Coming into the sport of freestyle motocross as a virtual unknown, learning all the necessary tricks and establishing oneself as a main player can be a long road. Couple that with the ever-so-dreaded injuries that set riders back physically and mentally and it can leave a soul in distress.
James Carter knows this all too well. After gaining some momentum in 2011 by working onto the FMX radar, he was getting closer to making his dreams a reality.
A freak injury at the Dubai stop of Red Bull X-Fighters forced him out with a severely broken femur. Femurs are painful bones to break but fairly quick to recover from, considering it's the biggest bone in your body and quick being about 12 weeks.
Soon after healing, Carter lined up a demo at the Sturgis bike rally, one of the first times in a couple of years he had gotten to ride for his friends and family close to his hometown of Rapid City, S.D. His first jump attempt went awry as he mistimed the landing and overjumped it to flat, setting him back another 12 weeks with a broken tibia and fibula.
Fast forward to 2013, Carter's year was packed full of demos in the United States and he was riding a vast majority of the Nitro Circus Live tour shows around the world. Now that he has some positive momentum back on his side, Carter is closer to putting his dreams in realistic reach.
Looking to be a rider to watch in competitions and valuable sponsor property, the 24-year-old's 2014 looks to be the best one he's had since joining the freestyle circus life of ups and downs -- injuries, traveling and living out of a big blue Ogio suitcase.
While home in Murrieta, Calif., for a brief moment, X Games caught up with Carter to see how his year was going and hear his thoughts on the year ahead.
XGames.com: How have you been since your last two injuries?
Carter: I have been feeling really good after getting hurt twice last year. (I'm) not going to lie, it took a lot longer than I thought it would have to start feeling good on the bike again. I just couldn't get my mind straight with riding but with the support from family, friends, management and great sponsors it really motivated me to work hard, stay focused and be determined to ride my best.
You seemed pretty busy this year, what all did you do?
This year has been awesome and I have been staying very busy. Starting off the year right away (I headed) to Nitro Circus Live tour in Australia for three months, coming right back and feeling a lot better with riding.
I also got to do some demos with Liv Fast, Steel Rodeo Tour, Keith Sayers and also making it to one of the IFMXF Night of The Jumps stops In China.
How good does it feel to be riding again, making a living doing what you love?
I couldn't even explain how awesome it feels to be back on the bike doing what I love to do every day. Getting to ride with all my buddies again and getting to work with such great people on a lot of different ideas (short clip videos, photos and work with sponsors) for this year and next year.
Do you feel like you've got your identity back being on the bike again, traveling, riding in shows?
I'm not sure if it was all there when I started the year off, and it did take me a little while to start to feel confident again on the bike. After I got some shows in and some more practice I was feeling a lot better, was working on keeping my mind focused, body healthy (thanks, Charles at Icon Sports1) and just having fun riding with everyone. I have been working hard to get back to where I was, plus some and things have been going so good I couldn't ask for more.
You haven't competed at X Games, is that something you're aiming for in 2014?
No, I have not been invited to X Games. I was really hoping to be ready to push for an invite in 2013. I feel confident in my riding level now and have high hopes for 2014. X Games 2014 is at the top of my list.
If you were to get an invite, what disciplines would you want to ride?
I would like to be able to ride a couple of the events going at X Games: Freestyle, Speed & Style and Best Whip. They are my main goals for 2014, not really coming from a racing background, I really like the competitive feeling when racing someone. Staying focused with my goals and seeing what all comes together.
Will you be on Nitro Circus Tour here in North America come January?
I am still working out my touring plans for 2014 and we will know soon.