Monday, January 7, 2008

Downhill Race on Snow

Man - I remember doing this kind of stupid crap when I lived in the midwest and didn't have anything better to do.
Now I live in Colorado and own ski's and snowshoes. That means I have lots to do.

Downhill daredevils
Mountain bikers pit their skills against a ski slope in eighth annual Bikercross.

By Sam Kennedy | Of The Morning Call
January 6, 2008

Imagine going down a steep, jump-studded ski slope -- on a bike.

Sound dangerous?

It was, as evidenced by the medical helicopter dispatched to Blue Mountain Ski Area in Lower Towamensing Township on Saturday afternoon to fly 20-year-old Gregory White of Boyertown, one of the contestants of the resort's eighth annual Winter Bikercross.

The event, essentially downhill mountain biking in the snow, is more of a novelty than an established sport.

Most of the 29 participants were local daredevils who do most of their biking on weekends during warmer weather. They wore ski gear and even jeans.

But some were highly experienced professional mountain bikers, decked out in heavily padded shirts and pants. They came from as far away as Virginia.

The bikers went down the mountain in heats of three or four. Skiers and snowboarders gathered along the sides of the track, cheering when somebody hit a jump and caught air.

Dave Serfass, 26, of Lehighton was eliminated from the competition after he came down cockeyed and spun out.

''Not bad…my elbow cracked a little,'' he said after brushing himself off. He'd be back to give it another go next year, he said, explaining the draw: ''Oh, it's the rush!''

White, unfortunately, came down a lot harder, with an audible thump that silenced nearby onlookers. Mid-air, his front wheel tipped so far forward that his bike was nearly vertical. He flew over his handlebars, driving his head into the snow.

Ski patrollers rushed to his aid, finding him unconscious and bleeding from the mouth. They lifted him onto a toboggan and whisked him down the mountain to the helicopter pad.

Later in the day, a spokesman at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest said White was in stable condition.

No sooner was White removed from the course than the next heat was under way.

''In my years of doing this race, I've seen a lot worse,'' said Bikercross director Jason Boris. The event, organized by the Eastern Schuylkill Recreation Commission, averages about one helicopter evacuation a year, he said.

Among the youngest competitors were the Mulally brothers -- Neko, 14, and Logan, 12 -- of Reading, Berks County.

Their mother, Carolyne, said she was unfazed by all the wipeouts. ''I'm used to it by now,'' she explained, because her boys compete in mountain bike races year round.

If anything, she added, the event at Blue Mountain was easier to stomach than normal races. ''This is a soft landing,'' she said, referring to the snow.

Neko would go on to win the competition and a trophy.

The other three finalists, in the order they finished, were:

Lars Tribus, 36, of Milford, N.J.

Scott Cooper, 24, of Cranford, N.J.

Marvin Scanland, 34, of Upperco, Md.


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