Video: Highlights From the North American Bike Trials Championships

Nov 18, 2019
by Anthony Delima  



These are my peeps, these are the guys who pop tubes, bust helmets, and almost always bleed. These are the men who had to take the smaller bus to school in the AM when they were youngsters. John Luba (The Bouncer) defended his national title and has returned it to its rightful place on his mantle with a 20. John was followed by the great Master of the sport Frankie Roderigues whose name (now spelled correctly) can also be found on a giant moto trophy in the Red Shed at age 66 3/4 as it states on his signup sheet rode to a 28. Tim C rode his way to hard-fought 4th place, 3rd after Scott withdrew his name from the novice list, score 46. Rob Allison shows steady improvement and when your our age that’s saying something his last loop was his best with a final score 58! Chasen was our only youth and completed all 3 loops his first comp ever and will have a place medal in the mail score = 56.


Sport is my category and these guys are true blue and would not start without me despite my sending messages to the group to go ahead and start or they won’t have time for 3 loops and I’d catch up best I could. So they waited…then started without me. We have basically two kinds of riders in Sport, three who are excellent riders getting back into trials after a long break and some new to trials. Alex B took the day with a 2 (so he’s gotta move up next time), Kevin, from frigging outer space shows up with mad skills and pounds out a quick and nearly as flawless 4. Then it gets interesting, Ryan on an Inspired street machine (like Danny Mac) pulls 2 very well ridden loops, all moves done with skill and speed, lots of speed, leading him to ta 15, the Cock-master (aka Jim) pulls two perfectly even loops of 8 so 8+8 = 16, this is how Jim rides like a zero turn mower, start him up and just wait.

I ran to catch up and rode some quick back to back 5’s (worst score you can get on a section) by missing gates and a poorly ridden 4 (all in loop 1), then when able to finally pull my head out of my ass on loop 2 was able to clean two sections and 2 the others = 18. Scott Lynn mountain biked his way to a 35 which is damn respectable considering he had 3 kids plus the rest of us there to distract him. Warren K who is super fun to ride with but we don’t get to see nearly enough slammed out a perfect 40. Garry, who normally kicks all of our asses bailed on loop 2 because he basically had too much fun on his bike the previous 2 days helping set up and test various other lines on a full cush Trek. He may also have lost a visceral organ or two in a few bad bails. Kyle Allison on “Neighborhood Girl” my loaner Echo 24 ridden by many, briefly even loved, then left. Anyhoo he stubbed his toe and had to sit out (likely broken, feel better Kyle she’s waiting for you).


I didn’t get to see too much of the expert riding as Carsinn took over judging for me so I could go catch my group for 2 loops, and Mike Friddell (event sponsor) continued to power on and judge the other group. These were some hard sections made harder by Ian J. The Farrar brothers Sean and Ian pulled scores of 1 and 6 respectively. That left a death battle between Brian E (US) and Ian J (CA) both at 13 but Brian had 7 cleans to Ian’s 5. This was a tough one, we originally thought just break the tie with a cage match but I just couldn’t see these two street fighting for a plastic medal, plus UCI blaa blaa blaa. But the battle goes on with Ken Cleveland at 14 and Jamali at 24. This must have been some damn good old trial because they had 2 loops of 6 sections and none were a gimme except section 1.


The big top, these sections were primarily planned by Mike F as they are really just too far above my level to set safely. I just looked at the proposed lines and thought “someone’s going to end up with a breathing tube”. Alas, I was proven wrong, and Jeff Anderson (CA) may have even been a bit bored finishing up with a nearly perfect two loops final score = 2. Looking at the score sheets it looks like that last giant glacial erratic boulder just wanted to be left alone. Followed by Jeff was Mike S who also had a love-hate relationship with the same damn rock. Ian J was judging and I was timing when Mike had a full-on shit show, garage sale, dumpster fire getting on the damn thing, that said Mike pushed onto a long and hard-earned 20. Section 4 found Mike trapped in the “Pit of Despair” where he fought his way out the first time but on the second loop it finally consumed him. Ross W rode to calm collected 3rd, interesting fact, he got on that damn boulder at the start of section six 3 times each time gravity just slowly pulled him back to the floor. Ross finished with a score of 24. Matt, Aaron, Robbie and Trevor 52, 52, 53, 54 could that be any closer. The most impressive riding I judged was Matt charging at the giant hook up like a bull with a ring in his nose and steam coming out his nostrils. No strato dab here, he hit that damn rock so hard I’m sure he made it an inch lower for the remaining riders. Carsinn showed the crowd a good time as it can get pretty silent and tense out there plus he had to give up ice cream to come out East and punch out a 60.


Peter for the video. Riders from all over North America including an enthusiastic Canadian contingent attended the NATS event this October. Many volunteers assisted in making the day a great one, and my wife Lynn for leaving me to my own devices and Star Baker award for the cookies. Mustache Mike wowed the crowd with his now world-famous Mesquite Hot dogs, Matt M from RI NEMBA for all his help on our permit and coordination with the RI NEMBA Arcadia fun Ride, and Norm from the Moto trials club for the patient use of their clubhouse.

Our little Wednesday trials wrecking crew brought some serious horsepower to the setting and cleanup of the 24 lines. These are the kind of guys who do not hesitate to pick up a rake or hammer and chase each other around the rocks, drink even the cheapest of beer and pretty much heckle each other. Right-hand man Jim used our nation's non-recurrent engineering dollars to provide expert mapping for out RI DEM permit, and CNC facility to laser burn the Masters trophy. Alex B reset sections for the greatest fun factor. The Western Canadian crew assisted in the setting of pro-sections and I think Ian J may have set all of the expert sections unsupervised. What I do know of Ian’s sections it that they were fueled by a Heineken tallboy (but just one). John Luba raked and set till the wee hours of the evening.

Thanks for coming out to visit and ride,

Anthony De Lima


  • 23 1
 I remember when trial was big -- world-level events took place during the DH/XC World Cups and it was a treat to watch! Too bad this discipline has lost some traction/visibility in North America -- trial is an integral part of MTB and we can all benefit from those skills on the trail.
  • 14 1
 It probably would have stuck around if they still did it on actual bikes people would ride.
  • 5 0
There was always a stock and open classes.
  • 7 0
 @chriskneeland: Which is why Chris Akrigg is the man.
  • 4 0
 absolutely. the norco trials team with ryan leech was one of my biggest influences/ motivations growing up riding. its a bit of a shame that its kind of petered out in north america, its a beautiful and incredibly enjoyable riding discipline
  • 3 0
 @chriskneeland: sure, but that's like having DH racers ride trail bikes or cruiser bikes. Trials is SO much better (at least when you are competing to ride hard obstacles) on a purpose built trials bike... it's simply optimized for the sport like any other racing bike.
  • 2 0
 @trialsracer: I understand, I just think it makes it less appealing. If more people were doing what Chris Akrigg was on trail/enduro bikes, I think more people would relate and take an interest in trying it.
  • 9 0
 Most of our Trials group here in Eastern CT got into trials to improve our skills on the mountain bike. Lately we have been getting 5 to 7 riders at each group ride which is way more than me, alone, in my driveway, with the dog while the daughter does homework. Now our regular ride is Wednesday afternoons (getting dark now so some of us bug out of work early) and the group ranges from local pro's to novice and all are improving regardless of age or skill. Anyone is welcome to join us just message me your e-mail and I'll gladly add you to out list. We also keep a good guest bike available, so all you will need is a sturdy pair of sneakers and a lid. And feel free to join our little Facebook page
  • 2 0
 Tony really nice write up, and awesome video, wish I had heard about it, would have loved to come watch. Hope to get some night rides in with you guys this winter! Riley
  • 2 0
 this is awesome. I wish this happened where I live!
  • 4 0
 There are two bits of advice for folks getting into riding today: 1 - dabble in trials. It'll teach you a lot about riding other bikes. 2 - that guy near the start of the vid complaining about sweaty hands is why you should get some gloves, now. If you learn to ride without them, it's very hard to switch (which is why there's a guy at the north american champs not wearing them) but if you start out with them, that's what you'll get used to and you'll never have to worry about sweaty hands. Plus you get some minor protection in crashes.
  • 5 0
 It's hard to learn to ride with gloves if you've never used them?
  • 2 0
 @natemeyer: Well that's what a lot of riders who don't wear gloves say and I take them at their word.
  • 7 0
 I remember when guys used to race XC AND Trials on the same bikes!
  • 1 0
 Today if I attempted most trials moves I would end up in the hospital but when I was a kid I raced my XC and did trials in the woods all day. We ended up having a pretty good section in the neighborhood woods at one point. Then life took over in our mid 20s and I never really practiced anymore. Biggest loss for me is that I don't climb anywhere near like I did as a kid. So sometimes I get pissed at myself when I don't clean a very tech climb that I know I would have smoked 25 years ago. But any kid that really wants to be legit at riding should be building obstacles behind their house and learning to clean them.
  • 2 2
 Respect for the skills displayed here, no doubt. But trials is much more fun to WATCH when there is a motor in the bike! Both fun to DO.
  • 1 0
 Give us trials e-bikes!!
  • 1 0
 Ha. Different world. Wonder what their equivalent of Joey’s wear to a “ride”.
  • 1 0
 Awesome, it was nice to see what the sport sections are like. I’m hoping to make it to this event one of these days!
  • 1 0
 Good thing Pole doesn't make trials bikes....
  • 1 1
 The music in this video ruined the whole thing.
  • 7 0
 More than the short shorts ./ high socks combos?

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