Every athlete has different techniques of preparing for big games or competitions—but skateboarders and BMX riders might have the most random methods of all. BMX legend Jaime Bestwick is stocking up on sleep meds, Dew Tour Best Trick winner Ryan Decenzo spent time exploring chicken feet and intestine, skateboarding icon Bucky Lasek labored over two acres of landscaping, while up-and-coming BMX rider Dennis Enarson was busy formulating a pro-caliber course.

All of them have been practicing and perfecting their new tricks too, of course, for the 2011 Dew Tour Championships, which begin today in Las Vegas, NV. The four are all competing to grab or keep top honors in their respective events: Decenzo leads skateboard street, Bestwick leads the BMX vert in his quest for seven straight titles, Enarson spearheads the BMX dirt, and Bucky Lasek is in prime position at second in the skateboard vert.

For Bestwick, Dew Tour Athlete of the Year in four of the past five years, the two events leading up to the ‘ship, the Pantech Cup in Ocean City, Maryland, and the Toyota Challenge in Salt Lake City, Utah, have been a bit of a roller coaster ride.

“At Ocean City they sent me in every five minutes because there was a lightning storm that came through,” says Bestwick. “And in Salt Lake City you have to deal with the altitude and the air quality, so it’s been a mixed bag. The contests have been great. It’s been a little bit of up and down, no real consistency. You go to one contest and it’s a waiting game, and the next I didn't personally sleep for three days. Next time I must take more sleeping pills.”

Considering he returned from South Africa just a week before the final competition, Decenzo could relate to a screwed up sleep schedule. The Vancouver native was in Kimberly, South Africa participating in the Maloof Money Cup World Championship, where he placed fifth in the pro street.  

While visiting, Decenzo was offered the opportunity to taste what the locals ate.

“They wanted to take us out the first night for a traditional African meal,” says Decenzo. “They opened the dish and it was the gnarliest food. It was a whole goat's head with the teeth still in the skull. I put the smallest piece on my place, didn’t really try it and just went outside with my soda.”

The Maloof brothers built and designed a brand new skatepark in Kimberly for the competition, something Enarson was able to experience this year by creating the Portland course, the second stop on the tour.

“That was really fun,” says Enarson. “I remember making it into the Dew Tour and I was so stoked, and now I’m getting asked to design the course. It’s awesome they back me. A lot of comps never ask the riders what they want. They let BMXers and skaters step in and help.”

There is a lot of buzz surrounding Enarson as the front man for the new BMX wave.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people that I’m a riders’ guy,” says Enarson. “I always rode just because I like progressing and doing the tricks for me, not the money. It’s unreal how people are even saying this stuff. It gets me more pumped to get out and ride. I’ve even heard people say I’m the best biker ever, which is ridiculous.”

Although Enarson has years of work ahead of him to earn a prestigious title like that, some people could make a legitimate argument for veteran Bucky Lasek. The Baltimore skater has proven time after time for over 20 years that his consistent creativity always makes him a major threat. After going hard for so long, Lasek finds it more difficult to come up with things people have never seen.

“It’s just like a puzzle,” says Lasek. “All my tricks flow into each other, so when I add a new one, it messes up the run. It’s like you have to learn two new tricks. Coming out of the tricks you’re already doing, it’s almost impossible.”

He also has been able to figure out exactly how to work the competitions specific to the cumulative points-driven Dew Tour.

“It’s a diffent mindset,” explains Lasek. “You’re trying to strategize even if you’re in the middle of the final. Even though you want to win in the middle of a final, you kind of got to sit back and put it in cruise mode and go for the top five instead of blowing it trying to go for the win. You get a few runs, so my first two runs I’m going for the win and the harder tricks. If I don’t make my first two runs, i start to go for sitting on some of the tricks. I know I might not win with them, but then I’m fighting for a top five or second place finish.”

If you ask Lasek, the final is the easiest part.

“The thing that sketches me out is making it into the super final,” says Lasek. "The people trying to make it into the final are skating as good as they possibly can just to get into the final. I don’t want to skate the best I can to get into it. All these guys doing the crazy tricks, that means I have to step it up to get into the super final. You don’t want to unleash your stuff before you get in there.”

For Decenzo, the competitions are enjoyable regardless of the outcome.

“It’s always fun,” says Decenzo. “Everybody is so good, I just love watching everybody and the different styles. It’s just as much as fun for me even if I get knocked out. It’s just a good time all around.”

The good time, which includes a 50 Cent concert this year, is amped up ten-fold when the competition hits Vegas.

“Vegas is crazy, because everybody gets all wild at night,” says 20-year-old Enarson. “It’s pretty nuts. It’s at the Hard Rock, and they have the vert set up in the pool. It’s the best stop I’ve ever been to. The crowd’s always feeling it coming straight from the bars cheering their lives away. It reminds me of European style. Over there, they let the crowd do whatever they want. They get up close and personal.”
Bestwick has seen what can happen if you don't stay in the zone. 
"It’ll be a great weekend in general," says Bestwick. "Vegas is the kind of a place where a lot of people’s focus can be lost just by walking past a craps table or poker table. There are lots of distractions there."
Lasek has learned it's sometimes best to lie low. 
"I think my wife's just going to come out, and I might get some color on my skin," says Lasek. "Maybe a little piece of ink. It's just timing." 
If he can keep his timing in his runs on point, Lasek might have some ink and a new piece of hardware to take home with him. 

"As long as i dont throw my back out planting and mulching my yard, they're going to be in for some trouble." 
Photos courtesy of AlliSports.com

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