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5 Minutes With... Ryan Sipes

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Coming back from injury is never easy, especially with as lengthy a recovery as Muscle Milk/MDK KTM’s Ryan Sipes recently had.  Not only did he miss much racing, he was absent at a time when riders really needed to prove their worth.  Still, the Kentuckian persevered and came back without lacking any speed and running top ten during much of his first moto back at Unadilla.  By the season finale, Sipes scored a very impressive fourth overall at Steel City.  Here is what Ryan Sipes had to say about his time off.

  • Ryan Sipes just missed the podium at Steel City, going 6-5 to finish behind Wharton's 8-3.
Racer X: Ryan, before talking about the past few race weekends, tell us what happened with your injury and lengthy recovery.
Ryan Sipes: Well, at the Seattle supercross, I cased the triple, putting my hands out when I landed.  I dislocated my wrist, and it was a stage IV injury – some kind of fancy term dislocation.  So they had to go in, sew the ligaments together, and cast it for eight weeks.  Then I had to have therapy for two months.  I’ve just been starting to get back at it, riding for about 6 weeks. I’m just now getting to where I can do two motos at home. At my first weekend back at Unadilla I couldn’t finish both motos because my home track is not near as rough as a national track. When I get to the races, it’s way rougher.

If I recall correctly, you put in some pretty good Supercross rides before your injury. 

It’d been alright, a little bit up and down.  I had some decent speed, but then I’d get out in the race and I’d tighten up.  I had a lot of sixths and sevenths, along with a couple fifths.  Then in Seattle, I felt really good, and I was second fastest in practice; I just got a bad start.  When you get back out of the top five, it’s really easy to get stuck in the other riders pace, that’s kind of what I did.  I was just riding around behind Michael Hall.  I actually went for a pass, trying to jump the triple from the inside, and just came up short. 

While you may have been still able to do some form of training, it’s difficult to have that much time off and come back immediately to racing isn’t it?

Yeah it’s real hard, even though my trainer Steve Hess had me doing a lot of stuff.  I was in a cast, but actually could do a lot of running while I was hurt.  I couldn’t ride my bicycle, and I still can’t for a long time.  About an hour and a half is all I’ve got on a road bicycle.  I did a lot of running, lost some weight, but getting back on the bike, yeah it’s a whole different deal.  I’m in great shape running wise, on the bike, it’s a little different.   

This could be a really dumb question Ryan, but is there anything good that comes out of being injured like you were? 

Well, you’ve got to take something good out of it, or you’ll just be depressed.  I think you need to learn stuff. You sit back and watch; I watched a lot of racing on video.  I didn’t have anything else to do; I was just sitting on a couch with a cast on my arm. Watching people ride helps me out a lot.  I used to kill myself training; I’d get to the race on the weekend and be tired.  Or during the week, I’d be trying to do motos, and go fast and work on certain skills, but I was so tired it wasn’t doing me any good.  My trainer’s got me doing a little less training and more riding now, especially since I got so much training in while I was hurt and couldn’t ride.  I trained five days a week.  Now we’ll take that back a notch and just ride a lot, as much as my wrist will take.  It’s all about adaptability, how you can adapt to your situation, because I can’t ride as much as I’d like to.  My trainer doesn’t want me training so much where I’m worn out all the time.  I’ve got some pretty cool, unique things to train with now.  Obviously it sucks to be hurt, but it’s been fun to try to adapt to it and just do the best I can with it. 

  • Sipes is now a member of the large
Going into next year with the economy I’m sure that it has been a bad time to be out injured, what are you hearing about the 2010 season?
Just pretty much that everybody’s going to downsize a lot.  There’s going to be fewer jobs, and I think the pay scale is going to go down a lot.  I can make it on less money; it’s just getting a ride.  I just want good bikes so I can go out and do well.  As you said, it has been not to my benefit to be hurt, but on the flip side it’s kind of good as nobody’s really signed any deals yet.  Nothing’s happening yet, so I had a chance to come back and maybe run up front a little bit before everything happens.  In the past years, I would’ve already had my deal done by now.  So you know, it’s kind of good and bad, but its better that it’s taking longer so I could get back out here, and do my thing. 

So you haven’t really been focusing on silly season, just racing?

I have had so much just going on with just trying to ride, I’ve tried to stay focused on that.  I haven’t even really thought about going out to impress anybody, I’ve been trying to get out there and finish two motos and get back where I was last year in the top five.  I know that I can, it’s just getting it all put back together.  Like last year when it built up, I started in seventh and eighth, and I just built up to the top five, and got in the top three a couple times.  Now I was starting over again, but I think I learned a lot while I was hurt.  I think that I could come out and skip a couple of those steps, and get it up there - that’s what I was hoping for. 

What have you been thinking coming into these last races?

Just to do my best, if I go out and say, “Oh, I’ve gotta impress somebody,” it’s not like I’m going to ride better; I’m just going to go out and race.  I’ve just focused on getting a good start, and running at the front as long as I can.  If I had to back off a little bit and get a fifth or a sixth, that’s fine.  At my first race back (Unadilla) I ran eighth the whole moto until three or four laps to go, but then had arm pump so bad that I couldn’t hang on.  So I know I can be up there, it’s just getting a good start and staying loose.  I feel like if I can run at the front for half the moto, I’ll be set.  I’ll be able to cruise on in for a top five - that’s what I felt like I could do.  

Before we sign off, do you want to add anything?

I just want to thank my family and my team for sticking by me, and still giving me a great bike.  I came back with only a few races left, and they provided me with an awesome bike, so that’s cool.  Also I want to thank the good Lord for keeping me safe, and letting me come back to race.  The very first thing the doctor said to me was “This is a bad injury,” but I can ride now, so I’m very happy.
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