DR: Your back on a bike after a little bit of a respite. What’s going on and how was your recovery?
IT: After 8-9 weeks after my injury I decided to race the X Games. Every thing is finally all healed up, everything is all good and I have no pain. I’m just trying to get back into shape and get my speed back.
Now you can actually cough and laugh without being in pain?
Yeah, breaking ribs is rough. I broke 9 of them, which is a lot. The first month was really rough and I couldn’t really do much but lay there. But after that month it really progressed quick and I was able to start doing some training on the bicycle and running and stuff like that and was able to keep myself in some shape off the bike. Then I got on the bike after that and I’ve been hitting hard trying to get back to where I need to be.
How hard is it to recover after being forced to do almost nothing fore an extended time? It can take 6 months to get there and then you can lose it all in a month.
The guys that are out there racing week in and week out definitely have that advantage. I’ve been trying at practice to simulate racing as much as I can. That intensity is hard to carry sometimes at practice but I’ve been trying to work on that and all I can do is keep pushing. I’m going to try and do the remaining outdoor nationals and I hope they go a little better than Millville went.
People always make the claim “oh the guy’s trying to race himself back into shape.” Is that true? Does it actually work or is it just kind of myth?
In my opinion, I think that’s kind of stupid. I think you need to show up to the race pretty much prepared. I don’t believe that you can race yourself into shape. I mean it’s only one day a week and you have to put your time in during the week and you have to have a good base and a good program to be one of the top guys. I’m working on that now to get back to where I was. It might take a little time but hopefully these last 4 will go good. And X Games is always a fun race and we’ll see how it goes.
You’ve always been right there on the cusp of having a championship winning speed year aboard the 450s, even going back to your Suzuki years. You are right there and something happens. Mentally how does a rider like yourself keep pushing forward? How do you keep your drive to try to get yourself back to that level?
It’s just that competitiveness that I have deep down inside. I want to be one of the best out there and to do that you just have to put your work in. That’s one thing I don’t lack is motivation. I want to be one of the guys and even though at 28 I’m one of the old guys I still feel like I’m learning and getting better and I still feel like I’m competitive and I’m going to do it as long as I can and as long as I’m competitive.
So we could see Ivan here in his 30s as long as you are in the top 10 or top 5.
Not top 10. I want to be one of the guys in the top 5 or at least battling up there. As soon as I’m to that point, I’m done. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to be out there just riding around.
Does a guy like Windham help motivate you right now knowing he’s slightly order older than and has had such a long career? Does it make you realize that at 28 you’ve got quite a few years left in your career?
Yeah, you never know. I don’t know how old he is, I think he’s in his early 30s. He’s a talented dude and it shows you can do it at that age. Ferry did it and some other guys have done well. And 28 is not old. I don’t feel like I’m getting old but I’m sure once you get into your 30s it gets harder. I’m just going to keep on going. I’m having fun with it still and I feel like I’m competitive.
Back in a different generation such as Johnny O’Mara’s generation, some racers were throwing in the towel from the mid to late 20s.
Yeah. There are definitely some guys over the last decades that have gone longer. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the equipment, I really don’t know. I think the experience helps too. Being an older guy there are some advantages to that but there are also advantages to being young and having that intensity and not scared.
Is it hard to stay motivated with the way the economy is? Is it more difficult to get rides, sponsors and a decent salary even though the risk is still the same?
Yes. Last year I had to make a choice. I took like an 80% pay cut this past year and I had to kind of ask myself if I still wanted to do this and I really do. I love the sport and we’re definitely making the money we were a couple of years ago but I still love what I do and I’m still making a good living. It’s just not as good as it was like I said a couple of years ago.
Are you already revamping and planning for 2011? Do you have any plans or are you going to stick with the program you have now?
We’re working on that now. It’s a little later than it used to be. Usually you’d sign your deal pretty much after supercross but like last year I didn’t sign my deal until November. We’re working on it now and I’m talking to everybody and we’ll make the best choice of where to go.