A second-hand bike and lack of fear have earned an east Lincoln boy first place in the Bicycle Motor Cross Nationals.
â€œWe didnâ€™t even get the best bike. We didnâ€™t have a trainer,â€ said Annie Geerken, the boyâ€™s mother. â€œHe did this on his own.â€
Nikolas Geerken, a 13-year-old student at East Lincoln Middle School, has always had an affinity for bikes, but it wasnâ€™t until a year ago his best friend, Sisto Fea, introduced him to BMX racing.
â€œI always liked to ride bikes wherever I went, so naturally I decided to try,â€ Nikolas said.
He soon became serious about the sport, much to his motherâ€™s dismay.
â€œI was scared,â€ she said. â€œI thought it was dangerous.â€
Flying through the air and occasionally taking rough falls is part of the reason Nikolas enjoys BMX racing so much.
â€œItâ€™s a really big adrenaline rush,â€ he said.
He spends most of his time after school perfecting his skills with Sisto, who also attends East Lincoln Middle.
The boys went to the nationals together March 5 and 6, although they competed in separate events.
Nikolas beat out 30 other racers for first place in the novice category. It took a full day and eight races to earn the award.
This success has only encouraged Nikolasâ€™ dreams.
â€œI want to go to the Olympics someday,â€ he said. â€œI want to turn pro.â€
For now, heâ€™s happy going to competitions and doing stunts with friends. He also has his eye on getting a sponsor.
â€œIâ€™ve raced people who are already sponsored and beat them,â€ he said.
Although Nikolas has won his fair share of competitions, heâ€™s also taken a good number of falls.
At the state championship earlier this year, he fell off his bike during a race. Bikes whizzed on all sides of him. One landed on his helmet- covered head.
â€œI just got up real quick and kept going,â€ he said.
Despite racers occasionally landing on each otherâ€™s heads, Nikolas has made a number of friends at competitions.
â€œWhile youâ€™re waiting and nervous, you talk to people,â€ he said.
Sisto is the only other boy at his school who goes to competitions.
â€œMost kids think itâ€™s a weird hobby, but they donâ€™t really know what itâ€™s like,â€ he said.
His weird hobby certainly hasnâ€™t hurt him when it comes to the ladies.
â€œ(He is) seriously on the phone with the girls forever,â€ his mother said.
While Nikolas enjoys a good chat, heâ€™s not ready for a girlfriend.
â€œIf I have a girlfriend, I have to worry about calling them, and Iâ€™d just hate the responsibility,â€ he said.
Instead, heâ€™d rather focus on keeping his grades up so his parents will let him race. The couple is supportive of his hobby â€¦ mostly.
â€œHeâ€™s driven to do this,â€ said his mother. â€œI just donâ€™t want him to get killed.â€
by Sarah Grano