Last chance to qualify for BMX state finals is Saturday
Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE, Colorado – When Wheat Ridge rider David Herman secured his semifinal spot in the Olympic BMX competition on Thursday, he did it by passing another rider on the final straightaway at the London course.
Eagle County BMX founder Jay Lucas says exciting finishes like that one were what inspired him to widen his final straightaway at his course in Eagle.
“We try to redesign it every spring to make improvements to the course,” Lucas said. “The widened straightaway at the end has really opened the door for passing at the finish.”
Lucas also said he suspects Herman’s high-altitude training here in Colorado helped him achieve the level of strength and endurance necessary to overtake someone at such a late moment in the race.
“If you’re fit enough, you can pull it off,” he said. “I imagine it’s like any endurance sport that way, where training at elevation helps.”
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Lucas is hoping his course in Eagle, which sits at about 6,600 feet, will prove to be an advantageous training ground for the local squad of 30 or so riders who will go on to race at the American Bicycle Association Colorado BMX finals in Grand Junction on Aug. 26. The Eagle Course series is one of several qualifier zones in the state, with the last opportunity to advance coming Saturday. The competition is open to male and female riders of all ages and abilities, with different rider categories ranging from novice to pro.
In that way, it’s a great sport for the whole family, says Lucas, who often sees Dad give the sport a try simply because he sees how much fun the kids are having.
Lucas says that wide appeal is the driving factor in the current rise in popularity for the sport, which has seen tracks like his pop up across Colorado and the U.S. in recent years.
Not to mention the fact that BMX is now seeing its second go-round at the Olympics after making its debut in 2008.
At that time, Lucas was driving out to Grand Junction on the weekends, where his sons Nash, 10, and Halsey, 13, would race on the course out there.
He decided to start up a course here, and after receiving a tremendous amount of help and support, got it up and running three years ago.
And as the sport gains popularity, so does Lucas’ track in Eagle.
Local parent Chris Weathers is thrilled to have such an arena right in his backyard in Eagle – his son Cole, 8, has found great success in the sport.
“It’s a great sport for him,” said Weathers.
Cole Weathers, described by Lucas as a strong, athletic kid, lacked the sheer size that favors athletes of so many other sports, and hadn’t found as much success as an athlete in other areas.
“In BMX, his smaller size has actually been to his advantage,” said Chris Weathers.
Cole Weathers has already qualified for state finals, and will try to earn his eighth win on the season Saturday, which would bump him out of the novice category and into intermediate.
“His success has really raised his confidence,” said Chris Weathers of his son.
Despite that, though, Weathers says the true attraction for him is in the general spectator experience, son or no son.
“It’s just really fun out there,” he said.
Registration for Saturday’s Eagle County BMX race is open to anyone and begins at 10:30 a.m. and runs through 12:30 with races to follow.
For more information visit EagleCountyBMX.com.