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ROCK HILL, S.C. — Two dozen riders from Utah competed for Team USA at the Union Cycliste Internationale BMX World Championships in South Carolina July 25-29.
Todd Parry of Eagle Mountain won a world title on July 25 in the 50-and-over men’s cruiser class, in which riders use bikes with 24-inch wheels.
“It was great,” Parry said. “It’s an honor to represent the USA. It’s been 16 years since they had the race on U.S. soil, so I definitely wanted to defend and was able to do that. There’s a lot of fast people from all over the world.”
Racers from Utah who joined Parry at the championships were Kelsie Hinkle, Adriana Moulton, Darian Inglis, Easton Dell, Collin Smith, Ethan Alvey, Justin Alvey, Jonas Harmon, Faith Bair, Devonte Bendinger-Moore, Jack Kelley, Sophia Foresta, Alex Clift, Jason Melton, Kaitlyn Vanrenselaar, Brooklyn Vanrenselaar, Hunter Brown, Hayden Brown, Nick Kolesky, Janna Staples, Connor Clifford, Jordan Demik and Sophia Robbins.
Racers of all ages, boys and girls and men and women from age 8 to 50 and older, competed in the events. Most of the riders train at Rad Canyon BMX in South Jordan.
Rad Canyon track operator Dallas Edwards said the riders have to be at the top of their game to travel to the world championships.
“These riders are some of the best of the best in their class and in their age groups,” he said. “You’ve got to be the best to be able to go to a race like that and compete.”
Parry said going into his final race, he was confident he was going to win. He had won every lap in earlier races that day. Going into the last turn of the final race, he had a lead of five or six bike lengths, so he kept riding smoothly and crossed the finish line first, he said.
“It’s always a relief when the day ends the way you planned and you win,” Parry said. “That’s a relief because you accomplished your goal. And of course if it’s for a world title, there’s a lot of excitement. … It makes you feel good that your hard work pays off.”
Parry’s first BMX race was in 1978 in Orem, where he grew up. He rode off and on throughout his teenage years and early 20s before a knee injury prevented him from going pro, he said.
He returned to BMX racing later in life and rode professionally for seven years, starting when he was 34. Last year, he retired from national and international races, but made an exception last weekend for the World Championships.
“I didn’t really have a gauge on how fast I was going to be going,” Parry said. “But I just trusted in the process of what I go through to get ready for big races, and I just trained the way I always do and got ready to ride, and it definitely worked out for me.”
Edwards said several other riders from Utah made it into the top eight riders in their class over the weekend.
“It’s pretty neat to have these top riders in their age and class be able to represent Utah as well as Rad Canyon,” he said. “It’s quite an accomplishment to be able to even get there, and to have them from our home track is pretty awesome.”
Parry said he thinks BMX racing is a great sport because riders can create their own success by putting in hard work, without relying on a coach or someone else.
“That’s one thing I like about it,” he said. “You create the opportunity.”
BMX is a good sport for kids because it’s not as strictly structured as some other team sports, Parry said. There’s no set practice or game schedule, so kids can go to the track whenever they want and on their own time, he said.
After winning his world title, Parry now will go back to riding in only local races. He also hopes to pass along his knowledge and experiences to the younger riders, he said.
“It’s a great sport that anyone can be successful at,” Parry said. “For kids that want to get into it, just come to the track. … Just try it out.”