Grand Valley BMX welcomes 1,000 riders to Mile High Nationals race
WHAT: Mile High Nationals BMX Racing
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, Aug. 21-23
WHERE: Mesa County Fairgrounds BMX Track, 2785 Highway 50, Grand Junction.
COST: $10 per day parking, $25 for weekend parking, free to watch
It’s a family affair when it comes to BMX. Kristi and Nick Adams, track operators, have been involved since 2006. Their son, Steven, is a member of the Colorado Mesa University’s cycling team, riding BMX.
With the Adams continued effort to spread their love of BMX, they have successfully built and opened an Olympic-sized start ramp and track at Mesa County Fairgrounds (2785 Highway 50, Grand Junction). The total cost for the project was around $600,000.
“It’s suitable for young kids and professional riders,” Nick said. “It’s great for the economy and great for local racers and kids in the sport to race on a new home track. The track is one of the best tracks in the country, in my opinion.”
The old track held a national race in 2009, which Nick confirmed sparked the project for the new track.
Mile High Nationals is one of 30 national races across the United States and one of four stops for the super cross series in the U.S. The new track is one of three completed tracks with a super cross and Olympic-sized starting hill. It is expected to attract more than 1,000 riders to the area, which includes the top professional riders from around the world.
Nationals is set for Friday through Sunday, Aug. 21-23, at the new track. While it is free to watch, parking will cost $10 per day, or $25 for the weekend. Racing starts at 5 p.m. on Friday, noon on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday. The races are an Olympic-qualifying event. The new starting hill is 26-feet high.
“For me, as a person that grew up racing BMX and has operated the track with my wife, it’s exciting to bring another national race to Grand Junction,” Nick said.
Aaron Blee, who has been racing BMX since he was six years old, now 12, is excited for the new track.
“It’s way better and a lot smoother,” he said.
He hopes to attend the world competition in 2017 and get into the Olympics and be a professional by 2020.
“Being a mom, there are a lot more opportunities with the new track,” said Theresa Kahl, mother of Aaron. “There are already riders that the kids have looked up to that come from the front range or going to school at Colorado Mesa University. It helps bring more advanced riders to the areas to push the limits and give local riders something to look forward to.
MORE ABOUT BMX
BMX, also known as bicycle motocross, started in the early 1970s in southern California. It has since spread across the country and now has more than 370 tracks throughout the United States. Many tracks are open all year, depending on weather.
Races are held every Sunday at Grand Valley BMX, beginning in March and concluding Dec. 15 of each year.
Any riders interested in participating, but are new to the sport, are encouraged to attend free introduction to BMX skills clinics on most Sundays after races, which typically start around 4 p.m.
“It’s a sport that paces to your level,” Blee said.
All races, boys or girls, start at the novice class. After winning 10 races, boys are moved into intermediate and girls are moved into the girl class. After 20 more wins for the boys, move into expert class.
Racers line up at the top of a hill and staged at a starting gate. That gate opens, allowing the riders to pedal through the track, which typically takes 30 to 50 seconds depending on track size and racing styles.
Gear needed includes a BMX-style bike, typically one that has up to a 20-inch diameter wheel, long sleeved pants and shirts, enclosed shoes and helmets. Full-faced helmets are recommended.
According to its website, Grand Valley BMX is sanctioned as a USA BMX track by the American Bicycle Association. Each rider is permitted a one-day trial membership, but after the one race, riders must purchase a one-month temporary or 12 month full membership from USA BMX.
To learn more, visit http://www.grandvalleybmx.com.
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