Yesterday morning at 10:00 am Evan and I were at the BMX track in Shunga Park to watch the bike races. This is the final event of this year's Sunflower State Games that I went to to watch and photograph. These races are always one of the more exciting events, and this is the third year in a row I've watched. Here are some of the racers gathering at the starting line.
BMX stands for Bicycle Motocross. A Motocross is a type off-road motorcycle race, and in the 1970s kids began racing bicycles on the same dirt racetracks as the motorcycles. As the sport developed, specialized bicycles began to be designed that were very light but strong. Tracks for bicycle use only were constructed, keeping the kids away from the dangers of riding around speeding motorcycles. There are organized leagues of BMX racing all around the world, including right here in Topeka.
The track in Shunga Park is called Heartland BMX. On the races we watched, about 3 or 4 riders raced at the same time. The race is one lap around the track. They zoom out of the starting gate when the official starter gives the signal. A small gate by the front tires keeps the riders from jumping the gun. It takes them around a minute to a minute and a half to ride around the whole track. There are lots of hills and banked turns to take. By the time to they get to the end they are completely gassed.
I've ridden around the track a few times on my mountain bike, and it can be very tiring. Not to mention that while we were there it was already almost 90 degrees- at 10 in the morning- and very humid. The sun wasn't in the best location to get good photos, but a few came out and are posted here.
We saw 4 or 5 crashes, and in this shot I by total luck happened to capture a kid in mid-air as he flew off his bike. None of the kids who crashed were hurt, in fact they all jumped back on their bikes and took off trying to catch up. They are all wearing virtually football uniforms, too, which probably helps when they crash, but must've made the heat even more unbearable.