On some of our past Rider Skills episodes you’ve heard the voice of Coach Ramey Stroud, who headed up the Cascade Endurance Centre rider training complex on his ranch in Oregon. After a horrific racing accident when he was 56 years old, he was told that he would never walk again. But, years of determination and perseverance proved doctors wrong. He finished the race that had broken his back, rode around the world on his motorcycle with a sidecar, and started his training centre. Last week, Coach Ramey Stroud passed away, a tremendous loss to the riding community. But, his voice and teachings live on for many, including in the minds of those he has influenced through training, and for us and our listeners on Adventure Rider Radio.
His Knowledge of Riding Techniques Was Cosmic
Jim and I didn’t know Coach Ramey for very long, just a year and a half, and for us it was his word through emails and his voice that we knew best. We never had the opportunity to meet him face to face, but nonetheless, we became friends.
We had tremendous respect for Coach Ramey. His knowledge of riding techniques was cosmic. And his explanations of the procedures and strategies were sometimes so deep, that there were times that we knew it might be too much for the listeners to grasp. But, it was brilliant.
It was in October, 2017, that Grant Johnson from Horizons Unlimited suggested we contact Coach Ramey. Grant told us a bit about Coach Ramey’s injuries that he had sustained from a riding accident, and his road to recovery, how he went on to travel on a motorcycle and sidecar outfit. With that snippet of information we contacted Coach Ramey, not knowing how involved we would become with him, how connected he would become with Adventure Rider Radio.
‘Ride well— but do in context! ‘
Coach Ramey said that Grant had told him about us and that it would be his pleasure to talk with us. He immediately had some suggestions for topics to discuss with him, he sent a few photos, and said ‘this will be fun’ and “Like I say to my racers, “Ride well— but do in context! In my case it will be try to speak well”.
From the get go, even before the first interview, emails exchanged indicated to us the kind of person that Coach Ramey was. He wanted to make sure that we got what we needed out of the interview, “Is there one or more topics on my list that you want to discuss that support your other programs, speakers or marketing?”
And when we put out the episode with Coach Ramey’s story, he emailed us to say that he was ‘hearing from people all over the world’. Listeners contacted us to say that the story Coach Ramey had shared was one of the most inspiring they had ever heard. As we were touched by his determination, so were those that heard his story on Adventure Rider Radio, in his own voice and his own words. Jim and I came away thinking about life, as we know many of our listeners did, too.
“For me the key to success is to find common language to explain difficult concepts”
And so much did we like Coach Ramey, his outlook on life, his vast knowledge of riding, that we asked if he would come on to Adventure Rider Radio and teach a Rider Skills episode to our listeners. At the time he was in South America at the DAKAR with four stages left to go. He had developed training programs for racers and some of his clients were DAKAR competitors. After the DAKAR, he planned on taking a few days off to ride around and recharge in the sunshine. He said he would be back to his training centre in Oregon at the beginning of February and was glad to contribute to our show.
He already had a topic in mind, “body mechanics”. He said it was “probably one of the most overlooked aspects of riding well. More control with less effort”. So, when he returned to Oregon in February, 2018, he was immediately connecting with Jim to discuss his ideas and how he wanted to teach in the episode. He said, “For me the key to success is to find common language to explain difficult concepts”.
Coach Ramey had a certain work ethic, and he brought those ethics to the Rider Skills episodes that he did with Adventure Rider Radio. He asked that we put a disclaimer on our website for the segments he did. And since that time, we have always put a disclaimer on all Rider Skills episodes. His thought process was that although these were audio instructional riding lessons, they weren’t the same as learning from an instructor during a course, and he wanted to make sure that the listeners knew that.
For every episode he did with us, he prepared detailed notes and photos, and shared them with us. When he spoke to or recorded an episode with Jim, he called it ‘visiting’ with him. It was a personal connection through audio.
Between March and August of 2018, he recorded five consecutive episodes of Rider Skills with us. Our last episode with him aired in December, 2018.
In early conversations, Coach Ramey Stroud told us he was a private person. He didn’t even tell us that he had cancer until near the end. He had been diagnosed in August 2017, and was told that he had about a year to live. Yet, he still took the time to share his knowledge with our listeners, recording audio with us. He put a tremendous amount of work in to each Rider Skills episode. And when I was faced with my own frightening health issues, he told Jim to tell me he was, “sending lots of healing love her way! Just look for the butterflies. They transport the good energy in their saddlebags!”. Looking back, not knowing at the time that he was facing his own challenges, it was the most selfless thing someone in his situation could do - offer support for someone else in their time of need.
In his last weeks, we talked back and forth a bit through emails and he telephoned Jim. He said he hoped that we had done some good work together. And he said that he wanted to get Jim a copy of all his lesson plans, rider tips and notes. He said maybe 50,000 words that he thought might be a good reference tool for us. And he started to do that, sending Jim some of those notes. And it was a tremendous honour to receive them. For years to come, Jim will be passing on the knowledge that Coach Ramey shared with him to our listeners, as he wanted us to.
“So many riders over the years have said they can hear my voice in their head when faced with challenge and adversity.”
In one of the last emails we got from Coach Ramey he said, “So many riders over the years have said they can hear my voice in their head when faced with challenge and adversity.” Coach Ramey’s voice, in private conversations and in interviews for the show, will live on for us and we are so grateful to have those recordings. Thank you, Coach, for being such a tremendous influence on us. You have begun your next adventure, and from what we know of you it will be as great as the one that you had in this life.
Written by Elizabeth Martin
Audio by Jim Martin
This episode is dedicated to Coach Ramey Stroud.
About Coach Ramey: https://ridecoach.com/coach-ramey/
“I am so impressed with Coach Stroud. He really has a way of breaking down the science of riding. His own personal and inspirational story just makes his instruction that much more credible. Can’t wait to give it a shot this next weekend.”~ Steve D. - Adventure Rider Radio Listener - 2018
“Was listening to the March 8th 2018 ergonomics with Ramey Stroud this morning, I have been riding for 30 years, and have been suffering recently with carpal tunnel and sore neck. Just making adjustments in the car with what Ramey was describing I could feel the change in my body.” ~ Alex G. - Adventure Rider Radio Listener - 2018
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