At 44 years old, BMX legend Dennis McCoy is the oldest BMX competitor at X Games 17 in Los Angeles. A veteran of the multidiscipline approach to riding (McCoy dominated flatland competitions for more than 10 years earlier in his career and excelled at park, street and dirt contests), DMC has since decided to concentrate his competition riding on vert. "I'm not done with park in any way, shape or form. I'm just taking a break and focusing on vert," McCoy said in an ESPN interview last year.
McCoy is the only BMX pro to have competed at every X Games since its inception in 1995. X Games 17 is his 17th.
Considering that some of the BMX park competitors have turned 17 in the past year, it's safe to say that McCoy has been riding a long time. In fact, the Kansas City, Mo., native is experiencing what he refers to as a "third wind." At his last competition of 2010, the Dew Tour Championships, McCoy finished third in vert behind Chad Kagy and Jamie Bestwick. It was his best vert contest placing in the past several years and a clear reminder that he had more to offer the world of competitive vert riding. "It felt good in Vegas to get third by riding well," McCoy said. "It wasn't a situation where I got third because other people had an off day. I just had some new stuff that I was waiting all year to do."
In May, McCoy continued to impress, grabbing another bronze medal at X Games Asia. (See above video for highlights.)
For those not familiar with DMC's brand of vert riding, we can help. He blends his edge-of-the-seat style with barspin combos, smooth corkscrew flairs, high 900 airs and some of the best barspin 540s in the business. But there's more to McCoy's vert riding than just tricks -- he's not afraid to boost his airs. Typically, his first air in a run is in the 10-foot range, and that's where most of his runs remain.
For 2011, McCoy returns to the X Games vert ramp, looking to redeem himself from X Games 16, where he finished 10th in BMX vert after crashing early on. "I took an unfortunate knock to the head and got knocked silly," McCoy said. "Typically, the X Games are the place where I can think of a way to make something happen. Even if it's not a medal, it's top-five. [Last] year, things didn't go that way."
Of course, if DMC's third wind is any indication of what to expect, there is a very good chance of a vert podium spot for BMX's oldest and most vested X Games BMX pro.