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BMX freestylers don't need obstacles to hang 10 at this Cleveland bikefest.

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Of all places, the Galleria's indoor lobby morphs into a bicycle arena today, when up to 10 BMX pros and dozens of amateurs compete in Cleveland's first-ever Northcoast Flatland Battle. And unlike the hi-NRG freestyle competitions popular in the Gravity Games, flatland contests don't bring ramps or grind rails into the mix. "Americans like to see people jump big things and crash hard. But most of the guys are not going to do a single trick. They put together a string of up to 20 tricks in a row on one wheel or another," says Brian Rybak, a former pro biker who's organized the competition. "They could do a certain position on the front wheel, without the back wheel touching the ground. Or they could flip over the handlebars and land in another position."The pros in the house will include Chicago's Matt Wilhelm and Louisiana's Terry Adams, who'll compete in the Flatland Voodoo Jam nationals next week in New Orleans. But the Cleveland stop is designed to promote cycling in Northeast Ohio and a proposed $10 million "velodrome," on which bikers can train for world-class tourneys. "I want the cycling initiative to be supported in Cleveland," says Anna Gerrodette, who's spearheading the fund-raising drive to build the arena. "A velodrome would be the ideal way to bring a year-round training facility of an Olympic level to Cleveland." The competition runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Galleria at Erieview, 1301 East Ninth Street. It's free to watch, $25 to $75 to compete. Visit www.flatlandcycling.org.
Sat., May 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 2008

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