Posts Tagged ‘Dave Mirra’

Obviously I wasn’t expecting to go on hiatus again since I was in the middle of X Games Austin posts. It was a big snowball of work, other hobbies, politics, and yes, lack of motivation that kept me away. I’m looking to reignite the spark for blogging, and I’m gonna try to plow through these X Games posts (I may be skipping the 2017 winter events).

Just to refresh your memory, here was my previous post about the first two days of X Games Austin 2016.  Saturday was a supposed to have been a busy day, but the weather had other plans. The rain kept coming and going so events got moved to later in day or postponed until Sunday. With how frustrated I felt as a spectator, I can only imagine how much worse it was for the athletes.

Women’s Skate Street

  •  I didn’t get to catch much of women’s skate street because it started pouring shortly after the comp began.
  • Also, due to the raised stage, I couldn’t get a good view of the rails without going onto the grass (which I’m allergic to).
    day3_3918
  • It was cool seeing some of the women, especially Mariah Duran, help clean up the course later on in the replay.  They at least were in good spirits.
  • Later I learned that the spines on the fake cacti were actual screws.  Are they trying to make this more dangerous?!

The one upside to the rain was that while seeking shelter, I was able to meet Jamie Bestwick and get his autograph.  He really likes Austin so he was bummed that this was the last year (and he didn’t fault me for missing BMX Vert this year).

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He’s so tall and I’m so short that I wasn’t sure we’d fit in the frame. (more…)

It is with great sadness that I halt my X Games recaps for this post.  Most of you probably have heard the news, but in case you haven’t, action sports legend Dave Mirra died yesterday from what appears to be a suicide.  When I was in Aspen, I was thinking about how I hadn’t seen much from him and how I missed his presence. Then I read what happened, and my heart has been aching for his family, his friends, and the community.

I never met Dave, but he was one of the key figures in my early years of watching the X Games and other related contests.  He was the epitome of an athlete, someone who worked hard to reach the top of the podium.  I remember those fierce showdowns with Jay Miron and Jamie Bestwick.  When he pulled the first double backflip in X Games BMX Park, I went nuts.  This was a guy who pushed the limits, the “Miracle Boy”. He took BMX to another level.

Dave was also a friendly face that helped action sports reach a broader audience.  I remember the friendly banter that happened between him, Ryan Nyquist, and Dennis McCoy in the behind-the-scenes features of various BMX tours.  Dave was always like someone who didn’t quit.  When he retired from BMX, he did rally.  After that, he trained for triathlons.    No matter what he did, he put 100% and it showed.

At the end of the day though, it’s not the number of gold medals you have or world records you set.  It’s the impact you have, and last night, I couldn’t help but tear up at all the tribute posts fellow athletes, BMX and other, and even non-action sports folks shared.  He touched so many of us.

Death is an unfortunate aspect of action sports, but Dave’s shocked us all.  It’s one thing to hear about someone having an accident while doing something they live for; it’s another to hear that they’ve taken their own life.  It’s a sobering reminder of how people who seem to have it all, who put on a smiling face, may be hurting deep inside.  I worry about the other athletes because we hardly ever hear about their troubles and because I have to wonder if the effects of brain injury played a role.  That’s something to ponder when our grief has subsided a bit.

A couple days ago, Dave posted on his Instagram: “Fight to win!  We all have a battles [sic] to fight.  Never back down.  Love you all.”.  We might not ever understand what has happened, but we have to try to reach out, to support one another, to push for answers if it can save a life, and to live.  Rest in peace, Dave Mirra.  We’ll miss you, but we’ll never forget you.

From ESPN

From ESPN

It is with much sadness that I approach the final day of the X Games. However, my eyes and rear end will be happy to not be sitting in my computer chair and staring at my laptop screen for hours (I had to miss most of the Game of SK8 because I was getting a headache). The X Games always make me itch to get out of the house (me get out? ha!) and do stuff. It doesn’t have to be action sports-related, but I want to be outside doing something that gets my heart rate up. First though, I have to get through my final set of notes.

BMX thoughts

  • BMX Freestyle Street is a little different in that the runs of 45 seconds, instead of 30, and that the riders are allowed 2 falls.
  • Brian Kachinsky built a street course inside an abandoned bakery. How cool is that?
  • Apparently the normal way to do a truckdriver (360 barspin) is to spin the handlebars in the opposite direction you’re rotating.
  • Dakota Roche is one tough dude, coming back with great runs after his chest slammed into the ledge.
  • The announcers got their facts mixed up. Both Jamie Bestwick and Garrett Reynolds scored a 47 (highest given in a BMX event this X Games) in their respective events.
  • They also kept referring to Garrett as a machine. Then again, one does question his mortality since he has won every BMX Street event in the X Games.
  • LOL moment: Dennis McCoy was trying to talk baseball, and Jimmy Coleman got him back on track.
  • Poor Dennis Enarson is going to be called the “bridesmaid” since he came so close to getting the gold again.
  • Garrett’s key to success: have fun. I’m sure unique, precise combos help too.

Moto-X thoughts

  • Endurocross, or as they call it “Enduro-X”, is pure chaos! It’s like bringing the great outdoors into a Supercross track: there’s rocks, logs, water, and blocks of wood.
  • I’m so used to smooth riding that it’s weird seeing riders stumble, put their foot down, and fly off their bikes.
  • Jeremy McGrath said that when he tried enduro, he barely finished.
  • There are several familiar names: Kenny Bartram (FMXer), Ryan Hughes (MX racer-turned-trainer), Destry Abbott (desert racer), Mike Brown (MX racer), Geoff Aaron (trials rider), and Tara Geigher (MX racer).
  • Everybody kept going on about the Pastranathon, but Destry and Maria Forsberg have their own crazy schedules. Destry had to drive back to Arizona and then fly out to Finland the next day for another enduro event. Maria didn’t have time to celebrate her gold, as she had work on Monday at 6 A.M.
  • Elizabeth Bash is one tough racer. She crashed and slid off the hill, and it looked like she hurt her arm. However, she got back on her bike and finished in 4th.
  • A trials background gives you more balance and control while motocross experience gives you speed and the ability to jump over obstacles like the water.
  • Even if you miss the water, you still have to deal with water other riders tracked over the rocks.
  • Ironically, a log rolled out in the beginning of the men’s final yet it was the first time the wasn’t a first turn pile-up.
  • Geoff and Mike gave up the lead with just one error, which shows how unpredictable trials can be.
  • Nevertheless, in a sport that doesn’t really have favorites, Taddy Blazuskiak shows why he was the man to watch. He came from behind to lead the second half and win.

Rally thoughts

  • There seem to be more wreckage with RallyCross due to more cars next to each other.
  • Rally drivers have varied daytime/former/side occupations: Robbie Maddison, Brian Deegan, and Travis Pastrana – FMXers; Joseph Burke and Dylan Van Way – college students; Rhys Millen and Tanner Foust – stunt drivers (The Dukes of Hazzard and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift); Dave Mirra – BMXer; Stephan Verdier – skicross racer; and Ken Block – co-founder/CBO of DC Shoes.
  • Travis is unbelievable. Even with an injured leg and hand, he still led one of his heats. Did I mention that he can’t take painkillers?
  • Joseph and Dylan’s college rivalry played out in the last chance qualifier. Joseph goes to Auburn, and Dylan attends LSU.
  • Ken’s weekend was described as “grotty”. That’s Britspeak for “wretchedly shabby” or “of poor quality”, according to Merriam-Webster.
  • Again, Liam Doran posted the fastest time in qualifiers.
  • Dave Higgins is good at coming from behind.
  • 8 cars in the final = insanity. Did any car escape unscathed?
  • This race was total Mulisha domination.  (Photo from Racer, by Richard S. James) Brian had about a 6.3 second lead. I’ve never seen him more stoked at a victory before; he was practically dancing on his car.Photobucket
  • The race was also a Ford podium sweep.
  • Travis came so close to medaling. He was 30 seconds behind Marcus Gronholm before he hit the wall.
  • I loved the co-driver cam because it showed each driver’s reactions to crashes and victories.

Congratulations to our final group of winners: Julian Christianson (Hometown Heroes Amateur Skateboard Street), Brian Deegan (RallyCross), Garrett Reynolds (BMX Freestyle Street), Ryan Decenzo (Game of SK8), Maria Forsberg (Enduro X Women’s), and Taddy Blazuskiak (Enduro X Men’s). Special recognition goes to Garrett for his 4-peat and for being the undefeated BMX Street champ. It’s been a great X Games!

Prediction Status: 5/14 (I got 3/4 for BMX.)
Quote of the Day: “Pastranathon to Pastrana-gone to Pastrana racing.” – Rally announcer on Travis’ X Games weekend
Trick of the Day: Garrett’s bar-catch-bar 450 (Now there’s a number you don’t see every day; I had to replay that a couple times to make sure I heard right.)
Inspiration of the Day: Travis’ Subaru team – Overnight they installed hand controls so that Travis didn’t have to miss out on all the Pastranathon events after Best Trick, which would’ve bummed him out. They helped him into his car, taped his leg in there, and fixed up the bumps from test drivers. Talk about a great team.

Nearly a full day of watching the X Games has resulted in three pages of notes, and I thought I was being conservative with my note-taking.   It was cool that ABC is broadcasting the X Games again, but of course, a different event was being aired on on-line.  Really disliking this simulcast deal.

BMX thoughts

  • Guys came out swinging in BMX Freestyle Park with huge tricks and crazy transitions. Ex. Gary Young’s feeble to 270 attempt (he came so close to making it).
  • Using the full time of the run is important. Dennis Enarson was ahead because he had the speed and energy to keep going.
  • Kevin Robinson noted that the jam format is kind of tricky because when you have guys pulling out, like with vert the other night, there’s less time for you to recover and plan.
  • Everybody wondered why Daniel Dhers would skip a run when Dennis was ahead, but the conservation of energy worked in his favor.
  • This was the first time I think I’ve seen them go to a tie breaker in which the judges had to look at 3rd run scores.


Moto-X thoughts

  • Ramp jump is an interesting addition to the race track, seems like a freestyle touch. I wonder what the racers think.
  • Crashes put an end to the Ashley Fiolek-Jessica Patterson showdown.
  • Dear announcers, Sayaka Kaneshiro’s name is pronounced “Kah-nay-she-ro”, not “Kyan-na-shee-ro”.
  • The ladies were pulling some nice whips at the end.
  • The whoops were a big challenge for in both Women’s Moto-X and Speed and Style.
  • Speed and Style was like a trip down memory lanes. The competitors were the big guns from back in the day (when I really kept up with FMX). To put things into perspective, Todd Potter is the youngest rider at 26.
  • Todd also wins the Iron Man award for competing in 5 different X Games events (that’s more than the “Pastranathon”).
  • Carey Hart gets the Best Sportsmanship award. When Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg went down, he quit racing to check up on him. Granted, he was already qualified at that point, but he was helping out the medics.
  • Twitch broke his left tibia and right heel on that nasty fall.
  • I feel like I jinxed by Ashley and Twitch.
  • A lot of calculation has to go into Speed and Style: on one hand, you have to slow down to hit the jumps to flip, but on the other hand, you’re in a race.
  • The finals was Nate Adams vs. Mike Mason: 4-stroke vs. 2-stroke, underflip vs. 360 flip, style vs. speed. In the end, style won out since Nate was upside down more. However, Mace had a beautiful rock solid, which in my eyes, is an equally scary trick.
  • This year’s Speed and Style was less ridiculous but just as fun to watch. Nate is one happy FMX this weekend.

Rally thoughts

  • Travis Pastrana plans on racing on Sunday?! WTF, he can barely walk and get in the car! They’ve even had to tape his foot down.
  • Rally Car Racing is auto racing for people with A.D.D. It’s only two laps and you’ve got different terrain and tight corners so the viewers never get bored.
  • Brian Deegan’s car has jaws, LOL.  So typical Mulisha style.
  • “[Racing through downtown L.A.] legally is pretty incredible.” It sounds like Tanner Foust has taken Fast and the Furious off the movie set.
  • Lessons in not giving up: David Higgins winning his heat with a flat tire and Dave Mirra pushing all the way through until the end.
  • When you take the Joker lap is important because it will give you an extra edge.
  • The Tanner Foust-Liam Doran rivalry reminds me of the Travis Pastrana-Brian Deegan good vs. evil FMX battle.
  • Liam posted the fastest times in the quarterfinals and semis.
  • In stead of a good vs. evil battle, we had experience (Marcus Gronholm) vs. youth (Liam). One is very calculating and precise; the other is fast and wild.  Maybe I should take a cue from Liam and drive more aggressively (I’m an annoyingly slow driver).

Skateboarding thoughts

  • I was going to put Njyah Houston down as my prediction for the winner of Skateboard Street, but I was basing a lot of that from hype from previous years. I was also going to make Shaun White my prediction, but then I changed it.
  • Bob Burnquist is extremely beat up from past injuries and Big Air, yet he still put together an awesome run during qualifiers. He said sleeping in helped.
  • I loved the clip of Tony Hawk and Andy MacDonald doing doubles for fun. They’re the only six-peaters in X Games history (I think everybody just gave up on doubles because they kept winning).
  • The judges seem to like giving a score of 82.66.
  • “Someone had to get old” – Tony Hawk on why he doesn’t have 5 X Games gold medals like Pierre-Luc Gagnon
  • Shaun White set the bar in the finals by being the first to have a clean run.
  • Shaun’s airs are higher than most skaters. A snowboarding influence?
  • Tony is calling out guys for their sloppiness.
  • PLG got a 91.66 even with a fall at the end.
  • The veterans of vert skated more consistently… probably because they could keep their cool under pressure.
  • Today, we saw a lot of elated gold medalists. (The reactions were bigger than what I usually see.)

Congratulations to Day 3’s victors: Daniel Dhers (BMX Freestyle Park), Liam Doran (Rally Car Racing), Nyjah Houston (Skateboard Street Men’s), Vicki Golden (Moto-X Racing Women’s), Shaun White (Skateboard Vert), and Nate Adams (Moto-X Speed and Style).  A big get well soon to Twitch, and good luck to Travis.

Prediction Status: 3/12
Quote of the Day: “It’s kind of cool feeling the bones move in my food.” – Travis Pastrana
Trick of the Day: Shaun White’s heelflip body varial frontside 540… actually his entire final run was amazing.

Inspiration of the Day: Women’s Moto-X Competitors – They’re strong, tough, and daring. Ashley Fiolek overcame deafness to become a 2-time X Games champ while Jessica Patterson has dealt with her share of nasty injuries in winning multiple national titles. Then there’s this year’s gold medalist, Vicki Golden, who became the first woman to qualify for a pro AMA Arenacross main event.
Question of the Day: Skateboard Street or Rally Car Racing – which did you watch (or would you watch)?