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Weather grounds barge-hopping freeride contest in Inner Harbour

Jun 24 2012

Heavy wind and rain forced JumpShip's freeride competitors to stick to solid ground on Saturday.

The competition, part of a three-day festival, features riders performing tricks on dirt jumps on a barge floating in the Inner Harbour.

The finals of the main event were scheduled for Saturday afternoon, but had to be postponed until today - weather permitting.

"It's a bit disappointing but we try to keep everything as positive as possible," said organizer Graham Powell.

Dirt jumps erode easily in the rain with multiple riders, Powell said, so the postponement will ensure efficient competition, as well as the riders' safety.

Practice runs were also cancelled on Friday.

"The jumps got fairly saturated [Friday]," Powell said, though they were fixed in time for riders to practice on Saturday.

"It was warm and riders started practice," he said.

"We were right on schedule to start finals at 4: 30." Then the weather turned.

"Even with the rain, we still have a ton of stuff going on," Powell said, adding that the wet weather was unexpected. "We planned it on a weekend that historically speaking is highly in our favour."

Live music went ahead as planned on Saturday night and the beer garden remained open.

Nelson Berlin was at JumpShip on Saturday afternoon and said the Inner Harbour was packed before the rain started.

"It would be really good if it could happen," he said. "Hopefully the rain hasn't stopped it from being all it could be."

Organizers were expecting up to 60,000 spectators at the weekend event, now in its second year, Powell said. About 10,000 attended last year.

"There's more visibility and knowledge of the event this year," he said.

JumpShip is unique because of where it takes place, Powell said. Freestyle jump contests generally take place at ski resorts or hills, away from urban settings.

Today, competitive riders are scheduled to practise in the morning, with finals in the afternoon and an awards presentation at night. The beer garden will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. All events are open to the public.

JumpShip 2012 is taking place during the Victoria International Cycling Festival, which kicked off June 1. The festival wraps up today with Ryder Hesjedal's Tour de Victoria. cclancy@timescolonist.com

CYCLING FESTIVAL WEEKEND EVENTS

A number of other cycling events are taking place this weekend as part of the Victoria International Cycling Festival:

- RYDER HESJEDAL'S TOUR DE

Victoria takes riders on three routes - ranging from 50 to 140 kilometres - through 13 municipalities; tourdevictoria.com.

- Classic Bike Rally, with classic

bicycles on display plus experts to discuss the bicycle and its history with Victoria, noon-7 p.m. on the legislature lawn; vicf.ca.

- THEATRE SKAM'S ANNUAL BIKE

Ride live performance. Bike to multiple performances along the Galloping Goose Trail, 3: 30 p.m. to dusk at Cecelia Ravine Park, 3130 Napier Lane. Refreshments and bicycle rentals on site. Tel.

250-386-7526 or skam.ca.

- THE ISLAND SAVINGS FAMILY

Bike Festival features fun for kids of all ages - including a bike rodeo, a family bike equipment showcase, helmet fitting and a "bling your bike" contest. In front of the Fairmont Empress, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; vicf.ca.

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