CODY WEBB TALKS ERZBERG 2023
Cody Webb remains America’s greatest talent in Extreme enduro. After finishing second in 2016, his quest to reach the top step of the podium has been interrupted by injuries. For 2023, he returned to the Iron Giant in good health to claim 10th. Here’s what he said to DB’s Travis Fant afterward.
DIRT BIKE-Cody you just got back from ERZBERG. Your usual training is already gnarly but are there some things you do in particular that prepares you for this race?
CODY WEBB-“It’s obviously different than any other race. It is the hardest 1 day race in the world. I really try to focus on old pilings if I can find them or big messed up rock gardens that I can suffer through without much of a line built up. I tell you what, it’s been a while since I finished the race. 2017 was the last time I really put a strong valiant effort into it. It was almost kind of scary some of the stuff.
DB– Talk about the travel as an American versus some of the athletes that don’t take on time change or jet lag heading into an event like this.
WEBB-“ Yeah, obviously it’s not easy traveling that far. Being a family man now, it’s a little bit harder to leave than before. As soon as I got there I tried to adjust as best as possible. You gotta force yourself to acclimate quickly. This year was different. There wasn’t a lot of walking like before because they’ve made it illegal. It’s really strange actually, the mine offers tours. Almost every top guy minus myself was there three days in a row the week before the race, riding. Not the actual race course but definitely a couple sections that were in the race that hadn’t been marked yet. It definitely pays off to have that extra time for this event. I just got done racing in the ‘States and just didn’t have a big window like that.
DB-Your teammate Cooper Abbott was with you. Did you offer any advice to your first timer teammate?
WEBB-“I tried to just give him a heads up. If you’re going up these hills give it a second because you’re going to be pelted with these rocks and roost as you come out of the mine. By far this place has the worst roost. Small rocks that make welts all over your body. I told Cooper he really need to focus on making it out of all the first hills going out of the mine. You can lose a lot of ground there. I gave him a big heads up before you drop into Carls diner is one of the scariest downhills you may ever experience in your life. Start off going as slow as you can so you don’t blow off the road at the bottom!
DB– On that note how do you maintain. It’s a long race and you don’t want to blow it early on and have to chase your tail. How do you manage a decent pace for so long?
WEBB-“Yeah, this year was a lot different for me because in years prior I was battling for the lead. I would get crazy bad arm pump during that and even have to stop for a second to let it go away. This year I kind of eased myself into the race and put myself into a good position. There are so many scenarios. I was about 6th early on in the race right behind Johnny Walker. Andrea Verona got stuck and I got pinched in with him so riders started passing me because I had nowhere to go stuck in a rut. I definitely panicked a little bit and lost some valuable positions I just gained. I’m coming off a big knee injury and wrist injury so was really trying to not go too crazy. My ultimate goal was just finish the race because of how it’s so gnarly. I played it smart and conserved some energy in the beginning and didn’t take as much risk. I had enough left in the tank towards the end and use my smarts to put myself into a good position.
DB-You’re the top American to finish. Hell of a statement after some tough injuries and saying you conserved yourself in some spots.
WEBB-“I finished on the podium in the past but basically I know now where I’m at. I can battle with all those guys that were in the top 10. If things go right I can make it happen. I had the wrist injury this same time last year during summer. It’s the same wrist injury Phil Nicoletti had so I have been in contact with him on what he did. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to ever race professionally again. I took some anti-inflammatory before the race for sure. I felt good through Carls Diner but after that the pain killers were starting to wear off and man at that point I just needed to get through the race. I know I’m not 100% but I’m just trying to do my best and prolong my career as long as I can.
DB-You ride the two-stroke pretty often. Is that an advantage at Erzberg? Would you ever do it on a four-stroke?
WEBB-“Erzberg would definitely be difficult on a four-stroke. At Carls Diner the front end feels a lot heavier on the four-strokes. The two-stroke and four-stroke weights are close now but the feel of them is very different. The front end on the 4 stroke feels heavier and harder to get the front end up like in rock gardens aka Carls Diner. A lot of the stuff in the beginning of the race honestly would be better on a four-stroke thought. A lot of the climbs and things of that nature. Later stages in the race like Motorex Highway would favor a two stroke better. I have done some hard enduro for fun on the SE300 and I can tell you just the heat coming off the bike is so much, the clutches are getting hotter, the bike is super hot. Carls Diner the sun is just baking on you and the fan on the bike is blowing hot air on you. It honestly makes a big difference riding on the 2 stroke where the bike isn’t running as hot and if something does happen you can still ride a “blown up” two stroke more or less. A lot harder to blow up then a 4 stroke and be stuck somewhere.
DB-What are some things you do to the bike specifically for a race like this
WEBB-“Ya so in this race is a different format than the US hard enduro series. Since it’s part of FIM there is no outside assistance allowed at all. At the pit you weren’t supposed to get anything. You couldn’t even get a shifter from someone out of the van if you wanted. We ran levers in the air-box, we had a shifter zip-tied inside the frame, and I had minimal tools on the bike just in case. I wasn’t even allowed to swap out my USWE water pack. I had to keep the same back pack on but I could swap out the bladder. They are really strict there about no outside assistance. This race is pretty wild because you are on your own. It’s man and machine at Erzberg.
DB-We follow you on Instagram and we’ve been lucky enough to film with you on your home turf in NorCal. A lot of times you’re out there by yourself and you’re doing some pretty tough rides. So you’re low key preparing yourself for events like this as far as being limited and on your own huh?
WEBB-Cody laughs “ Yeah definitely. I am always riding with a backpack and snack. You never know what can happen out there and I don’t want to be completely stranded over night. Erzberg is incredible. There are sections where I was thinking on course I would never practice sections like this by myself because of the risk but here I am having to do it during a race by myself.
DB– Now that’s in your rear view mirror. What’s next?
WEBB-“So basically I am looking forward the final round of the US Hard Enduro series that’s in 2 weeks. It’s probably one of our best races at a ski resort. Basically from there start prepping for the EnduroCross series and see what I can do there!
DB-Thanks Cody for letting us pick your brain a little bit and gaining some insight.
WEBB-“Thanks guys, Thanks Travis”
For more on Erzberg 2023, click here.