BMX racing brings quintet of cousins together
Alex Serrano’s orange bike frame was barely visible just out of the starting gate.
As he rounded the first corner of his race, though, he became the easiest rider to spot. Serrano quickly pulled away from the competition and easily clinched a first-round win Saturday during the Redline Cup Qualifier at the Grand Valley BMX Track, next to the Mesa County Fairgrounds.
This is a common occurrence for Serrano, who is ranked No. 1 among 9-year-olds in Colorado in cruiser and BMX divisions. The Redline Cup Qualifier leads up to today’s Colorado BMX State Championship Final, which for Serrano becomes a family affair.
Alex, along with his 7-year-old brother, Andrew, and cousins Skylar Schave, 11, James Schave, 11, and Braidan Schave, 4, have spent most weekends this year either traveling to events or practicing BMX.
Maria Slane, Alex and Andrew’s mom, has spent the past three years hauling her sons, nieces and nephews to tracks across Colorado and Utah for a sport that has cost her family thousands of dollars and countless hours.
“Every weekend we’re at the track, and most Saturdays we are out of town somewhere,” Slane said. “We’ve gone to Eagle, Salt Lake, Denver, Greeley, Boulder and Fairplay.
“We have a trailer now because we have nine bikes for five kids, because each of the older kids race in two different classes. The 4-year-old, who has been racing since he was 2, is the only one with one bike.
“Their bikes range anywhere from $500 to $1,100. Weekly, it costs us about $100 for all of them to race. This weekend, it’s almost $800 for them to race in all three days, split between me and my mom.”
In addition to the bikes, Slane on Saturday brought two canopies, two coolers and all of the equipment that comes with hauling everything around.
“All of it’s worth it because these kids love it, and they excel at it so much, and I get to see that,” she said.
The opportunity to race and fly through the air drew Alex to BMX, and his love of practice has led him excel in competition.
“I like racing, jumping and practicing,” Alex said. “In practice we’re just basically getting ready for races. Right here is my favorite track. I feel good racing here (for the qualifier and state meet).”
BMX has taken off in Grand Junction and is reflected in the number of Grand Valley BMX riders for the Redline Qualifier and the state championship, according to Kristi Adams, who operates the track for Grand Valley BMX with her husband.
“We’ve seen a 25 percent raise between last year and this year,” Adams said. “For this particular event, we’re not entirely sure because we haven’t hosted a Redline Cup Qualifier in three years, but more than 200 people are here, and for the state championship tomorrow more than 400 people will be here.”
Adams said the oldest racer competing Saturday was 63, and the youngest registered racer was 3, and the qualifier brought riders from New Mexico, Wyoming, Texas and Utah.
“They’re coming from all over for this,” she said.
The state finals begin today with the track opening at 8 a.m. Races begin at 9:30 a.m.