Fresh off a broken right femur April 12 at Red Bull X-Fighters Dubai, James Carter was looking to get back in the saddle with a switch from his two-stroke Yamaha 250 to the ever-trusty Honda CRF 450.
For that matter he did … well, for one demo at least. He crashed Aug. 4 during a demo at Bike Rally in Sturgis, S.D., not far from his hometown, doing an Indy flip. He broke his right tibia and fibula and needed surgery. With this being his first ride back from injury and first show in front of family in friends for a couple of years, Carter says, "I could have slowed down a little but I was taking the chance, wanted to be riding at my fullest in front of my hometown."
Injuries are never fun and for the most part extremely humbling. Some say injuries are a way of paying your dues, but is it fair that these dues sometimes come in the form of physical pain? Nevertheless, they happen, we deal with them, and use the time off to come back stronger, mentally more prepared than the last time.
Carter will have another short break from riding as he lets his ankle heal, and I assure you he will come back stronger and more humble than ever. It is a sure sign of a rider maturing as he rides this journey of being an FMX rider.
We caught up with Carter while he was rehabilitating in South Dakota, and here is what he had to say:
ESPN.com: First off, good to see you're back, how long were you out?
Carter: Thanks a lot. I was feeling good to be back on the bike after being hurt for about three and a half months. Was doing anything and everything to get healed: swimming every day, riding the road bike, [I] just wanted to get back to riding. But maybe I should have taken a little more time to heal [because the] second show back I ended up crashing again!
Do you need surgery, how long will you be out?
Yeah, I had to get surgery, had to wait a couple days after the crash to get to the right doctor. But ended up breaking my tib and fib so they had to remove some hardware from my ankle and put a rod from my knee to my ankle, right leg same leg as femur. They were saying about four months so definitely taking my time to heal and will be looking forward to get on the bike hopefully sooner.
Man, talk about a bad streak lately. You just came off a broken femur as well, how long were you out for that injury?
Yeah, it has been one of those years. It was so good at the beginning of the year and things were looking good with the invite to Red Bull X-Fighters. But with the crash at X-Fighters in Dubai and having a broken femur, I wasn't even sure if I would get to really ride the rest of the year.
Then about month later after breaking my femur I found out my ankle was fractured the whole time so I had to go back on crutches and no weight on it for about four weeks. But the way I look at it could be a lot worse.
What happened exactly in Dubai, I heard multiple stories but never got the official word?
Really hard to say on what happened. I felt like I did everything right and I flipped the other dirt hit right before flipping the next one. I won't ever blame anyone for a crash, [it] could have been me or could have been bike problems, it happens, it's the risk we take.
How was being in the hospital over there in Dubai?
At first I was a little worried not being able to understand a lot of people and the crazy ambulance ride to the hospital. But my family was looking into the hospital and letting me know over the phone they heard that it was a really good place to be for being in Dubai. Made me feel a lot better and when I got back to California and went to the hospital to make sure everything was good. They couldn't believe how good of a job they did, so that's always good to hear.
What did you do with your time off?
I was really focused on healing, trying to do whatever it took to heal faster. But other than that I got to do a lot of camping, fishing with family and riding my Harley. Anything to keep my mind straight and not be bummed out about riding.
You also switched to the trusty Honda 450 in your time off, how do you like that?
Yeah, I ended up getting a Honda. So far I have only about six hours on the new bike and about two hours of that is being on a ramp. But I really started to like it, was feeling really good and am still really excited about getting back on it.
Was that a decision you made because of riding a two-stroke and getting hurt in Dubai or was it something that was already coming?
It was something that was already coming I was going to wait till the end of the year but since I got hurt and had that much time off a bike I didn't mind going for it, coming back from recovery and after hearing so many good things about the Honda. I was committed.
Any plans to come back to California?
Yeah, as soon as I'm back to riding I will be right back out there staying and riding every day that I can. Should be around winter so hopefully I get to do some riding in the hills with everyone.
Anyone you'd like to thank?
My family, friends and fans for all the help and support, Dan McGranahan, all of my sponsors -- Scott, MX Connection, FMF , DZ Graphics, SRH, GPR, Interlakes Sports Center for the new Hondas, and SOAR Physical Therapy for getting me back as fast as I can.