X Games Chiba Japan: Day 2

Day 2 here in beautiful Chiba, Japan and my first full day at the X Games. The first nights sleeping is always so hard, and after waking p at 2am, I managed to fall sleep until 7am.
First things and breakfast was a fun catch up with the X Games organisers, and then caught up with riders, Broc Raiford, Terry Adams, Matthias Dandois, Varo Hernandez and many more.
After a breakfast it was time for the daily covid test, and then over to the venue, which I got a great view from breakfast.( Check the photo.)

The first port of call for the day, was the rider meeting at 11am in the athletes lounge, after a little bit of tense meeting it was decided to draw the names of the hat for the battles on Friday night. Some riders wanted to have a seeding by having a qualification round, others wanted the lottery aspect of battling. So after much knashing of teeth it was decided to draw names out of the hat, and go that route.

After the meeting, it was time to go and check out the stadium. And wow, it’s impressive! The flatland floor is absolutely huge, sheeted perfectly, with what looks like an oak framework. There is no bounce in this floor, and the size of floor is enough for eight riders riding. Great attention to detail from the X Games Japan team, where Flatland does really matter!

Even little details about the event, like the undercover flatland spot is just so good in the bike storage area just close to the flatland area. The stadium has the feel of Wembley stadium back in the UK, and for flatland to be in the mix in such a prominent spot just feels amazing. Throughout the day, pro street riders joined in the flatland practise and skateboarders stopped to watch and take it all in.

Practise was as you can imagine pretty crazy once the riders had got warmed up and used to the floor. With the judging format heavily weighted towards progression and originality the riders were really going for their hardest tricks, which is absolutely what you want to see at the X Games as the best in the world hunt down the gold medal.

The final battles will go down tomorrow night at 7pm Japanese time, I’m not to sure yet if it’s a live stream I can show here on Flatmattersonline or you have to pay via ESPN. But, be sure to know. If I can get it on the site, it will be up for sure. The photo of Varo Hernandez just reminded me, there was a nice moment in the practise where Varo who is riding Devon Smilie’s signature Fy Bikes frame gave his bike to Devon and he started busting out a few basic rolling tricks and even started to try Matthias’ backwards spinning manual on the pedals. Lewis Mills also joined in on the session, and their appreciation for flatland was so good to see. As Lewis commented “it’s so much more impressive in real life”…

X Games runs differently than most events, and judging will be no different. As many of you will know, I have judged a lot of events. Tomorrow is a new experience for me, judging through a monitor high up in stadium. Tomorrow morning we testing the camera angles for the best possible viewing point for the judges, which are myself, Simon O’Brien and York Uno.

Practise finished around 5pm, and the rain came in once again. Hopefully its cleared by tomorrow. I had a great catch up with York Uno whilst we had dinner, talking all things Ares Bikes, Japanese riders, X games history (we competed together back in the day), me giving York his first BMX magazine coverage for the Ares brand 22 years ago in Ride UK. So crazy to hear that. Its been a great day here in Japan, and we are all set for tomorrows showdown. Practise starts at 10am, it issure to be a banger!!! I Hope you enjoyed the update from my day, it was fun writing this all out!

13 thoughts on “X Games Chiba Japan: Day 2

  1. This is a great read!!! Can’t wait for the others days!!!
    What would be sick also is more infos on how that was build, I mean: who made the lobbying to have flatland at that xgames event? Who made the brainstorming and the making reg the stage you described like one of the best? Who had in charge the hard task to make the riders list? Why 8 riders and no less and no more? (who declined the invite if that happened). Who selected the judge panel? Actually who are the people and sponsors involved in this and what the budg€t is about?

    • @r – wow lots of questions 🙂 I met a few of the guys behind the scenes yesterday and have no idea who they are. What I can tell you is that flatland is big in Japan, and its seen as important way to promote BMX. I think with the floor, they probably once they elected the list asked about floor, and the riders there have done it enough to know what works, what doesn’t. They have invested a hell of a lot of money into flatland with this one, not sure why its 8 riders. I suppose with covid they have keptt things pretty small, I dont see a lot of riders or skaters for example. Its a manageable size, and they have us all in a bubble testing everyday.
      I think thats most likely the reason behind that. I love the fact flatland is seen as a priority here, and they want the riders going for it. Hence the format, its so sick. Its a progressive country, and very motivating to see.
      No idea about budget and stuff, I know York Uno has been working with the organisers as flatland advisor. I dont know much more than that.
      Nice to meet you at UrbanRuralRide bu the way @r

  2. So interesting reading about your days! I’m still a complete novice to it all but it’s absolutely fascinating. Cannot wait to start watching on ESPN…fingers crossed I’ve downloaded it all correctly!!! Good luck to everyone taking part

  3. I was hoping to wake up to this , Big- E ! SLLLLAMMMMMED update with loads of precise details that I was actually very curious about ….the judging format , the battle format , how practice went , the first riders meeting , and the other judges . Stoked that you’re really taking the time out of your busy time there to give us the 411 as the days count down to the final showdown ! Not gonna lie though . Bummed that Simon isn’t riding ( Stoked that he’s judging ,though ! ) , in my opinion he’s the current gold medal owner since he earned it back in 2003 , the last X-Games with Flatland involved . The street rider elites , Broc , Devon . Rad that they’re stoked and participated during practice ! Those two are some Flat-Killaz themselves . The flat ground game of B.I.K.E. series on You Tube is no joke . Them and the other riders get down HARD with some serious tech wizardry ! Seeing Yosuke ” York ” Uno is dope , also . Like you , he competed in multiple X-Games and whooped some serious ass ,riding in all of them ! Cool that you gave him his first magazine coverage in Ride U.K. ! (miss that magazine ! ) Seeing York with actual gray hair give me a good feeling . Why ? It’s because THAT shows that he’s older AND still is busting out on his bike AS he’s getting older ( video proof on the Ares You Tube channel ! ) . Just like all of us ! Flatland is one of the few sports where men and women ,as they get much older they DON’T slow down …….they all actually progress , evolve their own personal progression . Even moving the sport’s progression as a whole in some cases . Scott Powell , Will Redd , ( who just had BOTH hips replaced and is STILL pushing ! ) James White , you , Bobby Burge , Alexis Desoulneaux ,to name a few ……..the venue , floor , practice areas also look DIALED . Enjoy this experience , Effraim ! It must feel surreal , every second of it ! FLATMATTERS …….especially @ the 2022 Chiba X-Games !!

  4. Thank you for sharing Big-E! Does anyone know if there is a free live stream and what the link is? If so, please share!

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