Everything was perfect. The ride down the dirt runway, the jump off a 15-foot ramp, the backflip, the landing, and the distance. All perfect. If anything went wrong it was that Cam Zink didn't know how to open a celebratory bottle of champagne afterward.
What he was celebrating was a Guinness World Record for the longest dirt-to-dirt mountain bike backflip, performed at Mammoth Mountain, California, before a live ESPN audience Thursday night.
Zink, 28, of Reno, Nevada, soared 100 feet, 3 inches to break his unofficial backflip record of 78 feet, established last October at Red Bull Rampage in Utah. Here's the ESPN X Games video of the jump:
After six months of practice and a huge buildup on the one-hour ESPN special called "World of X Games: Mammoth Flip with Cam Zink," the actual jump was completed in less than 25 seconds.
Zink pedaled down the runway until he got up to a comfortable speed, then coasted toward the ramp at 46 mph, made the jump, performed a backflip and landed perfectly on the 25-foot landing area.
His landing mark was immediately examined by a Guinness World Record official to confirm the distance.
"It's like a dream," Zink said during the post-jump interview. "I mean, just popped out and I was like holy-moly, I'd forgot how long I'd be in the air.
"I still felt comfortable, but I'm like, 'Man, I am just staring at the sky forever.' But I was like, 'Remember, it's a long flight.' And then I came around and it was just the smoothest—probably the smoothest landing I've had at all the straight airs or anything.
"It's crazy, like I almost went into a weird state of mind—whatever. That's what this whole last six months have been about."
Zink, the 2010 Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour champion, told ESPN that his future goals could include 150- and 200-foot backflips. By then, hopefully he’ll have had more practice opening champagne bottles.
By the way, if you missed Thursday night's event, it will be replayed on ABC's "World of X Games" show Sunday, August 24 at 2 p.m. ET.
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