Nevada’s Basagoitia places 2nd at Teva Mountain Games despite fall
VAIL, Colorado – As the saying goes, “The show must go on,” and it did during Friday’s Teva Mountain Games slopestyle biking competition at Golden Peak in Vail.
Paul Basagoitia, of Minden, Nev., likely had the best run of the day going Friday when he attempted double backflip on the course’s final feature, The Big Booter, which looks exactly as it sounds.
He went down hard and was “knocked out,” according to the venue announcers. Medical personnel attended to Basagoitia, who was initially motionless, immobilizing him, putting him on a stretcher and then loading him into an ambulance for tests at the Vail Valley Medical Center.
As he left on stretcher he raised both of his arms to a supportive and cheering crowd, indicating that he was OK.
“We’re all good friends and we all support each other,” said Anthony Messere, a 15-year-old competitor from Surrey, British Columbia. “When you see someone fall like that, it’s scary.”
“Paul’s a buddy,” said San Diego’s Mike Montgomery. “Definitely, it’s hard to see a dude go down. It’s kind of bad to say, but I had to step it up, and the guys around me had to step it up too. We’re all friends but we’re in an event. We do have to compete against each other, but we’re all homies off the bike.”
And, after a long pause, they completed the slopestyle competition with Montgomery taking the gold, Basagoitia finishing second, despite his fall, and Messere third.
“He’ll be back and stronger,” Montgomery said of Basagoitia.
As for Montgomery, he laid it out on his second run to capture the win.
“I started off with a little creativity,” said Montgomery, 24. “I just jumped up on my seat to trick off. I did a flip-bar halfway through and then just linked it together and kept it flowing.”
The aforementioned flip bar, or bar-hip backflip, came on a part of the course known as Double Dip, two huge mounds of dirt, where many other riders slipped a pedal or fell. The execution of such a difficult trick on such a perilous feature had to boost his point total of 93 with the judges.
But it was his 720 off the Big Booter that sealed it for the Californian.
“It’s good. It’s huge,” Montgomery said of his win. “This brings the sport to the limelight. It’s good to push it and see how far we can go.”
Basagoitia, a former Teva slopestyle champion as well as the two-time defending champion in today’s freeride competition, still managed to put up 92 points in his first run. He ripped a 360 off the course’s first feature, the Roller Coaster, flew off the Launch Box with big air, mastered the Double Dip and finished with a masterful tailwhip.
Meanwhile, youth was served on the podium with Messere. All of 15, he was the top-seeded rider in qualifying and hung with the big boys in the finals.
“I did a tailwhip of the roller coaster, a 360-X-up, and dump-three a tuck and finished with a flipwhip,” Messere said. “It’s a fun course.”
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The Glenwood Springs-Rifle sports rivalry goes way back for GSHS baseball coach and former Demons multi-sport student-athlete Eric Nieslanik.