Riding BMX dirt trails means that before flying over the jumps you will fall. Often.
The taste of dirt.
All in the name of: The desire to fly on wheels.
It is beautiful to watch.
Ballet on an earthy stage, leaves for tulle, steel for grace.
When watching it I catch my breath... their music: The sound of the bike's chain hissing with sped, and their voices echoing fear, doubts, mingled with swear words and glorious hoots.
BMX is about training. Hours and hours of finding the right landing spot, how to hold the pedals, how to fly with the bike and not over it. Like ballet the riders make it look effortless, graceful... they tempt you to grab a bike and soar.
The ballerina knows the pink satin toe shoe is not just a pretty thing.
Her toes bled before they took her to new heights.
BMX dirt riders know the price of the dance is the taste of dirt.
Though Sacha has reassured me: Concrete is a harder taste.
Building up to these vertical jumps are a series of little bumps and turns to build up speed (photo above) once you go over the first major bump, you rarely pedal again. Gathering speed therefore is most important. Once the rider goes over the jump he must hold his feet on the pedals a certain position or risk having them broken off on landing. Also when riding (or flying) over these sharp steep dirt jumps, you cannot land on the peeks, you must go over.
Landing is everything.
Sacha loves riding BMX dirt as it is called. Last weekend he was determine that it was the day to face a new challenge. The vertical parallel: Two jumps side by side, when the rider goes up the vertical side he sways over to the opposite landing, verses going over and straight down. A rider must have all the elements in place, and a helluva great deal of sped height and guts.
Sacha told me that in this jump you have to have "the balls" (his words) to take the leap of faith. Or as the NIKE ad says: Just do it.
I saw in his eyes as he rode that he was going for the parallel vertical jumps. I knew he did not know where he was going to land.... the jump is angled in such a way that it is hard to know until you are up in the air... the first time you do it , you just gotta go for it. I took one last photo (above) before the lead into the parallel jumps.... then I put my camera down, I wanted to see it without my lens in front of my face and watched.
He did it.
He went UP, and over, then crashed on landing.
Sprawled out, bike twisted, dirt on his face... I cheered! I assumed and was right that the pain from the fall was worth every bit of the agony of his glory. He did it... broken handle bars, broken brakes but not a single bone broken, nor ego bruised. He beamed happiness. Everyone went running over to him. I clapped!
I loved it. Strange but true, I was proud and thrilled for Sacha . I could taste the dirt in my mouth. I wish I knew about BMX dirt riding when I was young(er) I think I would have had the balls to do it too. Ballet can keep its tulle and pink satin shoes, give me earthy dirt.
Watch out Chase Hawk.