ESCONDIDO — Motocross riders usually begin riding at a young age. Many hop on a dirt bike as early as 4 years old and start competing shortly thereafter. But Bryce Vallee spent his childhood surfing near his dad’s office in Cardiff and competing in surf contests.His friends and family weren’t interested in motocross. Yet Vallee somehow found himself on a dirt bike at 10 years old. He was immediately hooked.“Big waves give you that same kind of thrill as racing,” Vallee said. “But there’s just something about dirt bikes. I’m really competitive and love that feeling of going out there and trying to compete with 40 other guys. It fits my personality.”Vallee didn’t get his own dirt bike until he was 13 years old, and he only began competing in amateur and national events three years later. Even with the late start, Vallee, 21, is now a pro motocross rider. He’s set to battle with other riders at the Monster Energy AMA Supercross race at Qualcomm Stadium Feb. 11.Vallee’s rise to Supercross could hardly be called meteoric. Success was hard-won and earned an inch at a time while working his way up the ladder of amateur events.“I would get stuck,” Valle said. “It would take me a couple months and I would never get on the podium. But then I would get on the podium one time and I was on the podium the entire time.”
He added: “I think that can almost benefit you in the long run. Where I think a lot of guys jump right into it and have immediate success and all they can go from there is down.”
The trajectory of Vallee’s racing career has largely been a slow, steady climb. But after working so hard to race Supercross, Vallee’s rookie season didn’t go as planned last year. He broke his navicular bone in his wrist during training, which was misdiagnosed as a sprain.
“I was in a lot of pain, but kept trying to tell myself it was sprained,” Vallee said. “That really messed with me mentally and I was riding really timid. It was a relief in a way when I found out the bone was broken.”
Vallee eventually underwent surgery for his wrist and had to miss most of last year’s season. Instead of dwelling on a discouraging rookie season, he trained nearly every day this off-season and focused on getting healthy. Still, his hard work didn’t pay off right away.
Vallee’s first race of the season didn’t go well.
“The first race was pretty terrible,” he said. “I had a lot of nerves.”
But like much of his career, he has slowly improved this year