First BMX Race and I lived to tell the tale!

OK, so I rode my first BMX race on the trusty 20″ Kuwahara on Saturday. I paid my year’s licence money (without bothering to try a race on a day licence first) and got out in the ‘Dads’ class at the Park Orchards clubbie. I’d done gates and ridden around on the track during warm-up and practice previously, but racing is a completely different experience.

Basically, it was a full gate (8 riders) of dads who should know better than to ride little bikes up steep embankments and fling themselves into the air. This is a bunch of blokes who know the old rule “what goes up must come down”, and should also realise that is goes hand in hand with “the bigger they are, the harder they fall”.

The first moto started well, especially since I drew lane 8 all the way on the outside. Yes, the outside lane is a good thing for your first time on the gate. I also found I could actually stand on the gate (ie, both feet on the pedal and me upright, albeit a little wobbly) despite being extremely nervous. I was having trouble the evening prior at gate practice when I was over-concentrating on what I was doing. It also helped that the hard working people at the club upped the angle since the prior evening’s practice, almost as if they knew I would need the help!

Well, I was in two minds as the gate dropped. “Hell for leather” or “Sunday Drive” were the extreme options I had in mind. I ended up pedalling somewhere in the middle. I survived the first straight, probably didn’t go as fast as I could, but I didn’t want to die in my first moto…there were four more to go so I had plenty more opportunities to wreck myself. I went through the last double second to last.

The Park Orchards first corner may as well be a Velodrome…it’s big, long and open compared to most other tracks. I stayed low in the berm behind the dad on the cruiser in front. What I wasn’t ready for was the locked brakes in front of me into the first step-up on the second straight. Now that scared the s*#t out of me and I grabbed a fist full of Tektro. Probably a good thing, because I was probably headed into the third straight too fast for my own well-being.

I survived the second straight by keeping my wheels on the ground at all times. In practice, I would normally allow my self a little front wheel popping action or some air, but again I wanted to get through my first moto without testing the newly refreshed ambulance membership.

OK, now the newly revise second berm. Oh which line to take. OK, following the cruiser in front will do.

Well, I’m not particularly fit at the moment, and I now understand why rhythm sections usually account for much of the final portion of most tracks. Its to determine which natural wave form will make you barf when your running out of oxygen. By the end of the third straight, I am torn between the thoughts “this is tremendous fun old chap” and “wot tha f*#k am I doing ere”.

By the time I come over the last step-up and into the final rhythms, I have forgotten how to make my arms work. But I did somehow manage to get to the finish line unscathed, still second to last.

After catching my breath, I was ready for more. As I got used to the action, I felt more comfortable. By the last moto, I had gotten up into 6th, but that may have been because the guy I had followed most of the day let me have my own little win. I even managed a 5th in the ‘pump race’ third moto…all that experience from aggressive inline skating has some advantage in BMX after all.

I’ll be back for more in a couple of weeks!

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