I had never been to the NBC Gravity Games, so when I was invited by Warpt Industries and TWMX to go take pictures of the event I was stoked. Since I had just attended the 2003 Summer X Games in L.A., I was looking forward to heading to Cleveland, Ohio, to compare the two and see how they stacked up against one another. To be honest, I have never really looked at the Gravity Games as being that big of a deal, considering that they basically copied the X Games and added their own little corporate “gravity” twist.


Though I thought of it as some lame carbon copy, I have to admit that I was wrong. The first thing I noticed when I finally entered the pearly gates was the location. Gravity's backdrop of downtown city buildings was sick! Nestled in between Lake Superior and downtown Cleveland, Gravity seemed to be set up with the spectators in mind. It was also located right next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which hosted many parties, beer gardens, and totally rippin' concerts throughout the week. All in all, the locale was much better than this year's X Games in downtown Los Angeles, which might as well have been in downtown Tokyo!


The athlete roster for Gravity was a little bit different than the X Games roster, but still had most of the heavy hitters that you would expect to see at a professional freestyle contest, with the exception of the Metal Mulisha, Metzger and a few others. The field was much more colorful and there was definitely a shortage of black bikes, black gear and iron crosses. Instead, there was a rainbow sherbet assortment of bike colors, break-dancing riders, and huge corporate sponsors. For better or for worse, the riding was still insane.

One of Gravity's trademarks from the beginning has been the no metal ramp, all-dirt courses. The riders really didn't mind the lack of metal ramps, but they were not too pleased with the amount of practice that they received. The Brian Manley-built dirt course was very technical compared to the huge, spread-out L.A. Coliseum course. Each rider had only about ten minutes to dial in the technical, rhythm jump-filled design and perfect their entire bag of tricks. Nonetheless, the riders still handled the course they were given like professionals and absolutely killed it.


In the bronze medal position was Ronnie Renner. Renner was sporting his new KTM ride and looked to be comfortable on and off the bike. Busting out like usual, he had to make a fool of himself and dance around like a snake having a seizure before closing out his run. I do not know what possesses this boy to do such things, but hey, if that's his deal then more power to him. Maybe when his riding career comes to an end he can land a job dancing in the cages at gay nightclubs! All jokes aside, Renner can whip the hell out of a bike, so I guess that makes him cool in my book. Good job on the bronze, Renner!

The one thing that made this year's Gravity Games stand out from the rest and make history was the fact that Travis Pastrana was finally defeated. Travis was still undefeated coming off the X Games and into the 2003 Gravity Games, and he was fighting as hard as ever to keep his winning streak alive. Sadly, Travis had an extremely hard time keeping his bike on two wheels. Travis' innovation and aggressiveness had gotten the best of him when he tried to pull a backflip Hart Attack and ended up with an unsuccessful attempt. He pummeled the ground like a rock and knocked himself silly. Luckily, he was able to get up and walk it off, but supposedly he has no recollection of even attempting the trick! Travis's riding was exceptional up to that point and was good enough to earn him the silver medal.

But the big news: Nate Adams has done it! He finally got the gold medal he deserved and more importtantly, Nate rewrote history by finally defeating Travis Pastrana. Nate has been absolutely on fire as of late, and in Cleveland he was burning. He seems to do every trick in the book, and he does it with more style and grace than anyone. Most notably, Adams pulled a backflip on the second jump in a very big rhythm section. My congratulations go out to Nate Adams for a well-deserved and overdue win.

After the very emotional and moving awards ceremony, street luge kook extraordinaire Biker Sherlock decided to take his SoBe pre-runner out on the moto course and show the boys how it's done. In total dork style, he launched one of the landings and ended up flipping his new toy. All I have to say is “Bro, lay off the 4:20 and stick to street luge!”

That night, the need for celebration was in the air, so to end this contest off right everyone headed down to the river for the Warpt Industries athlete party. The shindig was absolutely going off, with all of the athletes from all the sports (except for inline, of course) having a blast and taking advantage of the open bar and free concert. Professional skateboarder Chris Gentry was blowing up the spot with a nice display of hip-hop freestyle skills, at the same time making all of the ladies back their thangs up. Word! I believe I even saw the new Gravity Games gold medalist Nate Adams shaking a rump or two. Unfortunately for me, I got stuck at the bar with a last-chance qualifier that ended up turning into the main event. Damn those Jagerbombs!