Rocking some indoor BMX

In a miraculous turn of events, I got a babysitter and went to spend Saturday at the Colorado Indoor BMX in Greeley, CO.

Plus: How does Captain America work for BMX?

Photos by Alex Willie. Thanks for shooting.


Colorado Indoor BMX is putting on a three-weekend indoor BMX series in Greeley, CO. Each track is built right before the weekend’s events, which is a miracle of planning, heavy-equipment-fu and volunteerism. Registration was super pro. Everyone involved with the event was double cool.

Big turnout: The venue was an explosion of BMX awesomeness, with riders of all ages, plus their families, ready to race and lend support. There were about 50 motos, which seems like a lot for a local event.

De ja vu: I spent a weekend in this building for the American Supercamp flat-track moto clinic. What a great adventure that was. It propelled me from “mountain biker who rides moto” to a fairly decent moto rider, at least in the corners.

Sweet book: At one of the tables they were selling Pro BMX Skills. That gave me a thrill. A mom told me she changed her kid’s crank length per the equation in the book … and her kid is way faster. Whew.

Mountain bikes!

They had an open mountain bike class (open meaning it’s open to all rider levels). We had four gates of MTB men, featuring some fast pro 4Xers, plus a gate of women. It was fun to see some old racing friends (and former pupils). Dang, some of those dudes are fast!

Funny: When we mountain bikers were trying to line up for the first moto, the start lady treated us like morons. She was right: 7-year-old BMX racers understand how motos and lane assignments work, but mountain bikers sure don’t.

Younger Skywalker

Young Skywalker (aka Alex Willie, a DH pinner featured on this site) has an 11-year-old brother named Chase, and Chase wants to try BMX. Chase and I did a basic lesson about a month ago; today was the real deal.

We worked on starts, and we talked about passing options in the corners. Chase drew gate 8 in the final, so I wanted to make sure he had the high-low pass dialed.

Once Chase got comfortable in the gate and understood the passing scenarios, we rode laps, and he found a smooth flow. I told him he’s a strong, skilled rider, and that he should just have fun. He crushed his first moto.

Chase’s first-ever BMX race start. Not bad dude!

Chase with some awesome fundamental skills. Much credit goes to SMBA. (I was a coach there. I coach their coaches. They run a great program for young riders.)

Pinning it into the penultimate straight. I was yelling, “Just ride your bike!”

As for me

The bummer about writing books about BMX is you don’t have time to ride BMX. I haven’t raced in years. Last time I raced a gated event, I had the worst start in Colorado. Let’s hope knowledge is power.

Good news: Just by using Coach G’s start fu — as described in Pro BMX Skills — I was getting great gates! Super awesome.

Yikes! But wow man, those other guys were so close, and it seems like everyone was picking on me. I felt great by myself, but to be honest, the other riders made me nervous. When the gate dropped, I waited to see where everyone was, then I pinned it, then I backed off to let everyone by. Riding the trainer does NOT prepare you for elbow-to-elbow battle.

Duh: If I want to be good at racing BMX, I have to … uh … race BMX.

Dear diary: I was in the mix over the first jump. Knowledge is power!

Entering the first turn in a great position to dive inside and block at least one of these guys. Instead, I’m about to back off and settle into third.

Battling in the cruiser class. These experienced old guys love to rub elbows. Me no likey.

Captain America

Yeah baby! I rode Captain America, my experimental Stumpjumper HT EVO-R in the MTB and cruiser classes. The bike worked as well as the rider. Great acceleration, awesome cornering, good pump, great looks. Ha!

More precisely:

– The tires ruled. In the tacky morning, the Specialized Renegade XC micro-knob race tires railed all lines — bermed or not — with impunity. In the dry afternoon, an over-aggressive inside line led to a hard crash, but that was my fault. The Renegades roll very quickly and get good traction on hardpack.

– The seat hit my butt on the first couple laps, but I adapted. I think the key to braaaping a bike with a relatively high seat is a level torso. That keeps the butt out of the way.

– The rhythm felt choppy, but I think that’s because the bumps were pointy and I was trying to over-muscle everything.

– After each moto, I could raise my X-Fusion Hilo seatpost and keep spinning as I cooled down. Ha! Take that you 20 riders!

Overall, the bike worked great. The weak link here was my lack of BMX practice.

Compared with the DJ bike to the right, Captain America is a lot longer in the wheels and taller in the seat. But he gets it done.

He might be long, but Captain America can be manualed. On our way to 2nd in this cruiser heat.

Life (capital L)

Right after I qualified for the cruiser main, I checked in with The Wife, and she informed me the baby sitter never showed up. Crap. That left Momma, who has not been feeling well, home with two babies who are pinned to 11. That makes 22.

I packed up, gave Chase some advice/encouragement and drove home.

Pinner: Chase won his main, which is rad. He started in Lane 8, entered Turn 1 in second position and pulled the high-low move we practiced. I think that’s even radder than leading from the start. Go Chase!


– Saturday, Mar. 12th | Registration: 11am-1pm / Racing ASAP | Double Point ABA BMX Race for Life, MTB, Open racing.

– Sunday, Mar. 13th | Registration: 9am-11am / Racing ASAP | Triple Point ABA BMX Redline Cup Qualifier, MTB, Open racing.

I’m gonna hire a badass Russian babysitter who actually shows up for work. And I’m gonna practice BMX (at least in my head).


— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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10 replies
  1. Eric Hansen says:

    Hey Lee, I’m the guy who was talking to you down by the finish line.
    Just gotta give my kiddo a shout out, he ended up making the main and getting a fifth in his first ever race and doing a gate. He won his third moto which was way cool.
    The bummer part is he woke up on Sunday with a fever so I feel like a total Lil’ leaguer BMX Dad for egging him on, Doh!

    Piece of fatherly advice, sometimes when your kids are whiny and wanting to go home is because they really don’t feel good!

    In all fun day that I think is going to prove pricy, my oldest son wants to give racing a go after watching his old bike take a couple firsts and I am feeling the bug again so next go ’round I think the three of us are going for it.

  2. Robyn@VintageRedline says:

    Bummed that I missed it, but I will make it in March. Strong turnout. I know there are a bunch of riders there that have Pro BMX Skills in their library!

  3. Kate Rau says:

    Lee, Chase, and Alex,

    What a thrill to hear and see the fun of the BMX scene. Lucky for us to have such great facility near by and Lee’s dialed eye pushing everyone to the next level.

  4. Eric says:

    An RV you say???? Hmm, was talking to a guy about him selling his S&M RV cruiser…you truly are all-wise and knowing grandmaster! 😉

    I think the Nats are safe from us for while, entries to local races are going to be bad enough for three of us. If my girls want start to…I’m gonna need a second and maybe third job!

  5. Alex Willie says:


    It’s so much fun, and Chase LOVES it. He’s pinning that little red Intense SO hard. We should do an off-season ride soon, it’d be great to catch up. Finish off the winter good!

    Alex Willie

  6. Rex says:

    Hey Lee, I met you at the MTB camp at Tamarancho and totally dig your braaap gospel. Anyway, how does Captain America jump and is there enough space on the bike to move around in the air? Also, how does the chainstay length of the bike compare to that of the stock stumpjumper frame?

    P.S. You’re totally right about the whole BB to bars/peg to bars measurement. I measured the distance on my KTM, then on my MTB, and they are pretty much the same.

  7. leelikesbikes says:

    Hey Rex,

    Thanks for writing.

    – Captain America is a stock 2010 (or 2011?) Stumpjumper M5 HT frame. They had to bring him in from Europe (apparently American XC racers are all about the 29ers).

    – I haven’t done a lot of jumping yet, but so far the Captain jumps just fine on trail, pump track and BMX track. Not like I’m throwing crazy style.

    Check out this post about riding the Fox Racing Shox pump track.

    At 0:20 in the video you can see Captain America can be whipped around — and jumped — pretty well. On tight jumps like these your balance and timing have to be spot on.

    The Captain abides.

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