Competition 2018:  Magic Carpet Ride in the Bear’s Den

by Mitch Trujillo, PCI #244T/EMSCI #248T
Boulder (CO) Police Department

I like to dream, yes, yes
Right between the sound machine
On a cloud of sound I drift in the night
Any place it goes is right
Goes far, flies near
To the stars away from here...

Funny.  When I first heard the moniker given to one of the features in the 2018 Competition in Saint Louis this past June, it oddly reminded me of a Steppenwolf tune.  The contraption, aptly named “Magic Carpet Ride”, was essentially a land barge floating on wheels that each rider would roll onto with enough forward inertia to carry them from one dock to the next.  To my amusement, I pictured an obstacle with a name like that adorned with green shag carpet and a lava lamp.  Groovy. As the competition began, the song became a pesky earworm, pairing in rhythm with each bike and rider.  

This 2018 Competition was not to be a reboot though.  Eight years ago, the competition was held just outside Saint Louis and, fortunately, none of the features prompted a catchy song.  At that time, the competition was held in a somewhat removed hotel parking lot, and the weather was far cooler.  A highlight was that the obstacle course contained 999 cones and several ramps, craftily laid out by IPMBA pioneers Tom Woods, Gary McLaughlin, and Mike Johnston, who, if I may be so bold, would have been around in 1968 for Steppenwolf’s release.

Flash forward to 2018.  The competition course took on a far different mood in a very different setting, within Saint Louis on the campus of Washington University.  This time, attendees and spectators – mostly students and staff members – lined the South 40 Bear’s Den Patio, a manicured swath of European-esque streetscape that normally serves as a walkway for connecting the north-south academic campus between residential buildings.  

Taped off within the Bear’s Den, the course started off with the riders plummeting down stairs, only to be inconveniently interrupted by a sentinel cone they would be required to pass between front tire and downtube (alas, many struggled!). Then into a mini-lock-to-lock they would go, followed by a rumble strip, a narrow boardwalk, a keyhole, a high-and-sketchy teeter totter, the aforementioned “magic carpet ride”, and a stair ascent.  Then last but certainly not least, each gasping rider would snake their way up concrete switchbacks to the finish.  And still in perfect stereo.  Adding to the hum was the debut of the  e-Bike category in response to the increasing number of public safety cyclists buzzing through their communities with pedal assist.

With the hot and humid torture test set to the melodious malady in my head, I took in a few other highlights:  there was Stanley Sedillo’s inspirational snapped-chain-portage (1:39.73), the “unofficial protected-status-division” performance by Rance Okada (age 69; time 1:51.98), Jason Shiffer’s flawless exhibition (1:14.12), and a jaw-dropping backwards endo by one unidentified rider that still defies description.  No jive.  

Not all was hip, as the safety curmudgeons wouldn’t allow one team to ride the bike-share bikes in the competition.  The teammate’s protests rang hollow.  Although I’m sure it would have been entertaining, the bikes didn’t have the requisite pedal retention, the lime green on the frames didn’t qualify as shag carpet green, and above all, they surely wouldn’t have helped rid me of the nagging performance in my head.  

Regardless, these and other dramatic moments would be replayed at the after party and would become the stuff of song.

While the 2018 Competition was not at all psychedelic, a land barge in a bruin’s abode was bound to be a trip.  Look left for the official results.

The 2018 course was devilishly composed by Jeff Brown, and its “magic carpet ride” was orchestrated by Ed Bartelme.  Props to unsung heroes Brian Gillman (course design/production assistant), Bobby Sellers (MC/carnival barker), Ron Burkitt (data & record keeping), and numerous others that served as spectators, marshals, spotters, photographers and cone wranglers.

What sort of competition can we expect in Fort Worth 2019?  

Whatever it is, it will surely be a unique performance.  Stay tuned.

Be safe.  Ride, rest, repeat.

Mitch is a law enforcement professional in Boulder, CO; IPMBA Instructor Trainer, a member of the IPMBA Education and Industry Relations Committees, former Education Director & Board Member, BMA Volunteer Bike Patroller, connoisseur of craft bikes and beer, and director of MTB Responder, LLC.  He can be reached at 1x1mitch@gmail.com.

Competition Photos by Susie Ochs.

2018 Competition Results

— Individual Competition —

Female under 30
No Competitors

Female 30+
Lisa Taube, Asheville (NC) Police:  1:46.95
***Most Consistent*** (only 2 1/100ths off last year’s time)
Kristin Zazelenchuk, Greater Sudbury (ON) Police:  2:12.65

Male Under 30
Tyler Hofacker, Dayton (OH) Police: 1:35.08
Kyle Fisher, Lehigh University (PA) Police:  1:38.56

Male 30-39
Evan Coward, Asheville (NC) Police: 1:15.90
****Second Overall****
Allen Daniels, Bowdoin College (ME) Safety & Security:  1:20.63
****Third Overall****

Male 40-49
Jason Schiffer, Lehigh University (PA) Police:  1:14.12
****First Overall****
Scott Bixby, New York State University Police, University at Buffalo:  1:26.73

Male 50+
Jim Reynolds, Maryland Heights (MO) Police: 1:30.26
Colby Lalli, Blue Springs (MO) Police:  1.32.51

— Team Competition —

That’s What She Said:  5:32.70
Jacob Coyle, Castle Rock (CO) Police: 1:23.70
Evan Coward, Asheville (NC) Police: 1:15.90
Allen Daniels, Bowdoin College (ME) Safety & Security: 1:20.63
Colby Lalli, Blue Springs (MO) Police: 1:32.51

3 Mechanics and a Ringer:  5:53.20
Michael Dragovich, Lehigh University (PA) Police:  1:30.10
Kyle Fisher, Lehigh University (PA) Police:  1:36.56
Joshua Rymon, Bethlehem (PA) Police:  1:30.30
Jason Schiffer, Lehigh University (PA) Police:  1:14.12

Beer and Bruises:  6:52.40
Adam Gaby, Five Rivers MetroParks (OH) Police: 1:33.90
Jim Reynolds, Maryland Heights (MO) Police:  1:30.26
Trent Roach, Five Rivers MetroParks (OH) Police: 1:58.70
Kyle Caldwell, Five Rivers MetroParks (OH) Police:  1:49.50

— Open Category —

Eric Kackley, Volcanic Bicycles, North Bonneville WA:  1:21.47
Mark Eumurian, Patrol Bike Systems, Saint Paul MN:  1:52.53

— E-Bike Category —

Mike Hudspeth, Guilford County (NC) Emergency Services:  1:29.05
Clint Sandusky, Riverside College (CA) Police (retired):  1:37.38


(c) 2018 IPMBA. This article appeared in Vol. 27, No. 2 of IPMBA News 2018.

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