The BMX Park Prelims would go down early afternoon on Saturday and the Finals would follow that evening. As we got to the venue we headed straight to the Memorial Coliseum to watch the guys practice and as we took a seat in the completely empty VIP area, we figured we would be able to just chill there at least until they opened the doors to the public if not later. But we were soon told that Media was on the other side of the course, and Alex and I kinda looked at each other like "huh" because directly across is where the riders were so we asked again and they said yes, directly across on the floor from where we had been seated, so we walked over there. We felt so out of place because there was no Media there yet so it literally was us and the riders and their team managers. None of the riders or managers said anything about us being there but still feeling awkward we left to go check out the Festival Village and to find Noah, who was our Media guy, to make sure that's really where we were suppose to be seated haha.
Well, we couldn't find Noah, so we figured we would chance it and headed back to the rider area to watch the beginning of prelims. We took two seats off to the side because we did not want to get in the way of the riders, and just got ready to watch heat one which consisted of: Mike Escamilla, Dave Osato, Cameron White (although he was not there he was still scheduled to compete, go figure that), Jeremy Fanberg, Garrett Reynolds, Diogo Canina, Scott Wirch, Dave Dillewaard, Josh Harrington, Mike Aitken, Tom Haugen, Colin MacKay, Scotty Cranmer, and Alan Cooke. Before the prelims started though, we noticed a lot of riders wearing these light blue shirts and then we saw they said "For Colin" on them, and Ryan Nyquist was selling them with the proceeds going to Colin's Family. So we asked Nyquist how much and he said $15 so Alex and I both bought one and put em on. Then Guettler came to sit with us to watch the first heat of practice and noticed our shirts, asked Nyquist for one but Nyquist ran out, so I gave Guettler mine, but it was so awesome, yet again, to see so many riders saluting a pioneer in the BMX world. Those who ended up wearing the shirt either for Prelims, Finals or both were: Mike Escamilla, Josh Harrington, Colin MacKay, Mike Laird, Alan Cooke, Morgan Wade, Koji Kraft, Chris Doyle, Dennis McCoy, Dave Mirra, Gary Young, Ryan Nyquist, Ali Whitton, Chad Kagy, Rob Darden, Steven McCann and Ryan Guettler. (Side Note: To Purchase a shirt for yourself head on over to www.kampclothing.com all proceeds go directly to Colin's family!!)
Back to the action at hand, so when Guettler came to sit with us, we kind of got distracted from watching the riders but what I do remember from the first heat is Cranmer basically went out and rode like it was the finals..he was on top of his game!!! It was so hard to keep up with what he was pulling because he was combining so many things that boy is not human on a bike. The second heat of prelims consisted of: Morgan Wade, Michael Cleveland, Koji Kraft, Brett Walker, Chris Doyle, Dennis McCoy, Dave Mirra, Gary Young, Mike Parenti, Ryan Nyquist, Ali Whitton, Chad Kagy, Rob Darden, Steven McCann and Ryan Guettler. Now, considering Guettler was riding one might think we would have paid attention but no, we were still in awe of were we were sitting and we kinda were listening into and laughed at the conversations going on around us, so sadly we missed most of the prelim action but those advancing into the finals are 10th to 1st: Alan Cooke (87.25), Mike Aitkin (87.25), Steven McCann (87.50), Ali Whitton (87.50), Ryan Nyquist (99.75), Josh Harrington (89.25), Ryan Guettler (90.25), Morgan Wade (91.25), Dave Mirra (93.00) and Scotty Cranmer (94.00).
The BMX Park finals would be the final BMX competition of the weekend so everyone was out to support and watch the action unfold, including a pretty much packed coliseum full of screaming kids watching their idols compete only a few feet away from them. Nyquist's first run consisted of him pulling no-handed back flip, wall ride, 720 over the spine, flair, 360, 360 bar spin over the box, 720 over box, a back flip into the half pipe thing and ending with a tail whip which got him a score of 92.75. Guettler's first run was a 360 turn down, tail whip, 720 over the box, wall ride, back flip, double tail whip over the box, 360, 360 tail whip, 360, flair, 360 and ending with a front flip over the box earning himself a 92.00. Wade came next with a huge transfer, 360 turn down, no hander, 720 over the box, and then his bike died so he somehow had three bikes thrown at him to use, Alan Cooke's one Nyquist found and I think Cranmer's but he chose Cooke's and preceded to pull a bike flip before his time ended giving himself a score of 83.75. The announcer even made a comment that he bets that was the first time Cooke's ever seen his bike do a bike flip. Mirra followed with a back flip, bar-spin back flip, double tail whip, 360 whip over the spine but he landed awkward and wiped out. When he got back on his bike he pulled a clean back flip and then preceded to attempt a double tail whip but didn't pull that either and called it ending up with a score of 83.75. Last to take his first run was Cranmer who came out on fire and riding to Britney Spears' "Toxic" which according to some is his theme song..pulled a flair, 360, front flip, tail whip, switch foot to 360 tail whip, 720, x-up tail whip, 360, bar-spin, tail whip and ending with a 360 which got him a score of 92.50 right behind Nyquist. Second Run highlights started with Aitken's run where he attempted a foot plant to 180 but couldn't pull it out, and then attempted a 180 off the spine but yet again couldn't pull it, his second run score would be 82.25. McCann's second run featured a no-handed transfer, 360, wall ride, 360 x-up, bar spin, 360 bar spin, 720 over the spin, 360 bar spin over spine, 360 over the box, 720 over the box, and a flair but he came down hard on that which got him a score of 89.50. Whitton's second run started off with a huge superman over the box but he wiped out on a double tail whip, then tried this off-axis 360 thing but fell, then pulled a back flip over the spine but landed on the box and lost his shoe ironically and then called it a day earning himself an 82.00. Nyquist's second run consisted of a back flip bar spin over box, wall ride, 720 over spine, flair, 360 bar spin, 360 bar spin again, no hander, 360 bar spin over box but fell earning himself a score of 84.75. Guettler's second run was a 720 over the spine but didn't have the speed to ride it out so he ended up tossing his bike, when he gets back on he attempts a 720 whip over the box but falls, but gets back on and pulls a huge front flip for the crowd, since they seem to LOVE those, and Guettler got a 84.75 for that run. Wade's second run was a table top transfer, wall ride, no hander, 720 over box, turndown over spine, 360 over spine, flair, tail whip, superman tail whip over box, and attempted the bike flip but couldn't ride this one out so he ended up with a score of 89.00. Mirra's second run was bar spin back flip, double tail whip over the box but fell landing it, got back up attempted a flair whip over the half pipe thing but fell again and got up to attempt a double tail whip backflip only to fall and call it quits by throwing his helmet into the crowd!! His run got a score of 82.50. To round out the second run's Cranmer came out with a flair, 360, front flip, tail whip, 360, bar spin x-up, cross-legged 360 whip, 720, turndown to tail whip over box, double tail whip over box but fell landing and also lost his shoe and ended it there with a score of 86.75. When it was all said and done the results from 10th to 1st are: Mirra (83.75) Cooke (85.50), Aitkin (86.50), Harrington (87.75), Wade (89.00), Whitton (89.50), McCann (89.50), Guettler (92.00), Cranmer (92.50), Nyquist (92.75) and that concludes the BMX competitions of the Vans Invitational in Portland, OR.Cathy