Keeping Up With Anthony Napolitan

By Sarah Sotoodeh

Anthony Napolitan - PortraitBMX rider Anthony Napolitan is only a few weeks away from his first event back on the bike after injuring his wrist in June and undergoing surgery to repair it.  Last month he had the two pins in his wrist removed, which were used to keep his wrist immobile while it healed.  Since we last spoke, Napolitan has been busy with rehab and preparing for several events coming up in the next few months.  I caught up with Napolitan about his current health status, upcoming events, including the Dew Tour and his thoughts on this year’s Red Bull Dreamline.

Q: How’s the wrist feeling now?

Napolitan: The wrist is feeling good.  I just rounded out three weeks of physical therapy and I’ve got a lot of range back.  My wrist was pretty much as stiff as a board when it came out of the cast.  Dr. Jeremy Summers is definitely really stoked with all the progress we’ve gotten so far.  Aside from that, I got an event coming up on October 10th so I told Dr. Summers I’d like to be on my bike at least seven days before that event and I’m pretty confident that I’d be able to do that.

Q: What are your plans for the next few months?

Napolitan: Right now I’ve got Dew Tour coming up October 10th through the 13th and then I go straight from San Francisco to Austin for Texas Toast Jam event.  Pretty much when I’m back, I’ll be back here at DISC, focusing on PT again while maintaining riding and hopefully be back in the gym as well.  In the beginning of November I’m going on this trip, it’s called Bikes Over Baghdad.

Q:  How does Bikes Over Baghdad work?

Napolitan: In the past we’ve flown into Kuwait City and gotten picked up by the military.  They take us to base and we build ramps from scrap basically.  We’re at each base for two days, so we’ll build the ramps on day one and then do the show on day two and then the next day we’ll hop on a massive military plane.  Usually we go into Iraq and do two days at each base and build, do the show and the on to the next one.  It’s a lot of fun, but yeah this year we’re going to Doha, Qatar and we’re going to do a few shows there and then we’re going to go back to Kuwait City and do a few shows there.  It’s November 6th through the 13th so I’ll be over that way for a bit.

Q: How often have you participated in Bikes Over Baghdad?

Napolitan: I’ve done it probably four, five years now so it’s been a pretty cool project.  We have a little documentary that’s on iTunes as well so people can check that out, Bikes Over Baghdad.

Q: Dreamline took place on August 10th, how did it go?

Napolitan: Dreamline was really awesome.  I didn’t have any complaints from any of the athletes—it was definitely a really good time and the jumps were massive.  I’m super psyched, I couldn’t be happier how it turned out, all the guys showed and rode really well and luckily we didn’t have too many instances where riders got hurt.  Only one guy got hurt, he broke his collar bone and he was one of the dudes that was in the running for winning so that was unfortunate but it comes with the territory.  Other than that I’m really looking forward to seeing the TV show, it’s going to be airing on NBC’s Red Bull Signature Series, so I’m just really pumped to see it.

Q: Since your pins came out, did your rehab change?

Napolitan: Definitely.  Once the pins came out we started working on range of motion because that was the main concern.  We’re still working on range of motion right now and we’re starting to get into a little bit of strengthening as well.  I see Jeremy twice a week in Newport and then I see him two other times up here at DISC Marina del Rey.

Q: Talk about your training and diet while rehabbing the wrist.

Napolitan: I still have a really good diet going which always helps.  For the past four years, I’ve had a lower back issue and now I’m working with Dr. Bill Bergman and the MedX machine to kind of get that figured out.  I’m two weeks in with Bill and already my back feels really great.  I’ve had three months off my bike so I’m really just fixing everything while I can.

Q: How long have you been doing MedX?

Napolitan: I’ve done two weeks on my low back and then just yesterday I started the MedX on my neck.  I feel like I’ve seen so many doctors that are digging really deep trying to figure out why my back was fatiguing all the time and what not and it kind of just came back to something super simple as harnessing your lower legs and hips down so that they can’t move just to work specifically focus on those lower back muscles.  It’s nice to wake up and roll out of bed in the morning and not be in pain.

Q: Besides BMX riding, what are some kinds of things you do for fun or in your spare time?

Napolitan: I’m definitely really excited to get back on my surfboard.  I love surfing, it’s so much fun so that’s always good.  I love surfing because it’s like a challenge every time you’re on.  My day revolves around waking up in the morning and surfing and then cooking some food—that’s one of my other hobbies—I love cooking.

Q: What kind of cooking?

Napolitan: Just everything.  More on the healthy side of course but I definitely like to come across more recipes and cooking up some sort of meal, it’s pretty fun, I enjoy it.

Q: Any favorite places you’ve traveled to?

Napolitan: Every time I go somewhere new in my mind I think it’s the best place I’ve ever been so it’s really hard to just pick one because they’re all so different and they’re all so interesting but I’d say if I had to narrow it down to top three places that I really enjoyed being, Queenstown, New Zealand would be one of them.  I had a really good time in Singapore probably like eight years ago, I haven’t been back there but if I had the chance I would for sure go back.  I love China just because it’s so crazy there.  Shanghai, China is a really great place and that’s like the most different of all because it’s the other side of the planet and it’s a whole different kind of culture shock, so that place is really awesome.

Q: Best moment in your career so far?

Napolitan: There’s a lot…I don’t know I feel like every new moment I come across is one of the best moments so I don’t really have a particular best moment.  I feel like the more I progress in life the better things get.  Now I feel like the best thing that I’ve done so far from BMX would be creating the Red Bull Dreamline event and being able to host an event where all the riders get to come out and have the time of their lives and not really feel the pressure of crazy televised contests.  That is definitely my greatest thing yet.  I wouldn’t base it on any contest finishing for me—I’m really excited I can just give back to BMX Dirt and really give those guys a platform to express what BMX Dirt is about.

For more about Anthony Napolitan visit redbull.com.