What Paul Taublieb, the organizer of the X Games step-up competion, doesn't seem to know or care about, is that riders were stepping up long before he "invented" it, and step-ups are fundamentally different from what is repeatedly built at the X Games. He didn't invent step-up. People were stepping up long before he knew what motocross was, and even after all these years, he doesn't seem to know what step-up is all about.
It's about stepping up to the top of a cliff or over some vertical obstacle to a higher level, basically. You jump up to a plateau of some kind. Even though motocross tracks have, since the beginning, had step-ups, which are merely elevation changes, that's not the essence of an actual step-up. A real step-up is an almost vertical jump to a flat plane.
The X Games step-up needs to have the following changes made:
1. A ramp, instead of that ultra-weak little radius they cut out of another dirt jump to save money. The ramp should be 20 or 30 feet high.
2. Unlimited in-run. It's ridiculous to hold the riders down to a 20 foot in-run. Are they children? Can they manage their own speeds, or do they have to be put on a short leash? Sheesh.
3.Instead of using a stinkin' dirt jump for a landing that's WAAAY lower than the bar they're jumping over, they need a platform that moves up and up. Everybody tries to make it to the platform at one height, then they raise the platform two feet. Then they try to jump to the top of that. Up and up it goes until one rider remains.
4. To protect the riders from killing themselves, they should have a foam pit at the bottom in case anybody comes up short.
This will make step-up everything it's supposed to be. The spectators will win. The riders will win. The sponsors will win. Everybody wins!
The way it's currently being done TOTALLY LAGS. These riders are not only expected to jump from a 20 foot in-run, they have to jump a quick little bicycle hit on a motorcycle. Then they have to jump over a bar that's inconsistently held somewhat vertical by some dudes standing there, and if they don't angle the vertical poles just right, a rider gets eliminated. They need to take the guesswork out of that with a platform, and move the launch ramp back as the platform goes up.
To top it all off, the riders have to fly waaay back down and land on a bogus dirt landing with an angle that is waaaay too flat for the job at hand. So the riders are getting JACKED UP for no reason. Case in point: Ricky Carmichael, Ronnie Renner and others. There's no reason for it!
The X Games management needs to take a look at Robbie Maddison's practice rig from the Red Bull compound if they want step-up to progress from a lousy representation of step-up to what it really could be.
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