by Mike Harris, PCI #1125
Mill Creek (WA) Police Department
Robert Collett, EMCSI #263
Poudre Valley Health System (CO) Ambulance
The city of Tampa, located on the west coast of Florida near the Gulf of Mexico, provided a beautiful backdrop for the 24th IPMBA conference competition. After parading through the city, the riders arrived at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, where they assembled for the traditional group photo with the river and skyline behind them.
As frequent competitors can attest, no two IPMBA Competition Courses are ever alike. They are always a combination of obstacles in the built environment and the inventions of creative – or one might say diabolical – minds. This one was no different.
The Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park is, as its name suggests, situated on the banks of the Hillsborough River. It is a popular gathering spot for outdoor entertainment and children at play due to its outdoor amphitheatre and extensive playground. The competition design team used both of these features – and more – to full advantage. They seemed to derive a certain pleasure out of including sand traps to power through, something that not all riders contend with on a daily basis.
From the staging area, riders entered the course through a tunnel littered with offset cones, only to encounter a stair ascent up to a small, circular platform. It was evident that these competitors were serious by watching their ascending techniques, which ranged from the standard IPMBA “lofting” method to high speed bunny hops. Once atop the platform, they navigated a looping cone course before descending several stairs and weaving through another cone-dotted tunnel. At the end of the tunnel, a 90-degree turn had to be negotiated before the riders could propel themselves towards the next series of obstacles.
Although a seemingly simple obstacle, this turn proved to hinder more than a few of the riders. Some clearly were rattled, but had to recover immediately, as they were confronted with the ever-present teeter-totter. This was followed by a railroad-tie ramp ascending into a woodchip “garden”, which required a dismount and carry back down to the pavement. Amidst the concrete and brick dominating the course, the log and railroad tie teeter-totter and ramp were a unique contrast for the competitors.
Whether they stepped down, jumped down, or fell down from the wood chips, after remounting, riders encountered a curb ascent onto a grassy berm requiring a diagonal ascent. Here they navigated through yet more cones and around some large shade trees, no doubt a welcome respite from the intense Florida sunshine.
Next up was a sprint towards an industrial-looking, flat-topped dome, topped with chain-linked iron posts outlining the next obstacle lying in wait. This dome required a short, punchy climb to the top. The riders were then forced to find their balance with rubbery, lactate-filled legs as they faced a slow speed, counter-clockwise circle equivalent to any nine-foot box. After completing the circle, their reward was a descent into yet another cone course, followed by an off-camber arc up and over a cone on the opposite side of that same dome, and then yes, you guessed it, more cones.
Finally, after navigating all these obstacles, punctuated by tricky sand traps, the competitors were able to sprint to the finish, gasping for breath as they hoped to beat the clock and each other. The complexity of the course allowed riders of all abilities a chance to put their newly honed bike skills attained over the previous days of training to the test.
This competition proved that age does not need to be a factor as the 20-year age span did not seem to slow anyone down. The top four riders in the public safety category were all over 30 years of age, with the first place rider, Jon Pesesko, having just attained the half-century mark, clocking in 1:31.99. In second place was Evan Coward (age 32) with a time of 1:33.02. In third place was Pat Hernandez (age 45) with a time of 1:36.29, surprisingly enough, considering he got turned around in the course and headed in the wrong direction. Bobby Sellers (age 35) rounded out the top four with a time of 1:38.88. It was an amazing finish!
The team competition was exciting as ever with only 3.96 seconds separating the first place and the third place teams. Team “Up a Creek” from Cypress Creek TX, seized first place with a time of 7:14.81. This was followed closely by Team “Three Men and a Medic” (7:15.92) and 2015 IPMBA Conference Host “Team Chandler” (7:18.77).
To further demonstrate that practice and experience can count more than age, Open Category winner Eric Kackley (age 45) of Volcanic Bicycles earned the overall best time (1:27.98). He had some company in the Open Category this year, thanks to Austin McInerney, National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), who finished on a borrowed Volcanic with a very respectable time of 1:36.20.
The last rider on the course was pro rider Derrick Maready of Mad March Racing/IMBA-ICP, who finished with a time of 1:35.09.
Medals and other recognitions were presented during the Awards Ceremony held at the venerable Columbia Restaurant in historic Ybor City.
Congratulations to the nearly 50 riders who completed the competition this year.
We are looking forward to the next creative competition course at the 25th Annual Conference in Chandler, Arizona (April 11-18, 2015). Consider yourself challenged!
Competition 2014 Results
Female under 30
Noelia Fernandez – 2:14.17, Salta (Argentina) PD
Lisa Taube – 2:10.38, Asheville (NC) PD
Sara Hall – 2:16.06, Dublin (OH) PD
Male under 30
Steven Ray – 1:39.16, Cypress Creek (TX) EMS
Christopher Burford – 1:42.27, Charleston (WV) PD
Evan Coward – 1:33.02, Asheville (NC) PD
***Second Overall, Public Safety***
Bobby Sellers – 1:38.88, Cypress Creek (TX) EMS
Patrick Hernandez – 1:36.29, Albuquerque (NM) PD
David Sitz – 1:39.69, Chandler (AZ) PD
Jon Pesesko – 1:31.99, Bethlehem (PA) PD
***First Overall, Public Safety; Second Overall***
Dave Dager – 1:42.19, Univ. of Pennsylvania (PA) PD
Up a Creek – 7:14.81
Steven Ray, Cypress Creek (TX) EMS – 01:39.16
Bobby Sellers, Cypress Creek (TX) EMS – 01:38.88
Jeff Taylor, Cypress Creek (TX) EMS – 01:54.61
Matt Tomlinson, Cypress Creek (TX) EMS – 02:02.16
Three Men and a Medic – 7:15.92
Chris Denshuick, Univ. of Pennsylvania (PA) PD – 01:44.22
Adam Gaby, Five Rivers Metroparks (OH) PD – 01:49.20
Mike Hudspeth, Guilford County (NC) EMS – 01:41.06
Matthew Worm, Omaha (NE) Police Department – 02:01.44
Team Chandler – 7:18.77
Blake Fairclough, Chandler (AZ) PD – 01:52.32
Kyle Jordan, Chandler (AZ) PD – 01:45.64
Scott Parr, Chandler (AZ) PD – 02:01.12
David Sitz, Chandler (AZ) PD – 01:39.69
Eric Kackley, Volcanic Bicycles – 1:27.98
Austin McInerney, National Interscholastic Cycling Association – 1:36.20
Derrick Maready, Mad March Racing/IMBA ICP – 1:35.09