Mettle to pedal – Racers tackle Blood Rock, obstacles

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Some 691 racers in 41 categories braved obstacles like Blood Rock, a particularly treacherous section of trail, at Oak Mountain State Park Sunday during the BUMP and Grind mountain-bike race.

The trail claimed no major injuries, just some &uot;pretty good falls and some scrapes and bruises,&uot; according to Derrick Seys, president of the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP), who said the event was a &uot;great success.&uot;

BUMP, a volunteer group who maintains mountain-bike trails at the 10,000-acre park, has organized the race for the past 10 years.

The race features up to two laps around a 17-mile course with a host of divisions for beginners to professionals.

The race drew cyclists from across the U.S., with over half of the field coming from out of state.

&uot;I was real impressed with the amount of children that participated,&uot; Seys said. &uot;We had 77 kids race for free in the Shimano Youth Series.&uot;

BUMP volunteer Joe Cotlin said the high turnout, especially among children, is a good sign for the local health of the sport.

&uot;Mountain Biking kind of hit its peak back in the ’90s,&uot; Cotlin said.

But BUMP has seen its numbers for the race increase each year, according to organizers.

&uot;The success of our event is directly related to our sponsor support and our volunteers,&uot; Seys said. The mountain bike trails at Oak Mountain are open year-round