It’s important for Jake Weimer to finish the remainder of 2014 with a long list of impressive results; his contract at Monster Energy Kawasaki is up at the end of the season, but a shoulder injury at San Diego has forced him to miss the bulk of the Supercross season. After a six-week break, including extensive therapy, Weimer is back on the bike and looking to make his mark in the field. “The last month has been good, because the last half of my physical therapy was good and I was doing stuff that I felt like a six year old wouldn't be doing,” he said in a phone call.
What happened at San Diego and what was the exact injury?
It started at Anaheim One, when I crashed with Eli. I never went to the doctor or anything, but my shoulder was kind of bothering me. It wasn't super painful, I had some pain that night and for a couple of days, but my shoulders just kept getting tired and all of a sudden would shut down. I had been trying to build it up, to rehab it and get better, and during the first timed practice at San Diego it was feeling better. I don't know if it was random, but I have to assume that it has something to do with it. I landed on the Tuff Blocks in a rhythm section and my shoulder popped out and dislocated, and I broke a bone in my left hand.
Did it require surgery?
Sometimes, but luckily mine didn't. I got two MRIs and went to two different doctors so that I had two opinions, but they both told me pretty much the same thing. It was at the point where there was some damage, but the best route would to be rehabbing it and then coming back with it as good as it was, or close to it. They felt that was the best route to go, and obviously it works out better for me.
And there's no unnecessary time off of the bike...
Yeah, because shoulder surgery can vary, but still has a very long downtime of three or four months.
How long did you have to wait until starting a rehab process? Did you need to wait for swelling and other issues to go do?
I put my shoulder in a sling and didn't move it for two weeks, and then in the third week started with really mellow movements, without even using weights. It progressed from there to doing exercises with three-pound weights, five-pound weights, and rubber bands, so it started slow and progressed.
I saw you the week after at the race in Dallas, but none since. Is it good to get a break from being there, to get away and put time in to heal?
It's a catch twenty-two. It's nice to have a little downtime, but I like going to the races and being there. It's one of those situations where we don't get much time, so when you are hurt, you have to take advantage of it and relax. I'd like to be there, but it is nice to take a breather.
What have you done to stay in shape?
In the first week I was riding my stationary bicycle, but it was around a month until anything else. I was back on the bike in six weeks.
Is the plan to make it back in time for the last rounds of Supercross or to wait for the Nationals and be fresh?
I don't know now and I'm playing it by ear, because I just started riding. I feel really good, but when you take six weeks off, you get blisters on your hands and have to go through all of that. My shoulder is good and feels solid, so I am not worried about that, but it needs to get some more strength. I actually just got done riding today, and it is the best today that it has been since I started riding. Things are progressing and I will race as soon as I think it is ready. I would like to do some Supercross rounds, but I'm not sure yet since I haven't ridden it yet. I'm just taking it day by day now. I was going to ride just three days this week, but I felt really good so I ended up riding four days in a row.
Did Randy Lawrence tailor a new training program for you to build strength back and work around your shoulder?
Yeah, and with all of the physical therapy they give you specific exercises that build the muscles that need to be rebuilt. We have a lot of shoulder exercises and that is our main focus now.
In your episode of Troy Adamitis' Behind The Dream Supercross special, things comes across as questionable for next year and then you have an injury come in. How do you feel after doing the show? Is it pretty cut and dry, like "This is how things are"?
I don't think anyone needs to read into it super deep, because I didn't say anything on that show that everyone doesn't already know. To keep a top level ride, you need to do well. Maybe just because I said it and it is on TV, but I don't know. I don't think it is that big of a deal or that I said anything crazy, but it is hard for me right now. He sent the episode to me before it aired and asked if it was okay or if I wanted any changes, and it is so hard for me to watch because I feel so helpless and there is nothing I can do. Obviously I'll be able to race again soon and I'll try to do something, which I'm confident in. It's tough when you are hurt, because when it came out I wasn't even cycling or much yet. But the bottom line is I don't think I said anything crazy or that everyone doesn't already know. This is how the sport works.
Does this put more pressure on you when you do come back? Do you feel like you are racing for a ride next year based on twelve or fifteen races?
No, because that's not me. Whenever I am on the gate, I want to do good regardless. In my whole Lites career, all five years, I never once had a two-year deal; I always had one-year deals and tried to do the best I could. And that is the way it is now. I want to do well for my team and myself. Everyone involved and in my corner works hard and they want to see me do well, and that is what we are trying to do. I got hurt, I'm trying to come back, and when I am back I want to get good results.
After making the changes to your program this year by working with Randy and moving back to California, you look to be riding your best. What do you expect when you come back?
The Supercross deal got off to a rough start with the crash; it was tough and I was a little bit beat up, it had some ups and downs and didn't start the way I wanted. But I feel like I can be competitive. I took six weeks off and already feel like I am riding really well. There is still some work to do after being off the bike, but I expect to be in the top five and fighting for podiums. That's what I want to do.