The Ray’s Odd Couple event is similar to the standard blind date scenario; the partners anonymously meet, get to know one another, then make a video portraying their talents together…Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Well, perhaps in some ‘social circles’ (adult films) but that’s off topic.
Similar to dating, these Odd Couples possess their own characteristics, styles, and mindsets that make them one of a kind. It’s these unique differences that contrast and set them apart, yet tie them together in something which turns heads. Diversity is what Ray's Odd Couple event is all about, and the park reflects that.
Inside Ray’s MTB Park in Cleveland, Ohio, the wide breadth of terrain caters to every riding discipline; skinnies, teeter-totters, pump tracks, box jumps, rock gardens, wall rides, rails, bowls - Ray’s has it all. It takes a moment to acclimatize to the overwhelming options of riding spots littered amongst over hanging beams, steel girders, and sharp metal poles which serve no obvious purpose. In the first 20 minutes of riding, I hit my head on the roof while airing a quarter and had to re-evaluate my attack plan. Once I figured it out, it added an even greater depth of riding creativity.
The teams represented almost all genres of bmx and mountain biking. There were riders whose tires rarely touch ramps, to those whom were hanging out cork sevens in both directions. There were technical nose manual lines which perfect balance cheats had to be enabled, and aerial manoeuvres I only dreamt of in Dave Mirra Pro BMX (Up, down, left, right, triangle, triangle, left). Adam Hauck was making some of the bmxer’s jaws drop with his park skills, whereas Nick Bruce was impressing the mountain bikers with tricks that will likely trickle down to the larger wheels in a few years. As seen in Nicholi Rogatkin and Nick Bruce’s video, their specials are fully charged and the moon gravity cheat is enabled.
I was lucky enough to be paired with street wizard Timmy Theus of Cult Bikes. Neither of us had much skate park or ramp riding experience, but this made our experience unforgettable. We had to scrounge for tricks digging deep into the bag, whereas many groups were hammering box jump and technical lines throughout the event. When we needed more filler footage, we simply clipped shots of Squizzgarr the local park cat as filler and to gain more traction from the internet, aka, cat data base.
What impressed me most about the event was not the tricks being filmed, or the Rhythm Room (endless box jumps), but by the passion the park’s staff share for riding. Keith Miller, the Ohio park manager, is one of the funniest, most down to earth, and approachable people I’ve met. His high intensity level of stoke for bikes was shared amongst all the riders competing, and was contagious to just about everyone riding the park. There were only good vibes for the five days I was there, and it seemed to bleed down right from the top. Ray, the park’s founder, demonstrated the same affinity for riding and sharing his life’s work with riders of all disciplines and skill levels. Although the entire park is amazing, it’s really the staff that sets Ray’s apart from any other indoor park.
Your top three teams!
SR Suntour Garrett Robertson and Jeremy Ball - 3rd place