In any racing sport, the same rule is taught to young racers over and over: Never look behind you.
But Grand Valley BMX rider Steven Adams broke that rule when he peaked to see the gap between him and the field.
“Well, I wanted to conserve energy because I have to race in the expert class,” Steven said moments after winning his second straight state title for cruiser bikes Sunday during the Colorado BMX State Championship Final at the Grand Valley BMX Track.
He had a different goal in mind, winning the 15-year-old BMX title, where he was ranked No. 2 statewide behind Owen Olsen from Wellington.
“It felt really great to defend my title like that,” Steven said. “But I’ve been state number two in BMX for two years in a row now.”
But the first turn ended many championship dreams, including Steven’s. During a qualifying race, four of the five racers piled up in the first turn. Jerry Smith, a racer from Aurora, was down on the track for about 15 minutes after a wreck during preliminaries left him unable to walk off under his own power.
The crashes happen frequently because riders are jockeying for position coming into the first curve, according to Nick Adams, who operates the Grand Valley BMX Track with his wife, Kristi.
“You’ve got eight riders coming into that first turn, and anytime on any point in the track when you have eight riders side by side, it’s going to be tricky,” Nick Adams said.
And even though Steven was in the top three leaving the starting gate, he ran out of room climbing high on the first turn.
“It’s really tricky trying to maneuver with guys swooping under you,” he said. “I was just caught up top on the turn and hit the guy’s back tire on the way down.”
Although Steven finished last, he can take solace in his rival Olsen finishing fourth.
Alex Serrano of Clifton won the 11-year-old BMX expert division state title, successfully defending his No. 1 ranking.
Grand Junction’s Chase Popejoy won the 10-year-old cruiser division and finished second in the 10-year-old expert division, barely losing to Dillon Turner of Morrison. Meanwhile, Grand Junction rider Andy Smith won the intermediate race in the same age bracket.
Reid Austin topped the 11-year-old expert division, defending his state title. Grand Junction racers topped both ends of the age spectrum in the novice division with Josiah Lawson winning the 5-and-under final, while Gary Collins won the 41-and-over novice final.
Isabelle Burtard, of Grand Junction, won the 7-year-old girl’s race.