After the USABMX season finale, Canadian Olympic boy wonder, Tory Nyhaug and I decided to run down to the beautiful city of Medellin in Colombia for their annual “Race of the Lights.” Having gone last year, it wasn’t hard choosing between the cold front that was blasting through Texas, and the perpetual Spring with temperatures in the mid-80’s that Medellin offers. Track Director, Martin Alberto Posada Jaramillo, and the crew with BMX Antioquia once again went out of their way to make sure our trip was smooth and easy.
Medellin is a beautiful, valley city, situated at an elevation of nearly 5,000. The month of December is especially nice as the city is decorated with millions of lights for the holiday season. Medellin will host the BMX World Championships in 2016, and with the Olympic success of the Colombian BMX program, everyone is super pumped on the sport right now!
Although there was practice nearly every day, along with press-conferences and photo-shoots for the international riders, and a no-chain race on Thursday night, we still had plenty of time for the simple things like sight-seeing, paintball, mani-pedi’s; etc etc.
The race format for the Race of the Lights is a little different than most. The points for every lap on the weekend (motos, semis, and mains) are combined for one final score and finish. That ensures that there won’t be any coasting with low-points or settling in for a comfortable third, when you can battle to the line for a second.
With an international field of BMX stars, as well as locals who know the track like the back of their hand, the elite class with 8-man semis was a battle royale. After winning his semi, Tory got into the main on day one, but had to settle for 8th after getting bullied in the first and second turn. Day two brought more good laps for T, but after getting together with “The Machine” Maris Strombergs in the semi, he wasn’t able to make it into the final. After the points were tallied, Tory ended the weekend with an overall 8th place finish and a great tan! The TM, on the other hand, raced in the Masters Class and managed an overall 2nd place, scoring a sweet custom “Race of the Lights” trophy!
After talking to the other riders, the opinions all seem to be the same: everyone loves this event and can’t wait to come back. The hospitality of the Colombian people and their passion for the sport make it an unforgettable experience! Once again, a heartfelt “THANKS” goes out to Martin Jaramillo and everyone else who helped make our trip memorable. If you have the opportunity to attend this event…don’t pass it up. Attached are a few pics of the fun.