USA BMX Grand Nationals Underway In Tulsa
TULSA, Oklahoma - Thousands of athletes and fans are in Tulsa for the USA BMX Grand National, sometimes called the "Super Bowl" of BMX racing.
The professional championship finals started Saturday afternoon at the Expo Square.
The average race lasts about 35 seconds, but many of the athletes say the sport is about much more than speed.
For the 3,000 athletes at the USA BMX Grand National, getting out the gate is the moment they wait for.
"You're trying to get out of the gate as quick as possible,” explained BMX athlete Peyton Stepson. “You wanna be the first one out and into that turn. When you're the first one to that turn, you've got the advantage."
Olympic bronze medalist Donny Robinson, from California, went through the gate one last time Saturday for his retirement race.
"I've been very thankful to be able to experience what I have,” said Robinson. “It's such an amazing family sport."
But Stepson, from Tulsa, is just beginning her career. She says while it may look like the athletes are gliding through the course, it doesn't come without challenges.
"You're going over obstacles,” she stated. “They're usually about three or four-foot tall, and being 5"2', it's a little interesting."
Stepson is 13 years old, but some athletes at the event are only two years old.
Robinson won his bronze in 2008 at the Olympics in Beijing and has some advice just for them.
"Just have fun,” he said. “That's why we all started. The competitor in us will take over, but the family time, the belief, the self-confidence that bike riding gives us is unmatched by anything else."
No matter how much experience athletes have, they can still fall down. What happens next is what matters most.
"Gotta get back up and keep going!" said competitor Riley Hagar.