By Leigh Ramsdell, TM
Spending two weeks in Chengdu, China, is always a wild experience. Two weeks gives you plenty of time to check out a place you don’t normally get to go, try new food, and get use to the time zone which is a huge plus. On the flipside, the trip is long enough that you start to miss home, get over trying foreign food, and your body and mind are exhausted from the time zone and language barriers! These were a few of the challenges the Mongoose pros Nikita Ducarroz, Ben Wallace, and Kevin Peraza faced while competing in Chengdu. Nikita Ducarroz and Ben Wallace competed in the FISE World Series finals and the UCI World Championships, while Kevin Peraza only competed in the FISE finals.
For the first weekend, all three of our riders took part in the FISE World Series Finals. Kevin, Ben, and Nikita all had solid showing with each of them making it to Semi-finals in park, with Ben just missing out on the finals. However, he did blow people’s minds with his huge transfers with big, stylish tricks mixed in. Kevin also rode dirt qualifying and made it to the dirt finals, but decided not to ride since the contest overlapped with park practice and that event was a little more important. During park finals Kevin rode the course with a great mix of originality, style, and big tricks putting him in 6th. In the Women’s finals, Nikita rode the course great hitting all the ramps with her combo tricks and ending with a 540 putting her in 6th as well. Best Trick in street was next up, which Kevin won doing a crazy wallride combo finishing with a 180 downwhip!
With FISE finally coming to an end for the year, the riders could relax for…just a few days! The next weekend they had to go to a different part of Chengdu for the UCI World Championships. Well, Kevin went home while Ben and Nikita stayed. Nikita bought a scooter to get around easier and see some sights.
The UCI event is a high-stakes contest with double points that could make or break someone’s chances of getting into the 2020 Olympics! Ben rode so well in practice and everything was looking up, but a slight mistake in qualifying had him sitting on the sidelines cheering his fellow British riders on. He did manage to do the biggest flair transfer of the event though! Nikita made it through to the finals, but was in a low qualifying spot that she’s not usually in. She qualified in 10th, which meant after her run she had to sit and watch 9 riders compete hoping her run was good enough to place higher. Her first run had some bobbles that she wasn’t satisfied with.
“Going into the finals I tried to treat it like any other event just to keep the pressure down,” said Nikita. “That proved to be a hard task as I could feel the pressure and stress everywhere knowing what was at stake.”
Luckily is was best run counts, so she had one more chance to make up for it. On her second run, despite missing her first trick, she nailed a perfect 360 over the box and ended with a super clean 540! In the end, she finished in a really respectable 5th giving her some good points on her road to the Olympics. “Regardless of a less than adequate practice and feeling unprepared, I am happy with the outcome and pulling 95% of my run including some stuff that I had been working hard on,” added Nikita. “Overall China was a blast as always! Never a dull moment with the homies!”
China is never dull and neither was both weekends of some amazing BMX! The big contests are done for 2019 and now the riders and rest and practice for the 2020 season.