Monday, January 21, 2019

Spotlight: Saya Sakakibara

Monday, January 21, 2019

Spotlight: Saya Sakakibara



I'm excited to kick off the new year with an interview with Australia's own Saya Sakakibara! 19 year old Saya has had an amazing first year as an Elite rider, where she finished with a #2 BMX World ranking. In this interview, we talk about Saya and her support system, a little about her family, her accomplishments and struggles. It's also Australia Day in a few days, so sit back, grab a slab, turn on the old barbie, and read on. Crikey!



Age: 19
Hometown: Helensburgh
Sponsors: Redbull, DK, BOX, Oakley, Michram Industries, Onyx, HT, Shimano, Shoei, Parkside Sports Physiotherapy, Fist, SD Components

How and when did your journey into BMX start?

I started BMX when I was 4 years old. My brother Kai was already into the sport and I was dragged to practice and racing every weekend, where I sat, watched and most of the time played in the dirt. I think my parents saw that I was super bored all the time so they bought me a bike and I was off! At first, it wasn't for me, I crashed 3 times on the same jump and I cried and went home. For 4 months I resented my bike but one day I was on track again and I've been doing it ever since!

I find it really interesting that at one point in your career you represented Japan, but obviously since then, you have been representing Australia. How does that transition work exactly? Were there any difficulties switching from one representing country to another, and what factors played into your final decision?

So when I was turning 7, I competed in my first World Championships, and this was while I was living in Japan - hence why I competed as a Japanese rider. Then when we moved to Australia, we just continued to race as a Japanese at World Championships each year until my first year as a Junior Elite. Turning Junior Elite, means that everything becomes more official, points from races count towards nation rankings and everything becomes more serious. So, I had to make a decision before the start of the year, yes it was a long process. Counting up the pros and cons and thinking about my future as an athlete and as a person. I think what it came down to was where I feel the most comfortable. My family lives in Australia, I have friends in Australia and most of my fans are in Australia - so Australia it was!



As someone born in Australia, that is half Japanese and half British, I also find it interesting that you’re represented by a Japanese Athlete Agency and sponsored by Redbull Australia. You’re truly a woman of the world, but growing up were there any difficulties with finding your own identity?

Haha! I definitely being everywhere but I don't think I had any troubles. I was quite young when I had those big country moves so I was able to adapt quite well. I think more than it being difficult, I was more embracing all the changes and unusual experiences that were coming my way. And I believe those experiences were the foundations of what my identity has become now. I can speak Japanese, I have Japanese values but I also feel like I am full Australian as well!




Congratulations on a stellar season. Usually, when a Junior enters Elite, you see them fall off the planet a little bit... or rather the podium. In your case, you’ve been consistently hitting the podiums and even finished 2018 with a #2 BMX World ranking. Looking back at 2018, how do you feel about your own performance, are you surprised in any capacity?

Thank you! Absolutely I was surprised. Actually, last year, I was writing my goals down and I wrote down 'Finalist at World Cup' and I thought I was getting ahead of myself. But I was like 'well, may as well aim high' and stuck with it! Little did I know that I was going to end up with all these crazy results this year! I think my lack of expectations was a part of my success as I didn't put any pressure on myself, and just tried to ride the best lap I could possibly do. Which led to a better state of mind when it came down to lining up on the gate to Olympic medalists and multiple World Champions. I mean, I think I just went with the flow, I didn't get a podium at each round, I had some crashes along the way and I can honestly say it's been an up and down year. I experienced more than I've ever imagined and learned more about myself rather than anything.



What was the change in levels like going from Junior to Elite? 

I feel like it depends on the way you look at it. Yes, going from Junior to Elite is a big jump as you go from racing riders around the same age as you then to racing riders up to 30 years old with sooo much experience under their belt. You go from only having to race 15-20 riders to racing 30-50 riders. And you become part of the highest rank category in BMX as the level of competition goes through the roof!

But on the other hand, you still line up on a gate, you do your normal gate, pedal hard and do a few jumps and turns and you finish the race! Just a simple BMX race.

So for me, I just took it on as another mental challenge more than anything. I didn't change much in physical training as doing what I was doing was working. It was just now to keep building on the foundations that I've built to be stronger, faster and more skillful.

There’s a positive movement going on right now, which ironically is about sharing the real honest struggles since we tend to share only the positive aspect of our lives on social media. Could you share with us a struggle or disappointment in your career so far, and how you dealt with it?

I have to be honest, I tend not to share too many struggles as there are so many other people in the world who would love to be living the life that I am, and I feel like my problems and struggles are nothing compared to theirs. But, I think there is value in sharing difficult times, and disappointment as even though people can't directly relate, but they could relate and take the positives or life lessons from my problems and apply it to theirs.

I think one example is the World Championships in 2017. I was 2nd year Junior as was winning the final and was on my way to a rainbow jersey. Then I got passed on the line, finishing 2nd. I was filled with anger, disappointment, embarrassment and felt like I let everyone down.

Yes, 2nd in the World is a great result. But the fact that the year prior, I couldn't race as I crashed during practice and the fact that from that moment on, I was dedicating everything to win the rainbow jersey. I was the best I've ever felt on the track and mentally as well.

It just came down to just being honest with myself and credit myself for the things I did well. eg. Great gate, great first straight etc. And things that didn't go so well. eg. my 3rd straight was slow. But to be honest there wasn't much that I did wrong. I actually had a really good lap and there wasn't much that I would've done differently. It was accepting that the other girl was faster and probably worked as hard as I did to win too, and to accept the defeat. Then! make sure it NEVER happens again. I chose not to watch the video back because I knew it will make me rather upset instead of fired up. I decided to move on but not forget the feeling of disappointment and failure and that was what motivated me to continue to train hard and work on those flaws that messed me up.


You’ve credited your brother Kai and your Dad for pushing you to the limits physically and mentally. How has your dad helped you, and was he a former racer himself? What is mum’s role like when it comes to your BMX career?

My dad helped me, just being a dad. He was never a racer nor an athlete but I think he knew my abilities and what I was capable of and pushed me until I got there. I feel like he was very strict but was reasonable, and most of the time, I was just being a scaredy cat.

Well my mum was and is a quiet supporter. She drove us to training, spent hours in the sun filming every lap we did, prepared us snacks for when we went riding and cooked race food for us every event. She never pushed me to do things, but she supported Kai and I's passion and love for the sport and did everything in her power to make it as easy as possible to follow our dreams. And I absolutely love her and appreciate her for that.



I think it’s wonderful that your family is so supportive and involved! I’ve personally have seen parents take it way too far with their kids where I didn’t even feel like racing after seeing parents bully their kids for not finishing first. Is there any advice that you can give from your parents, or opinions you have of your own on this subject, or maybe advice for parents who are hoping to have Olympians in the future?

I think it is a very difficult subject. But in my opinion, the motivation has to come from within. It must come from the rider or the child that they do WANT to win or WANT to get better. And it is their parent's job to support that as much as they can rather than push them to train, or bully them when the rider doesn't get the result that the parent wants.

It's important to also remember that BMX is a sport and it's supposed to be enjoyable, and it's supposed to be fun, and the motivation will stop when the fun stops. I think BMX and sports in general is a great tool for kids - being active, making new friends and also teaches success, failure, commitment and dedication which are life lessons! So the bottom line is, support not push, and it really doesn't matter if your 7 year old kid is World Champion or not!

Switching gears a little, Facundo wanted to know, what you eat during the season. More specifically, foods for training before and after a race.

Usually I don't have a specific diet. If the meal I eat has vegetables, some protein, and carbohydrates, then I'm happy. I tend to eat salads with a bit of meat a lot for lunch, and for dinners, is usually a rice or pasta dish.

Foods for training, I usually just have a bottle of water and a bottle of electrolytes or sport drink, and a protein shake afterward. - I don't usually eat during the session but make sure I eat well after.
For racing, I make sure I have a good breakfast, or lunch if racing is in the afternoon, then I stick to maybe a Red Bull for a kick start. After that, I top up between races with high carbohydrate foods that are easy to eat like fruit, or mini muffins, or Nutella sandwiches.
After racing... Treat myself with yummy food!!



I understand you’re in New Zealand for a couple of weeks, training with the Smulders sisters, Jessie Smith, and Sarah Walker, how’s the training session going so far and what’s in store for the rest of the 2019 season? 

Yes it's been super fun. Every day has been exciting with these girls, training and hanging out in this beautiful country. I am staying in Hamilton but spending a good amount of time in Cambridge which is countryside. Surrounding environment is so green and the weather has been really great so far!

So the first race back for me will be the Oceania Championships in Te Awamutu in NZ. Some of the girls from Aussie will be coming over which will be an awesome event. And then a few open races back at home until off to Europe again for the European Cup and World Cup circuits starting in April. I haven't planned too far ahead, but I'm sure ill be visiting the US sometime later in the year.



Does your bike change depending on if your training or racing? What’s your set up like going into 2019?

My bike stays the same both racing and training. The only thing that I might change may be the gearing ratio, whether I want a hard gearing for sprints, or maybe a lighter gearing for training on the track. It depends but that will be the only thing that changes.

My bike set up is:
DK Bike - Professional V2 frame
Box Components parts
SD Components carbon rims
Michram chainring
HT Components pedals
Tioga tyres
Onyx Racing hubs

For each sponsor you have, what’s one product you’d highly recommend from each?

Thank you to all of my incredible sponsors:

Red Bull - giving me the opportunity to work alongside an awesome company and providing me with energy!
DK Bikes - Professional V2 frame
BOX Components - X5 fork
Oakley - Airbrake goggles: Super comfy and comes in so many styles!
Shoei Helmets - VFX-WR Helmet
Michram Industries - LM17 chainrings
HT components - T1 SX clip pedals
Onyx Racing - Ultra Hubs
Shimano - S-Phyre shoes
Fist Gloves - Our Sushibara signature gloves!
Parkside Sports Physiotherapy - Their physiotherapy :) haha

Photos from of her Instagram Account @sayasakakibara

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

FOLLOW UP TO: Compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Freestyle BMX

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

FOLLOW UP TO: Compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Freestyle BMX

In 2017, I had put together some information on how you can be an Olympian at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. If you haven't seen it, I'd recommend reading this first before continuing down below. http://www.magnoliabmx.org/2017/06/compete-in-2020-tokyo-olympics-in.html

Did you read it? OK good. For those of you who have been sleeping under a rock, and is like "oh jeez, maybe I can do this". Guess what...there's still an opportunity. I reached out to BMX Freestyle Consultant for the UCI, Bart De Jong to answer my questions.


Bea: If there was a rider who can compete this year (2019) and earn enough points (ie, make podium at every stop for example), can they still qualify for the Olympics?

Bart: If a rider scores enough points to qualify their country for a spot in Tokyo it will be up to the federation to accept the spot first, and then decide who is going. If the single rider scores enough points to qualify his/her country during the qualification period (1 November 2018 - 11 May 2020), they'll get a spot. It all depends on the results/scores. The results of the two highest ranked riders will be added, but one single rider possibly can score more points than two riders together.

Bea: Can a rider compete this year, and upset the entire system regardless of which country they’re from? Or is it too late?

Bart: It's not too late to qualify but the qualifying period started back on 1 November 2018 in Chengdu so the first points have already been given out at the last World Cup of the season and the 2018 UCI World Championships. But plenty are coming up with a.o. the 6 best C1 results during the qualification period, National Championships of 2019, 6 best World Cup results, etc. (see qualification document below).



Bea: If you’re a rider who holds two passports, say one was USA and the other one was like Vietnam (just pulling a random country out), could someone “Eric Moussambani” it? If you’re not familiar, he was a swimmer from Equatorial Guinea, he swam for the first time less than a year before the Sydney Olympics. He gained entry to the Olympics without meeting the qualification requirements through a wildcard draw, which was to encourage participating in developing countries.

Bart: With only 9 spots available for Men as well as Women, we will not get in that situation where we have to fill up the spots to complete 9 riders per class. We've only got 9 per class and as it looks right now, we've got plenty of riders from many different countries competing for these spots. 38 girls entered the last World Cup from around 19 different countries. I have a feeling this number will only grow in the next year or two. Again, read the criteria document and you'll learn how it's done so we'll have great riders in both classes in Tokyo.

(If you have two passports, you'll have to decide which country you want to represent. It's that country you will score points for (and only one country). It's not possible to change countries mid-season and it's complicated to change countries even after the year is up. There's no priority given to any rider with two passports. )

Qualifying Doc: http://uec.ch/resources/Olympics%20EuroGames/Tokyo_2020_Olympic_Games_Qualification_System_BMX_Freestyle_english.PDF



There you have it! If you're hiding talent somewhere, it's still not too late. As it stands, below are the top 9 country rankings entering 2019 and the top two female riders in each country. Data from UCI.

1. United States
  • Perris Benegas
  • Hannah Roberts
2. Germany
  • Lara Lessmann
  • Jennifer Wohlrab
3. Spain
  • Teresa Fernandez-Miranda
  • Beatriz Ibanez
4. Switzerland
  • Nikita Ducarroz

5. Russian Federation
  • Elizaveta Posadskikh
  • EKaterina Kruglova

6. Chile
  • Valentina Perez

7. Japan
  • Oike Minato

8. Great Britain
  • Charlotte Worthington
  • Isobel Burrell

9. Australia
  • Caroline Buchanan

Photos provided by Bart De Jong
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Sunday, September 23, 2018

2018 Vans BMX Pro Cup Malaga, Spain Results

Sunday, September 23, 2018

2018 Vans BMX Pro Cup Malaga, Spain Results

Perris Benegas takes home gold at the Malaga Vans BMX Pro Cup Stop - Photo from Rad Theif
Results from the Vans BMX Pro Cup in Malaga, Spain

Finals
1 PERRIS BENEGAS USA 88.63
2 TERESA AZCOAGA ESP 86.00
3 LARA LESSMANN DEU 86.00
4 NINA BUITRAGO USA 85.13
5 NIKITA DUCARROZ USA 84.50
6 ANAHI VALENTINA ECU 82.88
7 HANNAH ROBERTS USA 82.38
8 JESSE GREGORY USA 82.38
9 ANGIE MARINO USA 81.38
10 LOTTA GRUBER DEU 80.88
11 JAY LEWIS GBR 79.25
12 MAR ESQUER ESP 75.88

2018 Vans BMX Pro Cup Series Spain Womens Semi - Finals | BMX Pro Cup | VANS


Qualifying
1 LARA LESSMANN DEU 89.50
2 LOTTA GRUBER DEU 87.38
3 HANNAH ROBERTS USA 85.00
4 ANAHI VALENTINA ECU 84.38
5 JAY LEWIS GBR 82.38
6 MAR ESQUER ESP 81.75
7 BANU TEKIR DEU 81.63
8 KAYLEY ASHWORTH GBR 81.38
9 SIVAN COLE ESP 77.63
10 STEPHANIE ROHR CHE 76.25
11 MARIA VALLEJO ESP 75.75

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Spotlight: 2nd Annual Women's Weekend in the Woods

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Spotlight: 2nd Annual Women's Weekend in the Woods

Photo Cred: Tasha Lindemann
Women Weekends, clinics, jams, whatever you want to call it. They are so important for the development of our community. I will be the first to say, as a shy rider, I progress the most when I attend a women's jam. Why you might ask? It's less pressure, more relaxed and it's almost like we get permission to make mistakes and look stupid without the criticism. Taryn Hipp is hosting the 2nd annual Women's Weekend in the Woods, and because I want to help promote the event, I reached out to Taryn to ask some question to help plan your trip. If you want to make new friends and learn more, keep reading.



How did the Women's Weekend in the Woods Jam get it’s start?

Winter of 2017 a few of us from PA went out to Ray's for Women's Weekend and met a bunch of women who had no idea that there were things at Posh and Catty other than huge doubles. They just assumed there was nothing for them to ride so they never made the trip. So, we started throwing around the idea of getting all these women out to the trails & they seemed psyched on it. So I sent a text home to all the dudes just being like "I want to have a ladies jam & I want to do it between Labor Day & Halloween" (our two biggest jams each year - when the trails are dialed), they all were stoked on the idea so I picked a date & that was it. I didn't realize how much work it would be, I just knew I wanted other girls to come to the trails & ride. It ended up being such a huge success, thanks to the endless help/support/love of so many women from around the world so we figured, why not do it again? It also helped to get more women to Posh & Catty throughout the year which was the biggest take away for me personally. I had spent so long riding alone at Posh that when women roll in I get so hyped.

Compared to the first year, what can we expect at this years jam?

I think this year there will be even more ladies than last year because again, I think women were still a little nervous to come out to the trails even after we announced the jam, like maybe they didn't know what to expect or what it was going to be like. But after seeing all the photos & videos including the edit Bette White made which I think really captured how awesome & supportive everyone was that weekend, while showing how much fun the trails are to ride, I think they are more comfortable with the idea of riding both sets of trails. Go watch Bette's edit on YouTube!



Is there a certain level you need to have, to ride at either Catty or Posh?

You can literally come to either spot with zero experience on a BMX and still have fun. Catty has a small pump track for beginners as well as a roller line that is super fun to ride (& has a few options if you want to jump some smaller jumps). Posh has a roller line too (also with options for various skill levels) and I just finished a new line at Posh that is just small tables and berms, really easy, totally rollable & super fun for new riders. Both trails have stuff for everyone. We have small gap doubles & tables for women who are learning to jump and bigger stuff for those are already jumping/clearing big jumps. Also, a few women have asked me what bike to bring. It's a BMX event so that would be best but a downhill/dirt jumper bike would also be fine. You could probably even ride a mountain bike. Just come ride!

It's a BMX event so that would be best but a downhill/dirt jumper bike would also be fine.

For the ladies who are brining their dudes, can they join in on the fun?

Everyone is welcome during Women's Weekend. We just wanted to pick a couple days where girls could be 100% sure there were other women at the trails to ride with. Both events are also kid-friendly! Also, bring your dogs. Just don't bring any drugs or alcohol.

Photo Cred: Tasha Lindemann
Is there anything being sold at the jam, like food and merch?

We will have (vegan, vegetarian & meat) food available as well as merch. The food we offer on a donation basis with all funds going directly to Posh and Catty to help cover the cost of insurance and leasing the land. This year we are planning on having some surprise celebrity grill masters so that should be cool. Livin Hella Good will also be there selling hoodies & tshirts. This year we will also have an exclusive women's jam tshirt available which I am super excited about. Thanks to Mo Malone for designing our awesome artwork this year. I'm still bummed I couldn't pull it together quick enough last year to create a shirt with the art Alexis Mabry did (would people buy one after the fact?). Both women are so ridiculously talented.



Is this strictly a jam format or will there be some ladies holding clinics too?

Yeah, it's just a trail jam. Super mellow, you don't have to be anywhere at any specific time or anything. We just want people to come to the woods & ride bikes. So as far as clinics, nothing is planned but if women want to share their skills with one another in a clinic-esque format, that is totally encouraged. Last year that sort of happened organically. Women were helping each other learn new things. This weekend is about building each other up & supporting other women in BMX in a non-competitive environment so whatever that looks like for the group of women who come, then I'm psyched. We are going to do a group photo & lady train at Catty at 3pm so if that's something ladies want to be a part of then just be sure you're at Catty at 3pm on Saturday. Both jams "start" at whatever time we get the trails dialed & ready to ride. So, show up early if you want to help & stay late to tarp.

Wheres the spot to stay at this year?

There are a lot of locals offering space to folks coming to town for the jam. The best way to find a place to stay is on the event page on facebook. There are also a bunch of affordable hotels in the Lehigh Valley. Catty & Posh are about a 15 minute drive from one another so really, you can stay anywhere in Bethlehem or Catty, even Easton or Allentown & still be a short drive to either set of trails.

Photo Cred: Tasha Lindemann
Is parking at either spot easy to navigate?

Street parking is available at Catty. We just ask that you park on Pearl Street or 14th (do not park on 12th street) & do not block anyone's driveway. It's super important to us that we respect the neighbors. This is why, when coming to Posh we ask people to park at the Giant by Dairy Queen & ride to the trails. There is a map on the facebook event page to help you navigate the neighborhood to Posh (basically, what streets are the most downhill for riding there). It's less than a mile away. If you have kids or stuff you need to drop off before you park, that's totally cool. We just ask that you do not park on the street at Posh.

Sponsors you’d like to thank?

T1 is the jam sponsor for a second year in a row & we really appreciate their support. Even when I was like "is this even going to work" the folks at T1 were stoked & never doubted it would be awesome. Also, thanks to Nina Buitrago & Hammer Nutrition we'll have a bunch of cool freebies for the women at the jam. The trails are sponsored by S&M, Fit, & Empire. We get a lot of support locally from Action Wheels in Bethlehem. There are a lot of companies that support Posh & Catty which is so awesome. I would try to list them all but I'm sure I would forget someone & look like a total jerk.

Photo Cred: Tasha Lindemann
What can you promise if we show up?

If you show up to the Women's Weekend in the Woods at Posh and Catty you will make SO MANY new friends. I can also promise you'll leave a better bike rider. The stoke will be so high & you'll be surrounded by women who want to build you up & see you succeed. It's impossible not to have a good time. This whole thing started because we wanted to ride bikes together.

Women's BMX is such a beautiful thing & it's just really nice to get to share the PA woods with other girls who love riding bikes. I love that this idea turned into something & I am forever grateful for the help of the women's BMX community including Tracy, Becky & Tasha who are all Catty locals & put a ton of time & effort into the trails there. Andrea & Becky up in New England who are super supportive of the entire women's BMX scene but are really creating something big up north. Adrienne & Bette who aren't locals either but have been working hard to get the jam going both years are absolute treasures. It's a group effort, we're all in this together & I'm psyched to see everyone in the woods.

Photo Cred: Tasha Lindemann

Date: Saturday Sep 22 at 10 AM – Sunday Sep 23 at 8 PM
Waiver (Required): https://pawoods125.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/catty_waiver2.pdf 
Full details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/285379645200376/

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

2018 Vans BMX Pro Cup Guadalajara, Mexico Results

Sunday, August 26, 2018

2018 Vans BMX Pro Cup Guadalajara, Mexico Results

Angie Marino - Photo by Rob Dolecki

Results from the Vans BMX Pro Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Qualifying
1. Angie Marino USA 85.50
2. Teresa Azcoaga ESP 84.38
3. Nina Buitrago USA 83.50
4. Jesse Gregory USA 83.50
5. Macarena Perez CHL 82.50
6. Margarita Valenzuela Mera MEX 81.25
7. Michelle Gomez MEX 78.38
8. Dayana Lopez MEX 77.88
9. Tania Torres Reyes MEX 77.88
10. Wendy Lara MEX 77.13
11. Ariana Montoya MEX 76.00
12. Nidia Mena MEX 74.50
13. Luciana Rougier ARG 73.00

Finals
1. Angie Mario USA 86.38
2. Nina Buitrago USA 85.63
3. Macarena Perez CHL 85.13
4. Tereza Azcoaga ESP 83.50
5. Margarita Valenzuela Mera MEX 81.75
6. Jesse Gregory USA 81.25
7. Dayana Lopez MEX 78.38
8. Tania Torres Reyes MEX 75.88
9. Michelle Gomez MEX 0.00

Best Trick: Angie Marino - No hander transfer from bowl to bowl
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Friday, August 24, 2018

Avriana Hebert Jr Womens World 8 Bike Check

Friday, August 24, 2018

Avriana Hebert Jr Womens World 8 Bike Check


I did an interview with Avriana last year just after Worlds in South Carolina, and so I thought it would be fitting to do a bike check post 2018 Worlds in Azerbaijan. Find out what Canada's Jr Women's World 8 rocks below.




Avriana who is 5'10" rides a Pro XXL, which is a 21.75 TT frame, with a 14.875 Chain Stay and BB Height of 11.5. The frame alone weighs only 3lb 13oz.

"This frame ultimately earned its name as the WorldCup through its maiden year winning the overall title and alongside has become the most sought out frame in the market. Its unique design offers a no gimmick straight to victory geometry that has been proven in consistent results." - YESS BMX


Avriana has the back end fully pulled back, she adds "I find it more comfortable for me with my long ass legs 😂 and it’s nice for my manuals"

Grips: ODI Lock on Grips (Black)
Chain Ring: Tangent 4 Bolt (Black)
Seat: Tangent Carve Saddle ( black/ white)
Bars: Tangent Flat Iron 62 (black)
Forks: Yess BMX (Reach Forks)

"The YESSBMX Reach Aluminum fork was designed to be lightweight and dependable BMX race fork without the high price tag of carbon fiber. The Reach Pro fork is constructed from 6061-T6 aluminum with high-quality welds and no glue or bonding agent to further increase strength and rigidity. The steerer tube is 1-pc machined and includes an aluminum compression bolt that can be removed if you prefer a stem lock system. No weight limit. For Race Use only." - YESS BMX

Seat Clamp: Yess BMX
Stem: Tangent Split Stem (Black)

Tires: Tioga Fastr React
Rims: Alienation (TCS Malice Rims) Black
Hubs: Stealth Pro Hubs (Red)
Cranks: Hallow Tech II DXR
Brakes: Hydraulic Disc Brakes (Shimano)

Disc brakes are becoming a little more common now in the BMX Racing world. When asked what she thinks of them, Avriana said "Renny (from Yess) had given them to me to try, and as soon as I rode them I loved them. There way more touchy and all around I find them more reliable for myself!"

Pedals: HT-X2-SX (Black)

---------

Follow Avriana @avriana__h
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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Spotlight: Stephanie Nychka

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Spotlight: Stephanie Nychka



She's real, raw and all inspiring. For some, it's the fact that she's a mom and a badass rider, for others like myself, I appreciate that she's open and honest about her BMX journey. Stephanie is a part of a very small pool of female riders representing Canada in competitions like FISE and we took some time to learn about her, but we only broke the surface at best.

Age: Old enough to have 3 kids, a doctorate and a ton of student loans.

Location: Calgary, Alberta

When and how did you get into riding bikes and I mean before competing in BMX - what’s your bike history?

I started riding urban (hard tails) when I was around 20 and living in Edmonton, which quickly evolved into freeriding and racing downhill. After a few years of living in Whistler and Portland, my passion for slopestyle and dirt jumping emerged. There are so few women who do this style of riding, I'd always be seated with the guys. I've been lucky enough to have ridden in the Crankworx Slopestyle (the only woman to have ever done so), as well as the Red Bull Freezeride (one of two women to be invited). I started organizing SlopeSistair, a women's freeride event that drew women from all over North America, because there really is no way for women in mountain biking to advance if they don't race. I raced 4x for a year in the Jeep Series event for that reason, and even that was eventually disbanded.

What motivated the idea to give BMX a try and how did you find the transition?

I was continually looking for options to take my riding to the next level. Cory Coffey and Nikita Ducarroz assistant coached at a couple mtb clinics in Tahoe where they tried their hand at hard tails and dirt jumping, and they in turn encouraged me to give the 2017 Edmonton FISE a shot. I bought a bike off a 12-year old boy from kijiji (it was far too small) and drove to Edmonton the following week, never having ridden a bmx or skate park. FISE was an eye opener- I would have been much more comfortable competing in the mountain bike slopestyle! Once I started riding bmx at BLine (our indoor bike park), transitioning initially wasn't that difficult but I've been finding that even after a year, riding a skatepark is still intimidating and not at all easy.

On a side note: I first met Ms Coffey when Specialized sent her to compete in SlopeSistair!



You did amazing at FISE, thank you for representing Canada! HOWEVER, I see you were kinda disappointed in yourself. Could you walk us through what Edmonton was like, what your expectations were leading up to the event, and how you’re feeling now looking back.

Oh, I don't think I'd use the word 'amazing'. I was definitely disappointed - I hoped that I would qualify for finals but once I started riding the course I realized I hadn't properly prepared myself. I had spent so much time having fun learning tricks and bouncing back and forth between a hardtail and BMX, that I'd completely disregarded the other skills necessary to compete on a FISE course. I didn't have the stamina or flow to throw any of my bigger tricks and that was difficult because I felt I had so much more to bring to my runs.

In addition to the above, what lessons did you learn that you could pass over to others?

I don't know if I am the right person to ask for advice. :) There are so many parts to freestyle BMX and most girls who compete have so much experience riding each of the different disciplines: street, park, vert and trail. You definitely can't get away with being a one trick pony. An athlete really needs to focus on all elements of their riding in order to succeed on these courses.

In a nutshell, what's the overall challenge with FISE?

The challenge of the FISE course is having an arsenal of tricks to take to quarters, big boxes and transfers, and flow between features in order to have the speed and amplitude to execute them.

Are you looking to compete in the Olympics? What’s your plan for Tokyo 2020?

To be honest I'm just focusing on improving my riding each time I get out, so that I can see tangible progress every event. I've always had a dream to go to the Olympics either as an athlete or a chiropractor- I'm open to either.



As of right now, BMX is very much on the bottom of the totem pole is terms of the support and funds provided. Unless it’s changed since I last checked, I don’t believe the women are provided anything right now. It’s easy to guess what you’d need in an ideal world (travel expense, training support, etc), but if you could ask Cycling Canada for a minimum level support that didn’t involve money upfront, what do you think the ladies would need?

It would be incredible to have coaches or mentors in order to create a competitive group of riders, and instill confidence in us. In dreamland, we would also have access to Sports Medicine facilities as well as Strength & Conditioning professionals, and have accommodations to train in different locations. I would also need a cute water boy/man.

Are you still a practicing chiropractor today and if you are, how are you balancing the competition, being a mom and the chiropractor life style?

I'm not currently working as a chiropractor as I have a 2, 4 and 6 year old at home, and am not licensed to work in Canada (I took my DC in the US). Instead I started a luxury concierge business for Calgary professionals that I can run from home. I wouldn't be able to do much of what I do without my husband- if he was like me, we'd be a mess. He knows how important riding is to me and we've made it a priority for me to train as well as attend a few MTB and BMX events each year.

As a chiropractor, is there anything you’re noticing from other riders that bugs you? Like… when people don’t stretch enough, or omg look at that joint etc etc. Something that a professional would pick up.

Not specifically. I find the thing I notice right away are injuries, and I always do my best to diagnose them (based on what little information I know, or the crash itself) before they visit another professional. I find a lot of the higher level athletes are pretty serious when it comes to diet, exercise and appropriate recovery time from injuries.


Who inspires your riding?

I find the people who inspire me change as my riding evolves. Currently, there are a few riders at BLine who inspire me: Joel, 40 year old friend who picked up park last November, who has methodically taught himself (and me) how to do some very technical tricks because he loves the challenge; and Carson Donovan, a fearless 16 year old, addicted to the thrill of riding and attempting new things. My 6 year old daughter Maiken's progression also amazes me and being able to share it with her brings so much joy to my riding. She reminds me why I've continued to try pushing the women's side of mountain biking.

What do you want to say to the ladies who think they’re too “old” to start biking?

WTF! You're calling me old, respect your elders! No one is too 'old' to start riding- many of the women who take up mountain biking in our clinics are over 30, and it makes them all smile more than they did on their wedding day.


Instragram: RidesLikeAMother
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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Caroline Buchanan FIRST RACE COMEBACK CRASH

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Caroline Buchanan FIRST RACE COMEBACK CRASH



"In my first competition back after injury and 8 months away from competition. I was buzzing to get out there on my mountain bike and compete in the best trick, high jump and pumptrack events at the Snow Summit Craft and Cranks Festival competition.

The highlight of my weekend was pushing my two wheel progression and riding away from my biggest back flips yet with loved ones around me. I am really living for these moments at the moment not the titles and results.

I unfortunately had crash and took a big slam to my back and head in the high jump competition along with 8 other competitors carted off to hospital with me. After a quiet week recovery I am feeling much better and enjoying being back on the bike in Canada.

Check out all the action in my video above Boosted by @BoostAus "Boost Mobile Australia"





FEATURING:
Caroline Buchanan

VIDEO:
Mikey King https://mike-king.tv/

PHOTOS:
@maxmandell_ & @raymondnorte

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Equal Prize Money at Vans BMX Pro Cup

Friday, July 20, 2018

Equal Prize Money at Vans BMX Pro Cup

@55naoking
This past Thursday, Vans BMX Pro Cup announced that the Huntington Beach stop on August 3 & 5 2018 will have equal prize money! An astounding $25,000 paid out for men and women. In response to the big news, I reached out to some previous invitees for their reactions.

Sarah Lampert USA
"It is wonderful news that the Vans BMX pro cup will be having equal prize purses. This is a tremendous step in Women’s BMX history. These women who are constantly competing and giving their all to the sport, deserve the same payout and recognition as the men do. Hopefully the other contests out there that don’t even have a real competing class for women can recognize this and follow in Vans’ footsteps."

@55naoking

Nikki Wetzel USA
"It's about damn time that us female athletes are getting recognized and paid/ treated the same as the men. It's a push for further equality in our sport of BMX."

Colin MacKay

Nina Buitrago USA
"The Vans BMX Pro Cup is paving the way for how contests can and should be run, including womens category at all regional qualifiers and global events, the equal pay out at Huntington Beach for the women is both exciting and historical! (First ever UCI urban world championship 2017 did equal prize purse)... Vans open will be the first equal pay out of 2018!! I hope other contests will follow their lead and inclusiveness at the very least. Cheers to Vans for throwing the best events and for their efforts to help grow freestyle as a whole!! 👊🏻❤️"

Colin Mackay

Hannah Roberts USA
"Equal pay with Vans is sick! I think it is going to bring a higher level of riding to not only the event but the sport as a whole! It is a great opportunity and incentive for people to raise the bar!"

Colin Mackay

Camila Harambour Chile
"It’s amazing how much the BMX women’s world has been growing lately and this is a good reflection on that.  I think we all girls appreciate the recognition of the hard work that we all have been putting along the years. Thank you Vans !!"

Cami at the Santiago stop. Credit unknown

Additional riders were reached out for commentary, but you know, people are busy. What do you think about this? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Jack Link's Presents: Running with Sasquatch featuring Nikita Ducarroz

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Jack Link's Presents: Running with Sasquatch featuring Nikita Ducarroz



It's awesome to see more female representatives in main stream media these days. We're stoked on this Jack Link's commercial starring Nikita Duccaroz, she's been riding and putting in the hard for a very long time, we're excited for her!

Jack Link's writes: "Ripping on a bike since she was 14 and now a top prospect for the 2020 Olympic games. This is how Nikita Runs with Sasquatch."

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