Cade Autenrieth is a new addition to team LS2 in 2020, but he’s no stranger to the Monster Energy Supercross Championship. The nineteen-year-old from California made his professional debut in 2017 as a fill-in rider for the JGR Suzuki Factory team, recording a 13th place finish in the 250SX West race in Salt Lake City. Throughout the last couple of years, he’s been competing on a KTM in the 450 class in both supercross and motocross, except for a season in 250SX East last year on a Honda CRF250. Autenrieth has a multitude of finishes inside the points in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series and has made main events in both classes in Monster Energy Supercross, but he took an extra step in preparation for 2020. The Californian started following a serious training regimen with the help of former Factory Honda rider, Kyle Lewis, and the hard work has been paying off. He’s found a whole new level of physicality on the 450 and has the mental confidence that comes with a structured training program that is propelling him to new heights in 2020. Autenrieth has shown the speed throughout the first couple of rounds to put his CRF450 in the main event, but he wasn’t able to get the job done up until the fourth round of action in Arizona. We caught up with Cade the following week to chat about his perspective on the season so far and what’s on the horizon. He was hopeful of making the main event at the fifth round in Oakland, despite a hard crash in Glendale, and that’s exactly what he did. Autenrieth was able to match the intensity of those around him in qualifying and that same mentality translated to the night show. Although he barely missed a transfer spot in the heat race, he pulled a solid start in the LCQ and quickly settled into a transfer position, earning a spot on the gate for the main event for the first time this season. After showing what he’s capable of in Oakland, keep an eye out for him in the main event this coming weekend at round six of Monster Energy Supercross in San Diego!
We’ve been through four rounds of the Monster Energy Supercross Series at this point. What’re your thoughts on how your seasons been so far?
So far I’m glad to be where I am but I was expecting to break into that top twenty-two. It’s a tough group out there this year in the 450 class. I’m comin’ in on a new bike this year, so I think with a little more experience I’ll be able to break into that group.
What influenced your decision to switch to Honda this year?
Well, I was on KTMs for a while and I started training with Kyle Lewis and back in his day he was a big Honda guy, so he kind of emphasized that for me and also last year I rode 250SX East and I rode a Honda and the first day on that bike I just felt good on it -- like I wasn’t uncomfortable, I could turn it really well and I felt super good on the Honda 250. I raced a little bit of outdoors on the KTMs and I felt like it was just time to make a switch, ya know. All of my KTMs were like ‘18s so I just needed to get a fresh Honda and I really like the way they feel.
You elected to skip the second round in St. Louis and just stay back in California until A2, was that purely a logistical thing or was there something else going?
Part of it was for sure privateer logistics but also at Anaheim 1 I tore the rubber piece in the shock bladder, so I’m lucky we didn’t go to St. Louis because I would’ve gone out there on bad shock, so things kind of work out on their own sometimes.
Last weekend at Glendale you had a pretty big crash in the whoops which kind of set the tone for the rest of your day, how’re you feeling physically after that?
Yeah, I feel good. I got my leg into the bars really hard; it was pretty bruised and it’s still pretty tight but I rode today so it feels good. I did a little bit of therapy at my chiropractor and my body was just really tight from the crash and everything, so we did a little bit of work on that and got adjusted. Now I’m feeling loose and I feel good comin’ into Oakland!
What’re your thoughts on the tracks so far this year and some of the gnarly whoop sections that we’ve seen?
Anaheim 1 had a couple of big lines, it was tight, and they had two big whoop sections -- the longer set was pretty small and easy but the other set was pretty good. The whoops were no joke at A2 and that track was really tight and rutted from the moisture. It was actually weird getting to Glendale because I wasn’t used to just opening up the throttle, you know. There’s so much straight-away that you could just get on it which was cool. One thing about A1 and A2 is that there was no straight-away for a break...like everything was a rhythm. Usually, when they make you go down the start-straight you’ll get a break but there was no place on the track for a breather section, but Glendale had like two breather sections I think. And the sand was really cool at Glendale, I liked that.
How much more intense is qualifying practice during the Triple Crown format?
Yeah, it’s a lot of pressure. I think that’s one of the reasons why I went down in the whoops -- I was on a good lap and the whoops were so long you could make up a lot of time in them. I just went into ‘em hard and I’d been getting through them well but I went a touch faster and skipped one, so my wheel dropped in. Just the whole atmosphere makes qualifying crazy because with only eighteen spots to go straight to the main it’s a tough challenge and it’s a tough group out there too, so you’ve really gotta be on point. It’s intense!
Is there a specific way you approach that?
I usually try to have a little program for my qualifying. When we first go I’ll do two laps on and a lap off, but then sometimes when everything kind of gets jammed up I won’t go two laps, I’ll take one off and just let everybody kind of get away to find a gap. It all just depends on how jammed up it is.
Last year you did some 450 rounds on the west coast and then raced the 250SX East division? Are you going to be doing something similar this year or staying on the 450?
So far I’m just planning on doing all the 450 rounds on the west coast, I’d like to go out to the east coast but it’s just really hard to get out there. If I have an opportunity to go east coast then I’ll for sure do it, but as of right now I’m sticking to the plan.
Is it difficult to get accustomed to a 450 on SX and then lose that little bit of extra power dropping down to the 250? Does it take some getting used to?
Yeah, it’s weird because some lines are easier to on the 250 because you just go wide open and you make it where on the 450 you have to have the perfect timing, and then there are other cases on the 450 where it’s easier to hit a triple out of a turn or whatever. Mostly for me, I hadn’t ridden a 250 in over a year so I really had to get used to the gearing; you have to shift a lot more on the 250. The Honda 450s have a really long second gear, so you can basically have it in second gear through a whole rhythm and you can honestly run second and third gear everywhere. At Glendale, you had to shift because of the straightaways but most tracks you can just run second and third, although I like to run fourth in the whoops ‘cause it just tracks better. Getting used to the gearing on the 250 was definitely a challenge, but I got used to it after riding a couple of days.
Talk a little bit about your training program and what things are like for you during the week. You’re based out of Hemet, California so I’d assume you spin a lot of laps at the SX track there.
When I started working with Kyle (Lewis), I really upped my program. I started working with him during the summer and I just did like a hell month basically, working out every single day for thirty days straight. I started doing a lot -- I’m really big into mountain biking so I’d do that all the time and I’d still go to the gym, but when I started working with Kyle I started doing super high-intensity workouts with no breaks, like almost to where you want to puke, not too heavy of lifting but really high reps. It really helped me a lot just having that strength to help manhandle the bike better and even coming up short on a jump I can save it now. I’m just doing a lot of riding too, four to five times per week. I actually know the owner and the property at Hemet -- my dad used to go out to Lake Havasu with him back in the 90s, so I have a good connection there and that’s my goto track. It’s only like ten minutes from my house so that’s mostly where I’ve been riding. I went to State Fair once and when Milestone was up that’s where I was mostly riding.
How’d you get hooked up with Kyle Lewis to start training with him?
I actually worked with him a little bit during the last supercross season, but I didn’t go on a full training program. He went to the track with me a couple of times, but actually my suspension guy, Dave Schmidt, recommended that I work with him ‘cause I hadn’t worked with a trainer in a while. We started working on things and he came to A1 last year and a couple of the other races and I kind of did my own thing; I was still in contact with him a little bit but I wasn’t working with him. After the supercross season, I talked to Kyle about doing a full program for the rest of the season to get ready for 2020 and it’s worked really great for me!
What’s a typical training day like for you during the season?
Usually, if I don’t get to ride on a Monday I’ll do a cardio workout, like some rowing or a spin on the bike. If there are days where I’m not gonna ride, I’ll basically do intervals on the rower where it’s thirty seconds hard, thirty seconds easy, thirty seconds hard, and I’ll alternate that for thirty minutes. We call it the dirty thirty and it kind of replicates riding a bit. I normally ride Tuesday and Wednesday and usually a light day of riding on Thursday and then get ready to go to the races on Friday. Usually in the morning when I wake up, I have an elliptical at home, so I try to do like twenty-five to thirty-five minutes on that just to warm up and get the blood flowing. After riding, depending on the day, sometimes I’ll do like a recovery spin which is just about forty-five minutes of getting the blood flowing but not anything high energy. I’ll go ten minutes hard, three minutes off, ten minutes hard, three minutes off -- just to replicate doing a ten-minute moto or a ten-minute qualifying, trying to keep everything up to par and keep everything sharp.
This is your first year with LS2 helmets, tell me what your first impressions of the helmet were when you first got your hands on one out of the box.
I remember seeing (Kyle) Chisholm wearing ‘em last year and I hadn’t seen too many people wearing them, so when you guys contacted me I was excited to try them out. I went to Langston’s to try ‘em on and they fit really well. I liked the whole design of them and the safety aspect of the helmet I really liked, especially the chin area. The style and the designs of them were really nice.
What were some of the first things you noticed about your LS2 helmet out on the track?
Yeah, I noticed they were quite light compared to what I was used to which is always really nice. It’s a good feeling to have a light helmet on when you have to turn your head, it makes things quicker honestly. I keep really cool in them because of the ventilation and they’re really comfortable, so I’ve been really enjoying them, and everyone that works within LS2 has been really cool and good to be around, so it’s been fun!
Last year you raced a few of the west coast rounds on the Pro Motocross calendar. Do you have any plans for this year to do the whole series or are you still working on it?
I’m just focusing on supercross right now, I haven’t really made any plans for motocross yet. It’s actually hard because I haven’t done any outdoor testing on a Honda yet, so hopefully if I don’t go to the east coast then I can get some testing in on the Honda and maybe get a headstart on it. I’m hoping to do some outdoor rounds, I really like riding outdoors. In 2018, I did like six rounds and it was cool to go out to the east coast. All those tracks are so fun and I’m hoping I can do some outdoors this year.