The Westside Invite Hardcourt Bike Polo Tournament...
gotta like the personalization of wheel covers on polo bikes
Alright, so you know already that cyclocross was not the only happening over at the Fairplex this past weekend. There was also this little competition taking place called the Westside Invite, which seemed to attract three person teams from at least as far away as Washington state. Maybe further, I'm just not sure. Two courts were set up, and action seemed to be taking place continually the two days. I stopped by the courts and watched some of the play which ranged from okay, to pretty darn skilled.
If you have never witnessed any bike polo before, this is no champagne sipping crowd occasionally glancing up from refined political talk when players rumble past. Designer labels on tie and jackets would stand out like a sore thumb here rather than blend in. Talk in the stands is raw and edgy, matching the grit of the play on court. Bike polo looks and sounds like one of those sports; I can just hear mothers warning their sons and daughters, as they head off to college, to "steer clear of those bike poloists." That said, I learned this weekend that as bike polo has grown in popularity over the past number of years, the skill level has most certainly widened. And, while the competition can get quite intense, rough and tumble on the pavement stuff, it is all in good fun.
My previously experience with bike polo was limited to small local matches and tournaments; the Westside Invite was my first spectating opportunity of a tournament of greater magnitude, and the play was far more advanced than any I had seen previously. I can only imagine what a Hardcourt World Championship would be like. Nothing against local tourneys, or players (some of whom are also quite good). Everyone has to start as a newbie, and I imagine it is only after years of play that you reach the skill level of some of the players I watched last weekend. By Sunday evening, when the cx races had wrapped up, the bike polo tournament was still going strong. The stronger teams must have advanced towards a finale by then and were on court. I saw a trio from Portland competing against a team from [I am not sure where], and exhibiting some mad riding and shooting skills.
a ladies trio tussled against the boys. at least one of them also raced cx and, i do believe, may have had her business featured in a post over on Meligrosa's Bikes and the City yesterday. if you look at my spookycross post try and guess who is wearing the jorts
a basket on a polo bike. that is supreme. you never know when you will be called upon to make a beer run