Ranked Belen BMXer rides strong into nationals

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Success is almost second nature for 14-year-old Amanda Olguin.

A soon-to-be-freshman at Belen High School, Olguin is nationally ranked in her age group in BMX racing.

Marla Brose-Journal photo: AMANDA OLGUIN of Belen will ride in this weekend’s American Bicycle Association BMX Spring Nationals.

As a matter of fact, she’s been the best female rider for eight years running and she plans to add to that incredible run on Memorial Day weekend when the American Bicycle Association BMX Spring Nationals take place at the Duke City BMX Track near Isotopes Park.

“It’s nice because it’s here in my hometown and everyone comes,” Olguin said. “It’s really fun because everyone is watching you win. You’re just really excited … when you win a national, especially (when you compete) here.”

It won’t be easy. Race organizers expect a potential record number of entries with as many as 1,400 competitors from around the world.

Classes will include events for professionals down to 2-year-olds racing strider bikes that have no pedals or brakes, said Gork Barrette of ABABMX in Phoenix.

“This year, we have been seeing that the numbers are up,” he said.

Albuquerque, with one of just two covered tracks in the country, is a huge draw, Barrette said, with cyclists coming from most of the states, as well as Europe.

“It’s always one of the favorites,” he said. “Cyclists love it and traditionally, the spring nationals (in Albuquerque) is one of the top-five events of the year. It’s always a good one.”

Olguin enjoys it too, because “everyone expects me to win and they want me to get first,” she said.

She got her start watching her older brother, Bailey, race.

“I saw my brother riding and I just wanted to try it,” she said.

It was something Amanda Olguin took to right away.

“It was really fun. I liked it,” she said. “It was a really long time ago, so it was hard to remember, but I got on the gate and just went down the hill. I don’t know, I just liked it.”

Although racing in Albuquerque is her favorite, the chance to visit other venues also attracts Olguin.

That includes a trip several years ago to Australia for the World Nationals, where she finished third among 33 competitors.

“It was really neat to go over there and see different places,” Olguin said.

She is a not one-sport girl. She also plays volleyball and competes in motocross.

BMX remains her favorite “because I’ve been doing it a long time and just really like it,” Olguin said. “I’m just really focused and try my hardest to get first.”

Her parents said she won her first race at 5, and it seems like she is never off her bike.

“I think it’s exciting,” said her mom, Kelly. “It’s good to see her challenging all the other girls. It’s pretty fun. She was so young, only 4 when she started. She adapted really well at that point.

“She became accustomed to riding a bicycle and she’s been doing it ever since,” she said.