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Hit on BMX biking circuit

Local 4-year-old flying high in competitive racing

Local 4-year-old flying high in competitive racing

June 20, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN

When Tyler Drawbaugh of Hagerstown falls off his BMX bike, fellow riders have to help him back on because his helmet is heavier than his head and he can't lift himself up.

Tyler is 4.

With the flaming red, plastic Mohawk on his helmet flying in the wind, Tyler attacks BMX hills and turns on his micro mini bike.

BMX biking is a sprint race from the beginning to the end, said Tyler's father, Jamie Drawbaugh.

"He's the youngest 4-year-old on the tracks we have been to," Jamie Drawbaugh said.

Tyler started racing in April and has collected six trophies in competition, said his mother, Tammy Drawbaugh. "He picked up on it right away," she said.

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In BMX racing, the goal is to go airborne over the hills to pick up speed.

"Just last week, Tyler got air," his father said. "It's scary."

"Jumping hills" is the most fun part of BMX racing, said Tyler.

In the Drawbaugh family, BMX biking is a family activity. Tyler's uncle, Cody Lynn, is ranked ninth in the nation and first in Maryland in the 10-year-old novice category.

Tyler actually competes against his niece, 5-year-old Mariyah Scott. On the track in Cumberland, Md., Tyler is introduced as "Uncle Tyler," said Jamie Drawbaugh.

BMX racing is not an expensive sport, said Tammy Drawbaugh. Entering races costs about $8 and all a rider needs is a bike, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and a helmet. Tyler's bright red uniform is padded.

Jamie Drawbaugh's mother bought Tyler his helmet and a $400 bike on which to compete, Tammy Drawbaugh said.

"We wanted him to be safe if he crashes," Jamie Drawbaugh said.

Tyler's parents volunteer with the Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway, so they are aware of safety concerns.

So far, Tyler has not experienced any major injuries, though he bruised his arm in one race and drew blood when he bit his lip in a crash, his mother said.

Bruises and broken collar bones are the most common injuries in BMX racing, said Jamie Drawbaugh.

BMX racing will debut as an Olympic sport in 2008, said Sherman Lynn, Tyler's grandfather. Lynn said he hopes that his son, Cody, might be able to compete in the Olympics in 2012.

Tyler started biking because he saw older kids BMX racing, his parents said.

"Cody teaches doin' tricks," Tyler said. Tricks include the can-can, when Tyler puts both of his legs off to one side of the bike, and "doing the triple," which involves standing on the bike's metal bar, Jamie Drawbaugh said.

Sherman Lynn said he's glad Tyler started BMX racing so young.

"The younger you can start them, the more agile they'll be on the bike," he said.

His parents said they plan to take Tyler to some national competitions soon, including the Grand National in Louisville, Ky.

Tyler said he likes to race because, "I like going out of the gate."

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