Andrew Short has been a staple of the premier motocross and supercross series since entering his first pro race in 2000. Seemingly always smiling, the approachable fan favorite competed in his last season in 2016, capping a long and lauded career still finishing races in the top ten.
As with any pro athlete, the future looms for “Shorty.” Replacing the excitement, goals, team members and nuances that make up a storied career would be difficult for anyone and possibly a source of sadness or anxiety. Luckily, a few years ago, the #29 discovered the joys of Adventure Riding, providing a fun and rewarding passion to aid in the transition to his still unwritten future.
Andrew sat down with long time trainer, friend and fellow ADV addict Coach Seiji to discuss his connection to our beloved activity.
Coach Seiji: What did you think of ADV riding before you got into it?
Andrew Short: I was always so hyper focused on racing that I never thought about other types of riding. Honestly, until I got to the KTM dealer show in 2011, I hadn’t ever noticed an adventure bike. Kidding, I called it a “grandpa bike.” Little did I know that later on I would learn to love the adventure bike and what it stood for.
CS: When and where was your first ADV experience and what about it made you change your mind about ADV riding?
AS29: First time was the 2013 KTM Adventure Rider Rally. The 1190 had just come out and I got to ride the R version. It looked more like a street bike than a dirt bike. I was expecting more of an EXC with a license plate, not a big “street bike.” I was amazed the first time I went riding; following the GPS in the mountains, riding through places I would have never experienced, with cool people that are like-minded, love two wheels, with a lot of passion. It was such a cool experience, it got me hooked!
CS: What plans/goals do you have related to ADV riding? If you could go one last place on your ADV bike, where would that be?
AS29: I grew up in the mountains of Colorado. When I go there it feels like I am going home. The best part about ADV riding is going to places I haven’t seen. Going to Colorado seems more fun to me than going to the desert but I know I need to experience it. I shouldn’t judge it just because I haven’t been. I need to go ride Mexico, try Baja and I would like to ride Utah. But, if I had to pick one last place, it would probably be Colorado. I don’t have any specific ADV goals, I just want to have fun.
CS: You have been a competitive athlete for half of your life. Do you think you will have a void due to retiring from competition? Do you feel ADV riding will help fill that void or will you find a competitive outlet?
AS29: I think the beauty of ADV riding is that it’s completely the opposite of racing; you’re not out there just trying to crush the competition. The competitive side of me might think there is a void, but I can fill that in other ways. ADV is going to be cool because I have been doing the same races, year in and year out. ADV riding feels more like you’re in the back of a pickup truck just riding with your buddies and that’s a feeling that I’ve missed. When I turned pro that all went away; that camaraderie with friends just out having fun riding. I want to get back to that and I think ADV riding has that atmosphere. I want to get back to learning too even just on the ADV bikes, as they are more complicated. I think I will educate myself on a lot of new things by going camping on the bike, seeing new places and learning from a different crowd.
CS: Narrate your favorite ADV riding experience.
AS29: My favorite ADV experience was the first time I went to the KTM Adventure Rider Rally in 2011. On day two it rained and we were going down roads we shouldn’t have been riding. They were too muddy, but I didn’t have the experience to know that we should have turned around. I was leading a group and I pretty much left the whole group behind; one guy had to call AAA. I was a horrible leader or guide I guess you could say (laughs). Later Scott Bright and I rode it again to sweep it. It rained more and I crashed the 1190 a few times, which was gnarly. I ran off into a ditch once, thought I was going to die and I was freezing. When we got done I was so pumped on the whole day- on just how crazy it was. I got to do a lot of riding that wasn’t anything like I expected. I saw crazy stuff, did cool riding, got scared a little, but made it out.
CS: Describe what you fear and what you look forward to in your retired life.
AS29: What I fear most is waking up and not having a goal or something that I’m trying to accomplish to better myself as an athlete, racer and human. I feel like nothing may fill that void. Racing was my first love and that’s all I’ve cared about. Yeah, that’s what I’m afraid of. I know there will be a lot of new things I’ll get to experience because I won’t be racing week in and week out. I look forward to riding more trails on my adventure bike, obviously spend more time hanging out with my kids and family, especially since the kids are growing up. There are new opportunities for me now in riding and meeting new people, trying new things out, educating myself on all things two wheeled.
CS: Any tips you can give aspiring ADV addicts?
AS29: (Laughs) I should be the one looking for tips for adventure riding. Every time I go I learn something. Especially at the rallies, those guys are hardcore; they have all these spares, all that stuff! I really enjoy getting to know those people. Chris at Rottweiler Performance helped me out on my 990. Seiji helps a lot as well as other people telling me what they carry and what they look for. Although I’ve learned a lot just reading the forums, I know I have more to learn. I think the biggest thing is to have fun- that’s why I got hooked. If you are looking to get into ADV, I think that’s what it’s all about; as long as you learn enough to make it back to camp and have a beer. I don’t drink beer, but that’s what hardcore ADV riders do, right?
On a personal note, I would like to thank Andrew and the entire Short family. I know that I was Andrew’s trainer but he also “trained” me during my time with him. I learned a lot, grew up a lot, and well, he got me into ADV riding. I will dearly miss working together to achieve racing goals but I also look forward to the new adventures, of which I’m sure we will share plenty.