It was just two weeks ago that Kevin Windham was rushed to the hospital after coughing up blood following his hard get-off when he and James Stewart got together while battling for the lead at the Las Vegas Supercross. Today, the 33-year-old veteran is preparing to compete in the opening round of the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Champion at Hangtown, where he'll be going up against some riders nearly 15 years younger.

He was on the fence, however, about making the switch from the indoors to the outdoors, but when he was asked to fill in for Team Honda's injured riders, Trey Canard and Josh Grant, Windham couldn't say no.Y

esterday, we caught up with Windham who was about to throw a leg over his factory race bike for the first time before tuning up on the Hangtown track.

First of all, what have you been doing between the Las Vegas Supercross and now? Basically, I've been doing a lot of rest and recovery.

What made you decided to come to Hangtown and ride the Nationals? Last Saturday. To be honest, I thought about stepping away from the outdoors this year, but something felt right about doing it, plus I'm in a position to ride a factory Honda while the other riders get back from injury - Trey Canard and Josh Grant. I don't know, it just felt right, and I got cleared to race by my doctor, so for me, it's just one of those things where it's fun and there's not a lot of high pressure.

Have you tested your outdoor bike yet? No, there hasn't been any time for training and testing. Right now, I'm just using other rider's specs, and it should be good. But, like I said, there's no pressure and I think that this is when I can be the most dangerous - just go out and have fun. I've had no training on the outdoor bike, I've done some riding on my Supercross bike and now I'm here getting ready for the National. I wanted to come out for press day and get a little riding on the factory Honda bike. I've been riding motocross on Supercross suspension, so I know it's going to feel good today.

What if you're doing well in the championship when Trey and Josh come back? We will evaluate the situation after three rounds and whenever Josh is supposed to come back and when Trey comes back, we'll just see how it goes. If I'm doing well, Honda is committed to keeping me around for the rest of the season. If I'm not, we'll just let the other two come back and get back to it, and I'll kind of fade off into the sunset and get ready for Supercross in 2012.

What kind of injuries did you have from you Las Vegas crash? I had internal bleeding. I hit my head pretty good. I laid on the ground, then rode back to the infield. I wanted to watch the end of the race. At least I had the wits about me on how [the race] was going to shape out to the end [of the series]. Halfway through, I started feeling like this kind of gargle, a bubble in my stomach, I coughed one good time and just blood went everywhere. That kind of freaked me out. I went back to the medical unit and they started pushing on my stomach and I was having a lot of pain right where my spleen is and that's a huge reason for concern, so we started an i.v. at the track and then rushed me to the emergency room where they ran a CT scan pretty much from head to my midsection to check my lungs, spleen and my head. I ended up having a little bit of blood from both my lungs and my spleen. Everything has dried up since and I'm good to go.

How would you summarize your Supercross season. Supercross season kind of bummed me. I had some good rides but DNF'd three of the first seven races, which left me in horrible position in the points, but at the end of the year, I had the realization I could've won Houston, and a lot of fans were saying I was looking so good in Vegas that I had the potential to do good there. I also had the fastest qualifying times at two of the Supercross rounds, that's all really good stuff, especially at 33 years of age, and that kind of got me motivated to push that much harder next year. I had the speed but there were times I was way off, that's the work I want to focus on during the off season - how I can have the speed every weekend. My best weekend I feel like I can do it, but my worst weekend, I'm way off. I'm optimistic for 2012.Have you already finalized your plans for 2012?Yeah, I'll be with the Factory Connection, GEICO team for 2012, and then hopefully [sign] one more contract [for 2013]. As long as I can continued to be a threat to win races and ride well and have a chance.

 

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Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.

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