Competition 2016:  “The Hills”

by Mike Harris, PCI #1159
Mill Creek (WA) Police Department (Retired)
IPMBA Treasurer

The City of Asheville, North Carolina, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of the Swannanoa and French Broad Rivers was the location of the 26th Annual IPMBA Conference.  The IPMBA Competition was held at the conference site, the Crowne Plaza Asheville Resort, home to Kolo Bike Park.  Kolo, a purpose-built mountain bike park, would play a prominent role in challenging the competitors. 

The traditional bike parade was led by Chief Tammy Hooper and Sergeants Lisa Taube and Evan Coward, followed closely by the command staff members and, despite the specter of the hills, many conference participants.  Upon returning, the riders assembled for the photo-from-the-fire-bucket.  Photo finished, the competition excitement ramped up.  The brainchild of Lisa Taube, one of the goals of this year’s competition team was to design a course that would challenge the most experienced riders yet not intimidate everyone else.  As a result, nearly 50% of registered attendees participated in the event. 

The competition course was launched right at the back door of the Crowne Plaza Expo Center.  A straight shot along the sidewalk led to the teeter-totter, expertly spotted by Mo Ibrahim and Dante Pastrano.  A ninety-degree right turn followed by a quick left carried the competitors past the spectators present for Kolo Bike Park’s bike demo day featuring Kona and Rocky Mountain Bikes.  They wowed the crowd with their ability to ascend pallets to a raised bridge and descend the stairs on the other end.  Some competitors could not resist the urge to go airborne instead, but they paid the price by having to repeat the obstacle. 

After passing the demo tents, riders entered the Kolo Bike Park pump track, flowing over and through the dirt bumps, berms, and curves.  They exited the pump track into a sprint down a grassy slope and under (hopefully) the waiting limbo bar – always a fun one to watch! 

Next up:  a three-humped wooden pump track that launched the riders onto a dirt trail that wound its way through the woods and down a hill. 

Did we mention “The Hills”? Conference attendees quickly discovered that Asheville is NOT flat; you are always either going down, or as it seemed to most, up a hill.  The end of the competition was no different as the devilish course designer had the riders sprint up a hill, on which there were many missed shifts, broken chains, and “hike-a-bikes” to the finish line.  Not many competition riders or spectators will soon forget the ending of this year’s competition. 

Every year the obstacle course is a fun but competitive event between individual and teams, and this year was no different.   For the second year in a row, the overall winner was Jacob Coyle, Castle Rock (CO) Police Department, age 33, with the winning time of 1:18.53.  This achievement was all the more impressive given the severe leg fracture Jake suffered late last year.  In second place was Preston Pierce, Chandler (AZ) Police Department, age 39, 1:24.35.  Third place was claimed by Braulio Jerez, Aspen (CO) Police Department, age 36, 1:26:93.  

Rounding out the top five were Matt Karnowski, Saint Louis Metro (MO) Police Department, age 36, at 1:27.39, and Kurt Colson, Montgomery County (MD) Police, age 33, coming in at 1:33.49 – on a Borealis fat bike, no less!  Finally, our fearless leader, Asheville’s own Evan Coward, age 34, clocked in at 1:34.26.  It looks like the “thirty-somethings” are the ones to watch!

In the remaining age categories, Kyle Hallett, DuPage County Forest Preserve (IL) Police Department, topped the Male under 30 Category at 1:41.50, followed by Steven Ray, Cypress Creek (TX) EMS, with 1:43.61. 

Competition was tight for Males 40-49, with Mike Hudspeth, Guilford County (NC) EMS (1:39.14), just barely edging out George Martinez, 1:39.54, and Skyler Baldock, 1:39.85, both of Sacramento (CA) Police Department.

Trading places from 2015 in the Male 50+ category were Eddy Croissant, Tampa (FL) Police Department at 1:41.09, and Mitch Trujillo, Boulder (CO) Police Department, with 1:45.41.  Coming in third was Dave Dager, University of Pennsylvania (PA) Police Department, 1:46.75. 

The lone female public safety rider was Deanna Flaugher, representing Five Rivers MetroParks (OH) Police Department, with a winning time of 2:01.71.

The Team category was as competitive as ever with each team trying to one-up the others.  It was made even more interesting by the fact that some riders were not even aware they were on a team!  The first place team, with a combined time of 1:30.42, was Team Mountain Desert Rats, comprising Preston Pierce and Joshua Logan, Chandler (AZ) Police Department, Braulio Jerez of Aspen (CO) Police Department, and Evan Coward of Asheville (NC) Police Department. 

In second place, with a time of 1:47.72, was mystery Team Mish-MashEddy Croissant (Tampa FL Police Department), Kyle Hallett (DuPage County Forest Preserve IL Police), Alan Beadle (Sylvania OH Police), and Tristen Lopez (College Station TX Police), were pleasantly surprised to earn team honors. 

In third place, with a time of 1:47.86, was Team Crick Patrol and Band-Aid CrewMike Hudspeth (Guilford County NC EMS) with Adam Gaby, Deanna Flaugher, and b (Five Rivers OH MetroParks Police).  Amazingly, the time difference between second and third was only .14 of a second!

The Open Category offers non-public safety conference attendees (e.g., exhibitors, guest instructors, volunteers) the opportunity to participate.  Guest instructor Derrick Maready of Bike Cycles in Wilmington NC, Mad March Racing, and IMBA, put up the winning time of 1:34.51, despite being foiled by the final hill.  Volcanic Bicycles founder, owner, and lead bike-builder, Eric Kackley, finished second in 2:05.86, followed closely by Mark Eumurian of Patrol Bike Systems (2:08.49), whose last competition was circa 1995. 

The Awards Ceremony was graciously hosted by the brand-new New Belgium Brewing Company’s East Coast Brewery.  Trolley-style buses shuttled attendees to the riverside tasting room for its inaugural event – it would open to the public just three days later, on Monday, May 2.  

Everyone savored the many flavors on tap and noshed on Moe’s BBQ.  We are grateful to both New Belgium and Moe’s for their support. 

In addition to awarding competition medals, IPMBA President Bernie Hogancamp presented two Exemplary Service awards.  The first was presented to IPMBA founding member Kirby Beck on the occasion of retiring his “T” after teaching 38 Instructor and PCIDs (Police Cyclist Instructor Development) Courses – more than 1000 new instructors. 

IPMBA Education Director Michael Wear was recognized for his leadership, tireless efforts, uncounted hours, blood, sweat, and yes, tears in the quest to ensure the IPMBA BRT sets the gold standard in Bicycle Response Team Training. 

Also thanked for their contributions to IPMBA were founding members Allan Howard and Gary McLaughlin, as well as former Education Director and Instructor-Trainer, Al Simpson.

Warren Porter of Howard County (MD) Fire Department was the lucky winner of the Glock .43 donated by On Target Indoor Range and Gun Shop; Vincent Contreras, San Antonio (TX) Park Police rode off on the Safariland patrol bike (so to speak); and Eddy Croissant of Tampa ensured he will be a return contender when he won the complimentary 2017 IPMBA Conference registration. 

Finally, the members of the Asheville Police Department IPMBA Command Staff received a resounding, well-deserved round of applause. 

Congratulations to all the riders who participated in the competition this year.  We look forward to the 27th Annual IPMBA Conference, June 5-9, 2017, in Delaware, Ohio.

Competition 2016 Results

Individual Competition

Female 30+
Donna Flaugher, Five River MetroParks (OH) Police:  2.01.71

Male Under 30
Kyle Hallett, DuPage Forest Preserve (IL) Police:  1:41.50
Steven Ray, Cypress Creek (TX) EMS:  1:43.61

Male 30-39
Jacob Coyle, Castle Rock (CO) Police:  01:18.53 
****First Overall****
Preston Pierce, Chandler (AZ) Police:  1:24.35
****Second Overall****

Male 40-49
Mike Hudspeth, Guilford County (NC) EMS:  1:39.14
George Martinez, Sacramento (CA) Police:  1:39.54

Male 50+
Eddy Croissant, Tampa (FL) Police:  1:41.09
Mitch Trujillo, Boulder (CO) Police:  1:45.41

Team Competition

Mountain Desert Rats:  6:01.67
Preston Pierce, Chandler (AZ) Police:  1:24.35
Braulio Jerez, Aspen (CO) Police:  1:26.93
Evan Coward, Asheville (NC) Police:  1:34.26
Joshua Logan, Chandler (AZ) Police:  1:36.13

Mish-Mash:  7:10.87
Eddy Croissant, Tampa (FL) Police:  1:41.09
Kyle Hallett, DuPage County Forest Preserve (IL) Police:  1:41.50
Alan Beadle, Sylvania (OH) Police:  1:52.12
Tristan Lopez, College Station (TX) Police:  1:56.16

Crick Patrol and Band-Aid Crew:  7:11.46
Mike Hudspeth, Guilford County (NC) EMS:  1:39.14
Adam Gaby, Five Rivers MetroParks (OH) Police:  1:44.52
Trent Roach, Five Rivers MetroParks (OH) Police:  1:46.09
Deanna Flaugher, Five Rivers MetroParks (OH) Police:  2:01.71

Open Category

Derrick Maready, Bike Cycles, Wilmington NC:  1:24.51
Eric Kackley, Volcanic Bicycles, North Bonneville WA:  2:05.86
Mark Eumurian, Patrol Bike Systems, Saint Paul MN:  2:08:49

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