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Chain Reaction: East Coast Hardcore II
The Camp Woodward Experience

Story by: Don Hampton
Photos by: Bill Wallace

Amish farmland, rolling mountains, sparkling trout streams and the sickest sports camp in the world. This place can be none other than Woodward BMX camp in beautiful Penns Valley Pennsylvania. Woodward Camp is the premiere training facility for freestyle BMX, skateboarding, in-line skating and gymnastics, but for a weekend it was a playground for some of the top downhill mountain bikers on the East Coast. The group was assembled to take part in a video shoot for DH Production's up coming release Chain Reaction II.

Sobe/Headshok's Aaron Chase was amazed at the size and quality of the ramps and couldn't wait to get his tires in the air. "Riding at Woodward has always been a dream of mine. I've seen it in countless videos and I've always wanted to come here and ride!"

Most of the riders brought an arsenal of bikes including 20 inch BMX, DS and full on DH rigs to put through their paces. The morning session on Saturday got off to a slow start, as we figured out what bike and what lines would work best without killing ourselves. We started out in "the Cage" which is one of Woodward's outdoor street style courses. I don't know, but none of us have ever encountered any obstacles like these on any street ride we've ever been on. It's amazing at how easy guys like Dave Mirra make it look. Everything is tight and huge. There is something unsettling about dropping in on a ramp that has more vert than not. When you are on top of the deck and look down, all you see is the ground, you have to trust that your bike will make it down and catch the transition. After rolling around and just checking things out we moved inside to explore "Lot 8". Lot 8 has a lot of everything, a huge half pipe, jump boxes, a bowl, quarters, minis, rails and the famous pits. The pit jumps are set up for busting big air over a five-foot ramp without the fear of crashing back down to the hard concrete when a jump goes bad. On one side of the ramp the landing area is a pit filled with foam blocks, much like the fast food playground. On the other side of the ramp there is a fully padded landing area transition lined with resi so you can slide and not get hurt when you fall and you will fall! This jump is were most of the action took place and we all walked away with some new tricks in our repertoire.

The afternoon session on Saturday picked up immensely when one of best BMX vert riders in the world, Jamie Bestwick of GT, showed up for his daily practice session. Jamie was in disbelief and curious that there were mountain bikers riding in a skatepark. We did our best to open his eyes to the fact that mountain bikers can be just as rad on the ramps as we are on the dirt. After watching for few minutes, Jamie was very impressed with the tricks that we were pulling on our mountain bikes. Aaron Chase was busting 360's, wall rides, no handers and a variety of lip tricks, all while aboard his hardtail DS bike with a lefty fork. Lars Tribus of Independent Fabrications was sticking his patented no-footer one-handers and he learned 360's. Mike Fay pulled no handers and 360's for the first time and Todd August of Iron Horse was attempting wall rides. Bestwick schooled us all by showing that he could ride more than vert by launching backflip bar spins over the jump box and flares on the quarter. The session came to a painful end when Mike Hartlove from Racer's Edge/Intense slammed his face on the floor while dropping back in. As a matter of fact, he slammed so hard that he was knocked out for a while. Mike was okay, only a black eye, a couple of minor cuts and a lot of embarrassment.

Sunday's session got nuts, Aaron went off. He was gapping out of the rhythm section in the cage to a transition about twenty feet below. One handed. SICK!! He also was pulling suicide no handers over the massive wooden double, launching five above the quarter and hitting the double backwards. Inside at Lot 8 the backflip was the trick of the day. Aaron learned it first. He stuck his first attempt perfectly on the resi. That was all he needed. The rest of the day he was "flipping like a pancake". We couldn't stop him. " Pulling a backflip was my goal when I found out we were coming to Woodward." explained Chase.

Not to be out done, Lars decided to flip his Intense Tazer into the foam pit. His first attempt he under rotated and came up short. Thank God for the foam. His second attempt he over rotated and almost pulled a double backflip into the foam. Lars went on to do seven more perfect flips into the foam. Each time getting pointers for Jamie Bestwick. Finally, Lars charged at the resi and nailed a perfect backflip and rode away with his hands pumping towards the sky.

Aaron and Lars were both hooked on the feeling of flipping their mountain bikes. Now we have to wait to see who pulls a backflip first at a NORBA National.

Woodward Camp can be contact by calling 814-349-5633 or on-line at The video Chain Reaction II will be available in the fall of 2000 and for more info you can contact DH Productions at 814-422-8468 or email at

Copyright 2000. All rights reserved.