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City Living

The Big Jump

BMX cyclist Kevin Robinson over New York's Central park, June 12. Christian Pondella/Red Bull Photofiles hide caption

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Christian Pondella/Red Bull Photofiles

After hearing our BPP segment on BMX cyclist Kevin Robinson yesterday, I decided that I had to take my eight-year-old son Fred last night. Fred and I have gone to other BMX events, most notably the King of New York competition in the Bronx two years ago, but we didn't really know Robinson, or K-Rob, as his fans refer to him. We just knew that we wanted to see him on that enormous U-shaped ramp making BMX history.

Luckily, Fred and I got into the event at the last minute, and we got a spot way up close to the front. The excitement was palpable and to be honest, manufactured — this was after all a promotional sports event — but Fred and I really got into it.

K-Rob's first attempts fell short of the record 26 1/2 feet he needed. On his fourth and fifth tries, he wiped out as his bike came down on the ramp, hitting his head as his bike slid out of control, off the ramp and into onlookers. In one of the wipeouts, a spectator was hit by the bike and escorted away, apparently in some pain.

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If Kevin was in any pain, he didn't show it. His sisters were a different story. Fred and I happened to be standing near them, and although they didn't look like scared, afterwards they admitted they always are, but they've gotten used to it.

On his sixth attempt, K-Rob narrowly broke the record, jumping 26 feet 7 inches over the ramp, putting his total jump just one inch over the previous record. So he tried again, this time reaching 27 feet.

During the post-jump jubilation, Fred joined the other kids, including a large number of children from Robinson's family, running up and sliding down one side of the ramp, having a great time and sustaining only minor friction burns.

K-Rob's sisters said they'd send Fred a signed photo of his newest hero.

He'll be rushing to check the mail every day.