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A Short Convo with A-Ray

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CycleTrader/Rock River Yamaha’s Alex Ray will return to racing in Seattle after rupturing his patella tendon and dislocating his wrist during practice in February. We had the chance to talk with him in the pits on Friday, and well, it was great. Read on.

Exhaust: What’s up Alex, Aaron with Racer X. Got a minute?
Alex Ray: Yeah, man, of course! You might not know it, but I’m a Racer X guy, I’ve got Pulp MX stickers on my helmet. There’s a connection, that’s something, right? 

You might as well have Transworld stickers on there.
I’m like [Jason] Weigandt, I’m cheap, those stickers count.

Dude, we can get you some Racer X stickers.
[Laughs]

Seriously though, when I heard about your injury, I thought you were done for the year. Than you said you’d be back for the last two or three, and now you’re back even sooner than that. What the hell?
It’s where I honestly wanted to return. When I first got the news, yeah, it seemed like my season was going to be over, obviously, but after the surgery and everything,  it wasn’t as bad as the doctor had thought. What I did, I dislocated my wrist and poked a hole in my patella tendon. In San Diego actually I poked a little hole, and got it stitched up. Then when I crashed later in practice, a footpeg went back into my knee and punctured an even bigger hole in the same spot. So yeah, that obviously required a bit of surgery to stitch up the patella tendon. That was sore, but the main thing was dislocating my wrist. Honestly man, I did everything in my power to get it better. I listened to the doctor, I did therapy, and I’m still doing therapy and getting it stronger. It’s a longshot for me to be racing this weekend, but I’ve had a few good days on the bike, I feel pretty comfortable, so might as well just send it!

Might as well! Why not come back for what might be the nastiest race of the year?
Yeah, it’s a mud race, we’ll be singling and doubling! Who knows what it’s going to be like tomorrow. It might be a mud race and they might pull the tarps off and the track is perfect. You never know. But I’m just happy to be back.

How many days have you been back on the bike?
Three. 

Three?! I think Josh Hill probably had more prep than that!
Okay, so, the first day, I got the pin out of my wrist on Monday, I loaded my stuff up on Wednesday and went to Milestone. Should not have been riding outdoors with supercross suspension. Haven’t been there in a while. They turned the track around and I didn’t even know that. Everything looked the same! I was one of the first guys out there, got on it backward, and was like, ‘Okay, these guys are coming straight for me! I’m going to turn around because I’m going the wrong way on the track!’ 

You’ve been off the bike for too long man!
Yeah, I’ve been off the bike way too long! So I turn around, apparently some guy, I don’t know who it was, texted Steve [Matthes] and told him I flew off the track and into the infield. No. I hit a dirt clod and then flew off the track. I hit this big dirt clod with supercross suspension and then flew off the track. But, honestly, my wrist was so sore that day I only did like five laps and left. I gave it another shot on Monday, rode some supercross, and my wrist started feeling better. I made some huge strides from there. I rode Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week, and it’s good. I can hit whoops, triples, jumps, all that, with pretty much no pain at all. Also, I hit the guys up at All Sport Dynamics, Jeff Brewer, and got a wrist brace. That’s helping out a bunch.

What’s the motivation for coming back this quickly?
Motivation? I don’t want to be on that couch anymore! I was tired of watching the guys on TV. I was like, ‘Man, I should be out there, this sucks!’ I’m just not the type of guy to be sitting around. I wanted to ride my road bike, my mountain bike, but I couldn’t. I’d just be spinning my legs on the trainer watching the races. It just motivated me to get back sooner and be the best Alex I could be. I actually talked to Steve [Matthes] and he was like, ‘I don’t think you should be racing.’

Really?
He cares! He cares man. 

I feel like I shouldn’t record this part. He doesn’t need that getting out.
[Laughs] If you know him you know he’s a nice guy. He cares.