By all accounts, FMX veteran Adam Jones is absolutely killing it on the second leg of Nitro’s 2015 North America tour. But good luck getting him to admit that — for the humble Jones the tour so far, he says, has been no different from any other. Well, with one exception. “I just kind of came out swinging this time,” he says. “I made a mental note to myself just to have as much fun as I could on this tour.”
The first couple shows of a Nitro Circus tour can get off to a slow start for him, he says, because it takes some time to get used to the ramps and practice time can be limited. This tour is no different, as mentioned, but he came into it with a bit of a different perspective: “I’m getting a little bit older for a freestyle guy, and you never really know when it’s going to be done for you,” he says. “I just really wanted to enjoy it and really wanted to ride well.”
As anyone who knows him well would tell you, he has a tendency to downplay his own work. So, we checked in with a few of his esteemed colleagues about it. Jones’ Nitro Circus teammate Blake “Bilko” Williams said: “Adam Jones is probably in the best form of his career right now, which is pretty much standard because he’s always in good form.”
Jarryd McNeil, another Nitro Crew member, said, “He’s out there killing it every night; he’s throwing down the biggest tricks in freestyle, consistently.”
Jones insists that the skill he exhibits and the tricks he’s created are all a result of one simple but important thing: practice. “It’s all about putting in time and doing it over and over and over again.” Repetition, he says, is the key to his success. When he’s not on tour, he practices two and a half hours or so a day, going through all his tricks, especially the harder ones. The easier tricks he’ll do once or twice to stay fresh. For tricks of a higher difficulty level, the ones that scare him, he says, he does them three to five times, which helps him “get through that mental barrier you have with a trick.” On tour, practice is more condensed but similar.
All that work has paid off for Jones, as he’s innovated the sport in many ways since 2006, when he invented his first trick. That World First, the cordova backflip, became his signature move and is also his favorite, if he had to pick one of the many tricks he nails consistently.
When asked about the tricks he’s invented — or, more accurately, the tricks that he was the first to land, as he’s quick to point out that “invent” isn’t exactly the right word — his humble side shines again. Innovating was just a natural progression for the sport back when he was earning his stripes as an FMX athlete. “It was at a time for freestyle when people had been flipping for a little while and then all of the sudden people got really comfortable with flips, so at that time it was just kind of like a race, like, ‘OK, who’s going to be the first one to do this trick upside-down or this trick upside-down?’ I guess I just won that race a couple times.”
You can come see Jones perform some of those innovative tricks live in a city near you. With more than 20 shows left on this leg of Nitro’s current tour and Europe and Australia on the near horizon, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. He’s pumped for each and every city, but the tour stop he’s most looking forward to is whichever show he’s able to have his son come to. “Knowing that there’s somebody out there that you’re close to tends to make you want to ride a little better.”