Quite a few riders will be making comebacks from injuries at Anaheim I, but the one rider that everyone has to be the most anxious to see back on the track again is Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard, the Honda rider who suffered a broken back in a gruesome crash nearly a year ago at the Los Angeles Supercross. Not only was it a horrible crash that left him laid up for over half a year, but it was another one of many setbacks that he's suffered through his bumpy career. Many doubted that he would ever return after his Dodger Stadium crash, but here he is - ready to go and ready to lineup up with the rest of the stars come Saturday night.
Canard was one of the few riders who got the chance to put in a few laps on the Anaheim track following Thursday's press conference, and he looked to be one of the loosest and relaxed riders on the track, whipping his Honda over the jumps and riding his bike aggressively through the turns. Without doubt, Canard looks more than ready to pick up where he left off.
"I'm just thankful, it's a huge blessing to be here and to be here ready to ride," he said. "I've been to some races to watch this year, but it's just not the same when you show up and you don't have that nervous feeling and being excited to ride. Now I have that feeling and am looking forward to go racing."
Canard has been riding a lot since getting the okay from his doctor to ride again in August, but he hasn't had much experience riding and racing around other riders. Since his L.A. crash, he has only one race under his belt.
"I did a race in Texas in October some time, it was called the Pro Challenge," he said. "I did it just to get a gate drop. It was a small local race but it was fun and I enjoyed it. It was kind of a little bit of a precursor. It was a pretty small race compared to what we're doing here, but that was about it. Otherwise, I've just been training and trying to get ready."
Canard says that his injuries are all healed up and is ready to give it 100 percent again.
"I'm feeling really good. I get old-man aches here and there, but for the most part I'm doing really, really well."
The process of getting back up to speed was pretty slow, he says. His main goal was not to take things too fast.
"When I started riding, I couldn't just go at it," he said. "I really had to take my time and make sure that the graph had taken, the rod and screws and everything were staying settled. For about a month, it was very, very simple riding. I mean, trail riding, corners, and that was about it. It was really basic. I had to be really careful with that. And that helped me start real gradual and take my time.
"By September/October, I was getting into the full swing of things. By the end of October, I was riding Supercross. It's been a really good transitional period, learning how to ride again, and I enjoyed that process."
The Oklahoman feels that he's got his speed back and it's just a matter of racing again with other people around him.
Canard looked relaxed and comfortable on the bike during a ride demonstration at Angel Stadium. Photography By: Kit Palmer
"I feel like my speed is there, for sure. It's now just riding with guys and getting to see the other guys ride. I feel like I'm feeling good and that's really important to me. When the speed is there but you're not feeling good, it's kind of worthless for me, so to feel kind of consistent and strong, I'm very happy with that."
Even though Canard is a seasoned pro, he is human and gets those butterflies in his stomach before any race. No one would blame him if he felt a little more nervous than usual heading into one of the most important races of his career.
"Funny, my nerves are surprisingly in check at this point," he says. "I just think the biggest thing for me is that I'm thankful to be here, and grateful for this chance. So I want to go and make the best of it, and whatever that ends up being, well, I'll just go from there."