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BMX racer goes the distance

A second-hand bike and lack of fear have earned an east Lincoln boy first place in the Bicycle Motor Cross Nationals.
“We didn’t even get the best bike. We didn’t have a trainer,” said Annie Geerken, the boy’s mother. “He did this on his own.”
Nikolas Geerken, a 13-year-old student at East Lincoln Middle School, has always had an affinity for bikes, but it wasn’t until a year ago his best friend, Sisto Fea, introduced him to BMX racing.
“I always liked to ride bikes wherever I went, so naturally I decided to try,” Nikolas said.
He soon became serious about the sport, much to his mother’s dismay.
“I was scared,” she said. “I thought it was dangerous.”
Flying through the air and occasionally taking rough falls is part of the reason Nikolas enjoys BMX racing so much.
“It’s a really big adrenaline rush,” 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 Nikolas’ dreams.
“I want to go to the Olympics someday,” he said. “I want to turn pro.”
For now, he’s happy going to competitions and doing stunts with friends. He also has his eye on getting a sponsor.
“I’ve raced people who are already sponsored and beat them,” he said.
Although Nikolas has won his fair share of competitions, he’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.
“I just got up real quick and kept going,” he said.
Despite racers occasionally landing on each other’s heads, Nikolas has made a number of friends at competitions.
“While you’re waiting and nervous, you talk to people,” he said.
Sisto is the only other boy at his school who goes to competitions.
“Most kids think it’s a weird hobby, but they don’t really know what it’s like,” he said.
His weird hobby certainly hasn’t hurt him when it comes to the ladies.
“(He is) seriously on the phone with the girls forever,” his mother said.
While Nikolas enjoys a good chat, he’s not ready for a girlfriend.
“If I have a girlfriend, I have to worry about calling them, and I’d just hate the responsibility,” he said.
Instead, he’d rather focus on keeping his grades up so his parents will let him race. The couple is supportive of his hobby … mostly.
“He’s driven to do this,” said his mother. “I just don’t want him to get killed.”

by Sarah Grano

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