Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pedal hard, pump harder

What do closing the door, shutting you out, high/low line, low/high line, pumping, and manual all have in common?  BMX of course!

Last weekend was all about BMX.  I raced Rad Canyon Indoor BMX Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  The folks over at Rad Canyon put on a stellar series.  I have heard that their outdoor series is the largest in the country!

Why the attraction to BMX?  I'm not sure.  A few years ago I thought about trying it, but my plate was full and it never really fit in my schedule.  So, since I'm currently not officially training - yet- it is perfect timing to try something different.  I also like that I can go race BMX and have no expectations and therefore no disappointments.  Just pure joy of being silly on my (er....a borrowed) BMX bike.  That is a good thing in my life right now.

I've only ridden a BMX bike four times-the same number of times I've raced- but I've quickly learned that there are other reasons to love BMX.  Here are my top 5 reasons:

  1. No chamois necessary.  That is because in BMX racing you are either standing up hammering or pumping jumps....for about 45 seconds at a time.  There may as well not even be a saddle because you don't sit on it.  Cross-country mountain bikers often joke that chamois time is training time.  I'm not sure how this equates in BMX.  I had NO chamois time last weekend, so I guess no training time?  In case you're wondering what people do wear.  The cool kids wear the equivalent of cross country racer's sponsor kits but in BMX style.  (Baggy, pull-over jersey with sponsor logos and long, baggy pants).  The super cool kids have their name, nickname, and ranking on their jersey.  Since I'm not cool nor super cool at BMX, I wear jeans and a sweatshirt.  
  2. The key to being fast at BMX (as I overheard a 5-year old girl tell her friend) is to pedal REALLY hard and pump REALLY hard.  Sounds simple enough, right?
  3. You don't have to be super fit (although I'm sure the top racers are), but if you are not fit, you better have skills and tactics.  I think if BMX racing were a time trial, I'd do great.  Well, it is not a time trial and I apparently don't have skills or tactics.  I get blocked a lot on the parts of the course where I can go fast and passed a lot on the jumps so that I can then be blocked again where pedaling is required.  
  4. BMX racing has a way of making you feel really young....or old....depending on how you look at it.  Practice is divided into 13 and under and 14 and over.  They don't card you or anything, but I'm pretty sure that I didn't get mistaken for belonging in the 13 and under group.  On the other hand, Sunday I got my ass handed to me by a 12-year-old.  (In my defense, she is supposedly really, really good:)  In BMX (cruiser-24" wheels) there are no categories for beginners, intermediates, or experts.  It is divided by age-group.  If there are not enough people to fill an age-group, they are combined.  Sunday, the youngest person in my race was 12. The oldest in her 40s.  It was awesome!
  5. It appears as though trophies are very important in BMX.  One of the FAQ on the RAD Canyon website is 'How big are the first place trophies?'  In case you are wondering, the answer is...."First place trophies for a regular race are 16-18".  Double points races are larger and triple points can be 36" or taller"!  
  6. Okay, I can't limit it to just five.  Finally, BMX is awesome because it is cheap!  The only requirements are that you wear long pants, long shirt, and a helmet.  Easy enough.  Pretty much any bike goes (in the cruiser group), although having a legitimate BMX cruiser bike appears advantageous.  A full-face helmet is not mandatory, but probably a good idea as well.  Races cost $10.
Me & the Park City dirt jumpers.  We were all BMX newbies.  
(Photo Aaron Kruger)

Old people do BMX.  Photo from old guy (&girl) clinic.  
(I'm bottom right, Shannon is back row ~4 from right)

As for how the racing went....since I had no expectations, AWESOME!  I am most proud of the fact that my starts are improving every singe race.  I went from 2-weeks ago being waaaay off the back at the starts, to last Sunday being 2nd (behind that dang 12-year old) until the first big jump where I proceeded to get passed by 3 girls and then shut out in the first corner where I can go fast.  So according to that 5-year old girl, since I can pedal hard, I just need to learn how to pump hard and I will be fast at BMX.  Simple enough!


  1. Hilarious! Esp. Liked the listening in on the 5 year old girls "winning strategy". Almost as good as my dads advice on my 1st bmx race back when I was a kid, go that way really fast son! Lol. Good to see you taking a break and just enjoying the experience. Enjoy your holidays J.H. Take care, look forward to your next blog

  2. I have actually read a lot of your blog posts in the last hour. I really enjoy what you are doing here. (And as a writer of fantasy novels, I'm enjoying looking at different aspects of that when you go through them in blog post). And truly, I love world-culture building.