Eleven-year-old Natalie Schmidt did not have to look back during her final race in the American BMX Association US Grand Nationals.
If she did, she would have seen everyone else in the 11-year-old girls category chasing her.
Schmidt won the 11-year-old girls category at the US Grand Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma last weekend, continuing a stellar year that has seen her become one of the fastest 11-year-olds on two wheels in all of North America.
“It felt really good to win that race,” said Schmidt this week, upon returning to Kelowna where she is a member of the Kelowna BMX Club. “I was out in front from the beginning to end. I had a good snap (start) out of the gate and went as hard as I could.”
And it was more than hard enough as she easily held off the biggest challengers from the US and Canada to claim the title. The victory came on the heels of an excellent season that also saw Schmidt named the Canadian National #1 Amateur Girl for 2011.
The Grade 6 student at Glenrosa Elementary called the win in Tulsa the biggest of her BMX career because “It was my first time there and I was able to win it out of all the girls that I had to compete against.”
It was also—literally—the biggest trophy of Schmidt’s young career as evidenced earlier this week when she brought the six foot tall trophy into the classroom to show her fellow class-mates.
“They thought it was really cool,” she said.
Schmidt might be just 11-years-old but she is anything but a newcomer to the sport of BMX racing. She began riding BMX when she was just four years old, following in the footsteps of older brother Spencer.
In fact she credits Spencer for making her a fast rider.
“He’s a lot faster than me and I’m always chasing him on the track when we are training so he helps me,” she said.
With the US Grand Nationals now behind her and the riding off-season here, Schmidt is happy to join her brother on the ski slopes of either Crystal Mountain or Big White. She may attend more races in the New Year in the US and is looking forward to another year on her bike next season. And if she is winning races she will be happy.
“I just like getting out in front and winning,” she said.