’s earlier stages while Ray competed in the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and Millsaps recovered from injury. Now into the offseason, the two are working closer together than ever, as Ray hopes to secure a solid ride for 2018 and Millsaps has just locked in a deal with Monster Energy/Yamalube/Chaparral/Yamaha Financial Services/Yamaha. During the Premix 2 shoot with Davi, we had the chance to catch up with both riders to talk about training together and Millsaps’ new ride, and not surprisingly, there were some good laughs mixed in as well.
Alex, you've been training with Davi Millsaps for a little while now, how has that been going for you?
Alex: It's been going great.
Davi: Yeah, that's a good answer, "It's going great!" I'm just kidding, finish your answer.
Alex: [Laughs] My fitness has probably tripled, wouldn't you say?
Davi: That's putting it on the low-end.
Alex: Okay, well we'll say quadrupled. I've lost a lot of weight. I'm not big chunky no more!
Davi: I don't have to push him up hills on a road bike anymore either.
Alex: Yeah, he doesn't have to push me, I can actually get up on my own now. I have a little way to go before I can beat him on a road bike, but it's coming.
Alex: Well whether he likes it or not, it's coming.
Obviously, you guys have been doing some fairly long rides on the bikes. What would you say has been the hardest one?
Alex: Oh, the hardest one, I'm actually wearing the shirt from it right now. It was the Leadville Silver Rush 50. I didn't do the 100, but I did the 50. It was a mountain bike race that we did in Colorado and it was at high elevation. I had lack of nutrition beforehand and started cramping at mile 12. I had to walk up a five-mile climb for about two hours because my legs were cramping so bad. I had a couple of come-to Jesus moments with myself. It was good, but it sucked at the same time. We're just trying to better ourselves and get that mental strength up because that's where it's at.
When we first talked awhile back, you were working more on your own with advice from Davi. Are you training a lot closer together now in the offseason?
Alex: Yeah everything is a lot closer now. He's on the bike and we've gotten to do a few motos together. We've been on the bicycles a lot here lately, so that's been going really good.
With you Davi, the big news this week was the factory ride with Yamaha. How did that deal come together for you?
Davi: They called me and asked if I wanted to ride for them.
Alex: Simple as that, huh?
You've previously ridden Yamaha's with JGRMX in the past-
Davi: Well, I've ridden every bike now [laughs]. Except for the Husqvarna, I've ridden every bike.
It is a new bike this year, and this will be new personnel as far as riding a Yamaha goes, what are your thoughts on that?
Davi: For me, we can be honest and pretty much say that this is more than likely my retirement year. It's more, more than likely [laughs]. It's more so just about going out and giving it all that I have for one last go. It'll be less than a year of sacrifice, less than a year of giving it everything I have, and that includes outdoors. Everyone gets on my case about missing outdoors all of the time. It's not that I want to. I mean yeah, I have a boat in Havasu and I like to go on it, but it's more the fact that when I am injured, for me and what I do, there's a lot more money in Supercross than in motocross. If we could sacrifice one or the other, I'll give up outdoors and push through Supercross. I'd like to do the full season and next year that's my goal. It's cool for me to be number 18, on a 2018 bike, in the year 2018, and to retire in 2018. There's a lot of 18s going on. I'm looking forward to that and seeing what I can do with the new team. They're all great. I haven't been on the bike that long. We're going into Monster Energy Cup basically to shake down and do the best we can do. I haven't had a lot of time on the bike like I said, nor am I near in good enough shape to compete for the win, but you never know what can happen and I'm going there to give it what I got.
Have you been able to share any advice with Alex at all?
Davi: Well, he's still on his 2017 bike at the moment so that doesn't work. Really, it's been just trying to get him in shape.
Alex: I've come a long way [laughs].
Davi: We're trying to keep his bike together and keep him healthy, all of that good stuff. I'm having fun with it. I enjoy hanging out with him and I enjoy helping him. He's come a long way for sure. I try to give back when I can. I'm not asking for anything in return other than don't be lazy.
Looking beyond 2018, do you think you'll continue training and working with riders?
So, it's looking pretty wide open right now?
Davi: It's just really hard to do that and live where I'd like to live. It's too far of a commute.
Alex: Lake Havasu tour guide?
Davi: [Laughs] If I lived here in California it'd be a different story, but even then, it's still a lot of work. I give those guys credit who go out every day and train with them. That's just not me. There are other things I want to get into and there's a life outside of motocross. I want to go explore that. I'm still young and I want to see what's out there and live a different life for a little while.