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Less Than 1000 Words
About One Day at the XGames 2001.
It is Saturday morning and I have only slept for 4 hours. Choices: sleep in, get rested and go riding or get up at 6:30am, drink stale coffee and drive two hours to the city of brotherly love and worship our idols and rub shoulders with industry people? I think the choice is clear: battle the heat, humidity, droves of grommets and stand on lines at the X Circus.
I have to start by stating that a 2-hour drive is better then a 6-hour flight any day. The circus was moved to the Philly and I am happy. The drive down was uneventful and parking was plenty but that is where it all ended. The facilities were nice but the indoor venue did not hold the same vibe as the venue in San Fran. It was hot in Philly and you could see the riders were struggling with the heat. By the time the competitors got to the finals in park they looked spent. Mirra and Nyquist looked exhausted and were not riding near their best. We saw almost all the BMX heavyweights getting schooled by the "hitching post": a 4-foot rail that sat between the "liberty bowl" and quarter pipe. It seems that the strike zone for riders was a little different this year. Ultra burly was out and tech was in. Mirra attempted a double back flip multiple times and never made it. We watched a virtual unknown (Photo: Left.), to the outside world, Bruce Crisman, take the show by riding consistently and technically! His runs were flawless and a joy to watch. He was having fun and just laying it down all over the park. But enough about results!
I want you all to know that the XGames are much better on TV, even with press credentials. We waited on line for more then an hour under the sun sweating our collective asses off and did not get into the stands. Finally, we had to take some initiative and sneak onto the stands through a hole in the fence near the press area to get good views. The press area was buried behind the box jump and liberty bowl and had limited visibility. So for all you cats who wish you had credentials, do not fret - they were little help outside at the park. Oh, one more thing … the music was too loud and the commentators had to yell over it.
Inside at dirt jumping we got a good spot on the floor with plenty of visibility, air conditioning and carpet to sit on. The dirt jumps were set up inside the arena. The course was your typical 6-pack and then a 4-pack. The riders would start on this huge starting ramp; they braked a lot, hit the 6 pack then ride up the opposite starting ramp. They would turn around and ride down and hit the 4-pack. The hits were the typical shape and size. Not much in the way of lines you could transfer on. We watched the typical heavyweights doing their standard tricks. I did see a couple of attempts at back flip 360s by Todd Lyons. I love that trick. I think the most notable part of dirt jumping prelims was watching the little kids begging Mat Hoffman to sign autographs. I swore the rail between the stands and the press area was going to collapse under the weight of 30+ kids hanging over and begging him (Photo: Below.). I have to say that Mat Hoffman is one of those people that does wonders for our sport. He is so humble with the kids. He spent about 15 minutes telling the kids he couldn't sign for them. Finally, some kid yelled, "Mat you're hurting a whole bunch of little kids' feelings over here!" A couple minutes latter he walked up to the group and told them 5 autographs. 30-40 later, he was still at it. The kids were passing him Nyquist posters to sign, hats and books. I even saw a bald guy getting Hoffman's John Hancock. He was super cool about it!
Rock on Hoffman!
The XGames were a lot of fun this year. I met some super people like Sally from Adidas and Pete from Haro. Just a shameless plug, check out the Nyquist shoes from Adidas, hopefully I will have a pair to review soon. And check out the new Backtrail cruiser from Haro, which we reviewed recently in our Cruiser Review! Pete and I shared a moment thinking about the joys of a perfect Dirt Jumping Cruiser. Hopefully, I will getting a 2001 model for a long term test.
I got to see some great riding and I witnessed the end of a dynasty in the park. I think everyone should watch all the broadcasts of the XGames, this way the sponsors keep paying and we get to watch our favorite thing in the world on corporate America's wallet! Thank you ESPN for having us! Thank your Maria for hooking us up at the last minute with our credentials. You will hear more from me on the XGames soon!
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