Ricky Johnson is one of the all-time greatest of American motocross. As we all know the former AMA motocross and supercross champion and multiple Motocross des Nations winner has just recovered from the coronavirus and we thought it might be a good idea to give him a call and ask how he is doing. Tomorrow we will also have a cool interview with RJ about his favorite motocross tracks.
Ricky, thanks for doing this. Can you explain to me how the experience was for you having the coronavirus?
So, a lot of it is mental. Physically, it knocks the shit out of you, but the flu hits harder. When you are over 100 temperature and it comes in hard but you can ride it out. You have two days of being sick and sweating and then you feel back to normal, but with the coronavirus, it comes on slowly and then it hits you. I had body aches, and the thing that got me with everyone talking about the World ending and all that shit, I actually thought, “Is this it? Is this thing going to kill me?” Because it wouldn’t go away. It lasted like 14 days and when it started to break, it breaks slower. It was like you feel 70%, then 80%, then 90% and it takes time—days. If you were perfectly healthy and took 20 days watching television and taking naps and sit around, you are going to feel like crap anyway and for me, I had to be busy not to go crazy from it. I would revert back to situations in life or racing and freaking out doesn’t help anyone. I was also doing a lot of breathing exercise and actually I am waiting on a call to be certified as a breathing coach by Oxygen advantage. All these things helped me. I have lost weight and I don’t look as fat as I used to, but both my knees need replacing and I have my back surgery. I am not in great shape.
I was thinking about that, because for many older people it seemed more dangerous and I thought to myself, at 58 years of age, I am closer to an old person than I am a young person. You are a similar age to me, so also close to the risk group. A lot of people from the GP in Valkenswaard started feeling a bit sick and I think I might have had it, and many I talked to. It has hit America hard and why do you think that is?
Why is America doing so bad? I think we are the melting pot man. I shook hands with Italians, Japanese, Chinese, Germans, British, Australians. I don’t know if I got it from there or on the plane, but I think you are right, I think a lot of people have had it. Many of my friends have told me they had the same thing. A lot of my calls are people who said they felt like shit in January and my wife has had zero signs, but she got really sick in February. I think people need to step away from the news. It’s only going to get worse and more people are going to die. You know what scares me, how many people are going to start killing themselves because they see no way of getting out of the debt they are in. The economy is really in trouble and this is going to fuck people up way more than influenza.
It is killing a lot of people and that is terrible, but it has taught us a lot. Thousands and thousands of people have been dying from starvation in Africa or other parts of the World. Or from suicide or depression, and we don’t talk about that and before this virus. The World was all great and people just got on with their lives. I hope we think long and hard about the deaths that have been happening for decades and maybe put more effort into also stopping those when this is over. Do you think maybe it makes us more focused on the World and take care of each other?
I sure hope so. I did something with Weege [Jason Weigandt] yesterday and I know I am taking something from this. Don’t just say you can’t work or I am stuck at home with my wife, or I can’t go to sporting events, or whatever. I have enjoyed the time with my wife and it is hard not seeing people, but now with zoom and facetime and WhatsApp and all this, there are ways. So yes, I hope people look at this and don’t take your health for granted. We are all going to die, but we don’t think it will happen today. I hope people look at this and see that life is fragile and we need to take time with our loved ones and the people who are important to us. My wife has been my nurse through all of this, and I have become her hairdresser, her manicurist and I take care of her too. Weege said he has ridden more with his boys and I hope more men get out and ride more motorcycles.