By G.W. Schulz

Sure, street sports have become a cluster fuck for corporate sponsorships, but in some cases, that just means more money for punks with BMX bikes and less money for sleaze ball marketing execs who’d prefer spending it on tasteless furniture and bad hair.

If you haven’t been following the Mountain Dew Action Sports Tour, the final stop yesterday in Orlando proved to be a gruesome death march for nearly all of the competing riders in the BMX street finals. Almost no one managed to escape without at least a mild injury, but mostly the competition proved to be nothing less than brutal.

When the tour came through San Jose a while back, a few friends and I headed down for the day, mostly to see the motocross freestyle and BMX competitions. The blood puddles were pretty thin that day; no one broke anything. (The most aggressive BMX rider then was a young kid named Austin Coleman who blew all of the other riders away going big on everything and doing it along with a Prince soundtrack. He was also the only black man for miles in a sport that’s lily white.)

In San Jose, twice, we saw veteran Ryan Nyquist 180 from a small launch ramp and hit a wallride backwards before turning again and facing front to land on another small launch. The thing just looked amazing. In Orlando, however, he bombed it twice inexplicably exiting his bike in the air and soaring for a few feet before crumpling his body into the wall.

But shit got so much more brutal.

Scott Cranmer attempted a double back flip over a box jump in the center of the course. That turned out to be a big mistake. He didn’t come close to completing the second rotation, and with a considerable amount of momentum, he drove his face hard into the base of the ramp. We were watching it on Tivo, so we replayed it several times until we could see two of Cranmer’s teeth skid past him in slow motion. Awesome.

Then very quickly thereafter, we watched the young Mike Spinner take it in a new direction with a concussion. He tried a tailwhip 720 over the same box and came down awkwardly on his back tire with the front aimed at the sky. The impact of his body brought the back of his head down hard onto the ramp’s paneling rendering his helmet somewhat ineffective. He pushed up from the ground, blinked a few times clearly unable to determine exactly what planet he was on, and fell back down before paramedics made a return trip to the center of the course. We replayed that one a bunch of times, too.

Everybody else missed cranks, clipped lips and nearly cleared some of the landings entirely. It was a Sunday of blood.

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