Chad Kagy won the Best Bike Trick in his first mountain bike competition at the Winter Teva Mountain Games on Saturday night in Vail, Colo. Kagy landed a back flip tail whip on snow in his first event since breaking his femur in the BMX Big Air at X Games 17 in July. He won the bronze that day, taking his X total to 13 medals.
"This is my first contest back so I'm happy to walk away with a win," Kagy said picking up his $5,000 check at the awards ceremony. "This is my first time snowboarding and my first time riding a bike in the snow. Hopefully this happens again because it was a good time. I'll dress a little more appropriately next time -- my toes are frozen."
Mike Montgomery finished second with a front flip, Sam Pilgrim took third with a flip table to one-foot X-up, Cam Zink's flip nac nac took fourth, and Kurt Sorge rounded out the top five. Kagy soared about 30 feet in the air on his back flip off the 70-foot jump, drawing a roar from the crowd of thousands watching in the Golden Peak base area of the Vail ski resort.
The Teva Mountain Games are a weekend of human-powered competition for outdoor adventure athletes. The BMXer from State College, Pa., found his way there because of his friend, mountain biker Cam McCaul. Kagy and McCaul toured together with the Nitro Circus.
"I've been bugging him since we did a tour together to send me one of his mountain bikes to play on," Kagy said. "About three weeks ago he tells me, I'll send you a mountain bike in a month -- or I'll send it to you tomorrow if you agree to ride in a contest with me."
McCaul is recovering from shoulder surgery and was a judge at the event Saturday. He also helped design the jump, which was similar to the Nitro Circus ramp. "Everything seemed to fit," Kagy said. "Then he dropped that it's on snow. I was like, I'm game. It'll be fun."
A burst of fire on the knuckle of the snow kicker added a thrill to each jump and the slippery landing created spectacular crashes. The contest was held simultaneously with a telemark skiing big air, and skiers and bikers taking turns throwing tricks. The Teva Mountain Games began as a summer event in 2002, and this weekend was the inaugural winter games.
Kagy sounded as though he'd be back to defend his title next year. "This is a really different scene," he said. "It was a refreshing difference. Teva brought in a bunch of ridiculous human beings that wanted to jump mountain bikes in snow. How often do you see that?"