Parksville BMX racer Alison Grecht practices her jumping skills at the Erik Goetzinger track in Qualicum Beach. — Michael Briones photo

Grecht pedals her way to new heights

Parksville BMX racer to represent Canada at the world championships

Alison Grecht has been pedalling on a higher gear in BMX racing this year.

The 17-year-old racer from Parksville is in her rookie year as a junior elite pro. On Mother’s Day, she won her first pro race at the Fraser Valley Nationals in Chilliwack.

And just recently this very dedicated and determined young lady added another honour to her growing list of achievements when she learned she qualified for the BMX 2017 World Championships in South Carolina, July 25-30. It’s a goal she specifically worked on this year.

“I was extremely happy with the news,” said Grecht, who has been in the sport for 11 years now. “It’s exciting.”

Grecht will be heading to the worlds as a member of Team Canada.

Grecht trains everyday and she doesn’t mind it one bit. To be the best, this Grade 11 Ballenas Secondary student knows only too well that she has to put in countless hours, efforts, and make all the necessary sacrifices.

“I don’t really have much of a social life,” said Grecht. “As a teenager I should have more, but I really want to go far in the sport.”

Her biggest goal is to compete at the Olympic Games.

“I really do,” said Grecht. “In four years I will be 20 so I’m hoping for 2020 or 2024.”

For now, Grecht is focusing on honing her skills. She will also be setting her sights on doing well at the Canadian BMX National Championships in Calgary August 25-27, where she will be competing against the nation’s top athletes.

BMX racing, Grecht said, is not an easy sport. She added not many girls compete at her level. That’s because it requires not only physical fitness but also mental confidence and sharpness. When they race, they line up at an 8-metre high start gate and once they’re off, they race down at a speed of 50 to 60 kph. It also entails jumping over a 35- to 45-foot gap, which Grecht said can be scary if you don’t know what you’re doing.

“Honestly, in a row of eight people on that gate start all doing the same thing, to overcome that it’s mentally terrifying,” said Grecht. “But once you do it, it gives you a sense of confidence and it becomes so much fun. When the adrenalin kicks in, it just becomes a fun sport that way.”

Grecht said you won’t be able to do the risky jumps if you don’t train.

“You will know what you put in to the sport and the training that you did to get there,” said Grecht. “You can’t do it unless you train your hardest to become one of the best.”