The last race Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo participated in, he won the 250SX East/West Showdown round in Las Vegas. After that, AC went in for an ACL reconstruction and we haven’t seen or heard much from the guy. Well, last week I went down to Florida to work with Adam on a video project (hint: we are attempting to make contact with James Stewart). We had a good time, but I also asked Adam about his recovery from surgery and what’s next.
Racer X: So, how’s the outlook from here, and when can you get on a bike again?
Adam Cianciarulo: So everything is going good, as far as physical therapy. There’s a pretty good protocol. These guys know what they’re doing these days, so everything is going really well with that. It still gets a little bit sore when I’m doing a lot of work on it. I’m in the gym a lot. I’m on the road bike a lot. Doing all the normal stuff. So it still gets a little bit sore, but I’m about a month out from riding right now. Everything feels super tight, super stable. My goal is to be back on the bike sometime around mid-September. Obviously, if I need to wait a week or two, not a big deal. We have plenty of time. But everything feels good.
So you normally ride with Ken Roczen, Chase Sexton, and Austin Root. Do you go out to watch them and hang out or forget about that?
I think that’s something that’s changed for me with this injury from other injuries. I’ve stayed a little bit more in-tune with what’s happening. I’ve gone to a couple races. Of course, I did the commentating at RedBud. I was at Glen Helen and might hit one of these last three races as well. But I’ve been watching every race. I have NBC Sports Gold. I watch the practice shows. I keep up with who’s doing what. I think with previous injuries, I’ve been so bitter and mad at the world and whatever that I get disconnected from it. I really think it helps you mentally to stay in it. So I’ve been staying really attached watching what people are doing. It sucks you’re not out there, but there’s nothing you can do about it.
So do you go out during the week and talk to those guys and watch them do motos?
I have. That was more in the beginning, when I didn’t have a lot going on. But as of right now, there’s kind of more productive things I could be doing most of the time. If those guys are riding a road bike one or two days a week, I’m pretty much on it every day now and kind of putting in the longer base work. Almost getting a little pre-boot camp boot camp in.
When you get back maybe middle of September when you’re really back, does that put you behind if you were to do West at all?
No, I don’t think so. I think being back on the bike in September, I’ll probably ride outdoors for about a month or so, assuming I’m back on supercross in the middle of October. It gives me the rest of October and November and December, and of course if I want to do East Coast, just do East Coast. It’s not like there’s any rush. I think it should be plenty of time. Oftentimes we have almost too much time to get ready for supercross.
Does Mitch Payton say, as soon as you feel comfy, “I need you in California?” Or can you stay here for a little bit? How does that work?
I’m not sure yet. We’re just kind of getting this plan together now because it is starting to come up. I think I have four-and-a-half weeks until my target date of riding. So I’m not sure if I’ll go out to California and kind of get back into it out there, or if I’ll stay here and ride outdoors here. Mitch has been really good about all his riders, giving us freedom of where we want to ride and making sure we have all the resources necessary.
I’m here at your house. What was that noise that just happened?
I believe that was something with my fridge. I’m not quite sure. Those are the types of things that freak me a little bit when I’m here by myself.
Do your neighbors think that you sell drugs, or do they know that you’re a professional athlete?
There’s a couple guys around me that I think they know what I do somewhat. I’ve told them and I think they think I’m joking. I really think most of them think I just have money from probably my parents or something.
You got rave reviews for your work in the booth at RedBud. How was it? What’d you think of yourself and what’d you think of the whole process with GL [Grant Langston] and Weege?
Man, I thought it was really fun. I’ve had the opportunity to do a couple of those things, a couple guest commentating gigs in supercross, but never in outdoors. It was something I wanted to do, and I told them I wanted to do it. I wanted to get out there.
You were all-in.
For sure. They had me doing the practice show, which I was caught off guard with. I didn’t think I was going to do that. That’s really difficult. They send you out there on the track and with the camera guy. You kind of control where the mule goes, where you go on the track and what you want to talk about and all that stuff. It’s a lot different than just being in the booth and being a guest and kind of following along and tagging along with what Weege and GL were saying. I have so much respect for what those guys do, especially just having to be so on it and so dialed with what you say all the time.
Not only that, you’ve got to get it in a certain time. You can’t ramble. In and out.
Absolutely. People don’t realize it. “All right, Weege, we’re cutting to a commercial and you need to close it out in ten seconds. Ten, nine, eight….” “Joey Savatgy leads. Come back in-….” “Eight, seven….” It’s difficult.
We don’t know what the future is going to hold for you, but if things go right, ’19 is your last year on a 250?
Yeah. I’m not a big fan of talking about what’s going to happen in a couple years from now. My goal is to give my absolute best. I want to be at the best I can possibly be on a 250. I want to win everything that I’m capable of winning, and that’s it. Then we’ll figure it out.
We’ve had some time in the truck, and I was telling you, you have the speed. It’s obvious by the number of times you win heat races or qualify fastest. You have a great team and bike behind you that supports you. You work really hard on your training program, and you’re serious about it off the bike. The last part of the equation is winning a championship. I think like Aaron Plessinger, it’s going to just click for you. It’s going to fall into place for you. There’s too many things that you have to the lock to unlock the combination to not do it.
Right, yeah. I feel like having a couple solid years in supercross at least has helped me in the sense of, like, in 2017, for example. I felt like a rookie again because it had been three years since I’d raced supercross. Last year kind of coming in, I felt like I had it all together, and then I learned some more stuff. So I’ve been close both times and I feel like I’m only getting better. Obviously, of course, the knee sucks. Had to take a few months off, but I really don’t think it’s going to hinder my progress. Especially more than anything, it’s just wrapping your mind around what you’re supposed to do and being able to execute it. That comes from being there and living in those moments and making those mistakes. I think it just comes from experience. I think now that I have more of it, too, it’s only going to increase my odds of success.
You’re not a guy to make excuses, but how much did the knee bug you this year in supercross?
It didn’t bug me a whole lot during outdoors last year, if I’m honest. I didn’t ride. I did at Indianapolis, and then I didn’t ride during the week for a few weeks when I was racing. But that wasn’t too bad. Then once outdoors started and once I kind of got into it a little bit, it really didn’t bother me. I was doing everything normal in the gym and on the bike. It was fine. Then at the USGP, I redid it. I hyper-extended it again, and then after that, it was terrible. I had to get it drained a couple times a week. The biggest parts, I noticed, was coming out of corners, going up the face of the jump. When you’re really supposed to kind of—a lot of the good guys stand up so they can drive forward, and that was a real struggle for me. Obviously, the left-hand corners, if I dabbed that thing at all, it felt like somebody was shoving a needle in my knee. It was difficult for me. It’s hard to put it in, “I would have won this,” or “I would have won that.” It was just a nuisance. When it came to training and riding, there were some days I had to take off. You just could never really get into a flow.
I’ve become buddies with Austin Root through my privateer shows. I got him a Groot butt patch. He’s riding with you. He’s a good kid. What’s it like having Groot around?
Austin is really cool. He’s the nicest guy in the world.
It’s great for him to ride with you guys.
Yeah. He’s stoked to ride with us. He’s appreciative of it. Definitely not some snobby kid. He’s cool to be around. You just see the raw passion. He’s really eager to do better. He wants to learn. It’s fun having him on the bike. He’s just a goofy, fun dude to be around. It’s always good to have somebody that kind of brings the energy up.
The last couple days we’ve been doing this vlog for Stew. We’re trying to find him. We love him. We want him back. We’re not giving anything away.
It was two eight-hour days of filming. We have Pancake, our film guy, that offered to do our filming for free, so that was nice of him. Called into your show. Came to my house.
You just let a stranger hang out with you.
Yeah, and many other people. I asked the public. I had a really good time. I’m stoked we did it. When we first kind of thought it up, I didn’t think it was really going to happen, and then you’re like, we got the flights booked!
The whole thing was, we were not making fun of James. We’re fans.
We’re big fans. We love James. It’s obviously lighthearted and in a positive light.
I didn’t know that you had never really spoken to him.
He’s one of the only guys. I don’t remember ever saying a word to him. I really don’t. I’m sure I have. I’ve always been a fan, though. Coming from Florida, I grew up riding this track called Bithlo in central Florida, and in ’03, ’04, he’d come out there on his 125 and would just be shredding around. I’m just a kid, just kind of getting into it. I’m like, oh my god. What is happening? He’s kind of always had that aura about him. I’d pass him on track walk my rookie year and be like, “Holy shit, that’s James.” I think it was a fun deal. I think the people will like it.