(06/17/2001)
It requires courage and skill, but maybe a degree of abandon to build downhill speed, hit the the "jump board" and fly into the air above the pond water. Then the rapid descent, discarding or riding the bike, into the pond water. Yesterday was the 4th Annual Appalachian Bike Classic Pond Jump.

The grand champion pond jumper was Tyler Ritchie, who flew through the air a little fancier with a little more distance. Ritchie had some pretty stiff competition. Some of the youthful jumpers accomplished some interesting gymnastics in mid-air.

The first ever woman jumper gave it a try yesterday, 45-year-old Lori Alechnewith of Pittsburgh.

A large cash collection among the spectators was not enough booty to get Bim the Barber or Eric Cain to straddle a bike and take the giant leap. Both cited the experience of Steve Buford Johnson two years ago, whose heroic antics sent him to the hospital. Bim said "You nuts, or something."

After each jump the bike is retrieved. A bike left in the pond from last year was found, actually in pretty good shape.

Rick Jarvis, owner of the local NAPA store, was the official starter, the event being sponsored by NAPA and Stihl chainsaws.

A wheelie on water

Bike retrieved after a year in the pond

High flyin' bloomers

Like a fish outta water

Pond jump a big spectator event

Heading toward ramp

Abandon all fear

The "first" lady of pond jumping

Rick Jarvis the "starter"

A real winner


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