Big wheels keep on turnin’

It’s enough to make your head spin: the southeastern Ultimate Frisbee Hodown, Throwdown, Showdown VIII; three Home Trust Bank Cycling Classic races; and the mountain boarding 2004 RIDE international championship, all here the same weekend (July 30 to Aug. 1), with all events free to spectators.

Ultimate Frisbee showdown

Ultimate Frisbee and fencing just might be the last two truly civilized semi-contact sports (and even fencing requires judges and scorekeepers). In both, politeness and respect for one’s opponent are de rigueur, but in Ultimate, the players even referee themselves. They help opponents up after collisions. They organize cheers for the other team, and everybody parties together afterward. It’s so playful, in fact, that after watching a game or two, pro football and basketball begin to look more like combat than competition. What happened to the fun?

This weekend, 24 Ultimate teams from seven states will glide into the Fletcher Community Park for the Hodown, Throwdown, Showdown VIII — two days of high-intensity games. It’s the eighth annual regional tourney to be held here, reports Asheville Ultimate spokesman Chris Thompson; things will get under way at 9 a.m. Saturday and “probably more like 10 a.m. Sunday, after the party Saturday night.” Having lost some seasoned players, the Asheville team isn’t expected to win this year’s competition. But in Ultimate, scoring is as much a way to know when the game is over as anything else. In this sport, it really is how you play the game that counts.

Ultimate Frisbee Hodown, Throwdown Showdown VIII
Fletcher Community Park
Saturday July 31, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday Aug. 1, 10 a.m. until …

For information, call (828) 350-8141

French Broad Cycling Classic

The recent buzz about the Tour de France is likely to fuel excitement about the Home Trust Bank French Broad Cycling Classic, presented by the Asheville Bicycle Racing Club, even if the latter event doesn’t roll off the tongue as lightly as the famed European contest. Dubbed a “three-race omnium” (meaning that cumulative scores from the three events will determine an overall winner), the French Broad Classic happens this weekend in Marshall, Bethel and Asheville.

• July 30: The Hearn’s Cycling & Fitness Time Trial is a 20K there-and-back race along the French Broad River on Highway 251 south of Marshall. The first rider will start at 5 p.m.

• July 31: Cane Creek Road Race is an 11-mile loop that starts and ends at Bethel Elementary School on Sonoma Road in Bethel (east of Waynesville). The first racers leave at 8 a.m.

• Aug. 1: The Liberty Bicycles Criterium at UNC-Asheville is a clocked event in which riders circle the UNCA campus as many times as they can in the allotted time (which varies by riding class). Because the riders are in sight during most of the race, this is an especially spectator-friendly event. The fastest field, Pro/Category 1-2, will race for 60 minutes, probably completing about 60 laps. The first racers start at 8 a.m.; the pros take off at 3:30 p.m.

The total purse for the three races is $8,000, and competition is expected to be stiff.

Home Trust French Broad Cycling Classic
Friday July 30 through Sunday Aug. 1

For information visit www.abrc.net

Mountain boarding

As reported in these pages (Rollin’ in the holler, June 2 Xpress) “the epicenter for mountain boarding 2004 seems to be right here in WNC.”

On June 5, Burl Holler, a mountain-board park in Fletcher, hosted one of a series of nationwide preliminary bouts. On Saturday, the Holler will host the 2004 RIDE National Championship (note: RIDE = Rolling In Dirt Everywhere).

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About Cecil Bothwell
A writer for Mountain Xpress since three years before there WAS an MX--back in the days of GreenLine. Former managing editor of the paper, founding editor of the Warren Wilson College environmental journal, Heartstone, member of the national editorial board of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, publisher of Brave Ulysses Books, radio host of "Blows Against the Empire" on WPVM-LP 103.5 FM, co-author of the best selling guide Finding your way in Asheville. Lives with three cats, macs and cacti. His other car is a canoe. Paints, plays music and for the past five years has been researching and soon to publish a critical biography--Billy Graham: Prince of War:

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