Friday, July 29, 2005
Updated: May 14, 12:55 PM ET
Odds On: FMX
By Moto Mouth
Nate Adams. He's baaaack. The crimped femur held up at X Fighters in late July, and while he's as unstylish as ever, he still has all the tricks that won him gold at the 2004 X Gamesincluding the 3. That's saying a lot, and it puts the Target bulls-eye as the X-marks-the-spot on the man everyone will be chasing in '05. Robo Nate may not be the innovator, but he will be the terminator of the competition.
Travis Pastrana. Oh, what a world. Wonder Boy no longer owns FMX. The boys yanked Superman's cape and found he's almost human. With his speed, fluid motion, and frenetic energy, no one is more sublime to watch. But the consistency isn't there, and the dirt samples are. You can only fool Mother Nature (and gravity) so long before the bill is overdue. But don't count him outoh no. The talent oozes too richly, but we've been hearing him say things about how dangerous the sport isa wispy note of caution creeping into his tempestuous head. And you're not allowed to look back when you're in a sport where you can't think about where you're going.
Ronnie Renner. Proprietor of the upside down whip as well as the flip, this veteran is coming to X focused, fierce and ready to step up from Near-Podium Guy to one of The Men. Battle-hardened from big recent events and riding with utmost confidence, look for the Rendawg to take home some metalperhaps not gold, but something shiny nonetheless.
Jeremy Stenberg. By rights, he should be battling for gold, but Twitch has been slogging on the Boom Boom HuckJam, and he returns from the rock 'n' roll life of the road only three days before he shows up at Home Depot. That leaves him no chance to perfect a 3, which he will need to beat Nate and challenge TP. His mind and his body will be tired and dragging. Electric to watch, but what could've been, won't be this year. Word is, if he could choose again, he'd have chosen differently, but we live (and pay) for the choices we make. Pay up, Jeremy.
Kenny Bartram. From the sidelines, The Cowboy has been talking big about rehabbing, coming back stronger than ever, and returning to his role as sheepherder of the FMX flock. But his 3 is more like a look-over-his-shoulder cum weak-ass, off-axis backflip (at least the one he's unveiled so far), and the effects of the broken hip are not fully behind him. Also, the course this year is a big 'ol open range (with a 100-foot hit), not particularly Kenny's cup of Joe.
Dustin Miller. The new 'combo king' (apologies to Dayne Kinnairdwhatever happened to him?), Dustin has the skills, slickness and experience to be a serious podium threat. But like Twitch, he's been Boom Boom Huck Jamming, so he's got no chance to innovate and add the much-needed flip to his repertoireor to figure out the rumored body varial we've been hearing about.
Adam Jones. Last year he shocked and surprised and took home a bronze, but he's been low-key ever since. Pressure has never been his forte, and last year he was so under the radar he practically materialized on the podium. Not so this yearmany eyes will be upon him, and if past is prelude, expect the scrutiny to weigh heavily. It's strictly mental, not a matter of talent. He could get back in the medal world, or he could find himself out before the finals.
Drake McElroy. He's always a pleasure to watch, and the big bad Jesse Olsen-built course will complement his smooth and technical riding skills. But he's yet another HuckJammer. Since his 2002 medal back in Philly, DMC has become a working man's hero. He's content to push it far enough to be locked in the Top 10, but he's not about to do anything that will keep him from punching the FMX clock next year.
Beau Bamburg. A bit of an enigmabursting with talent, a hellman at times, but still never seems to put it together for the Big Show.
7-1 Ronnie Faisst. A great showman, solid rider, and a good soul, too; but somehow, he can't seem to put in a flawless run when the heat is on. At X, you have to be perfect, or do something insane and totally new, and that's just not like the man they call Kung Fu. He's also on the Huck Jam, so it's not likely he'll have anything all that special.