Local rider ready for national BMX race at fairgrounds
She would rather ride her bike than play with dolls.
Morgan “Monkey” Zimmerman, 7, is an avid BMX racer and has the trophies to prove it.
“BMX is a huge deal for her,” Paula Zimmerman, her mother, said. “Everything she does includes wheels. Her bike stays in the house (when she’s not racing). She has a big trophy for first place in a national event that is taller than her.”
Morgan, who barely stands 3 feet tall, is ranked 10th in the American Bicycle Association girls 7-under class.
She is one of more than 2,500 BMX racers expected to compete in the first ABA national event in the Grand Valley BMX track’s history, track operator Nick Adams said. In fact, most ABA national events take place at tracks in or just outside a major metro area.
Zimmerman, though, isn’t intimidated or nervous. She placed fifth in her age division at the Grand Nationals last year and is the top-ranked rider in the state.
“I have a lot more big races,” she said.
The Mile High Nationals begins with a pre-race event at 6 tonight and points races Saturday and Sunday at the Grand Valley track located at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.
Races begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday.
“When Nick Adams took over that track, the program took off,” said Bernard Anderson, the chief executive officer of the ABA. “That’s the reason why we are here. It’s one of the top tracks in the nation as far as promotion and rider count. The city of Grand Junction welcomed us with open arms.”
The Mile High Nationals is one of 27 national circuit events, culminating with the Grand Nationals on Nov. 28-29 in Tulsa, Okla.
Adams and several volunteers spent numerous hours prepping the track for the big event. They rebuilt the track to make it bigger and longer, put in new lights, added several pounds of dirt and removed rocks.
“The track is amazing,” said Adams’ 12-year-old son, Steven, who races. “From what it was to what it is now is crazy. It’s way smoother than I expected. That’s really good. It’s technical, too.”
The boys and girls age 15-under classes are competing for a spot on the USA Cycling Junior Development team and an opportunity to train for the U.S. Olympic BMX team.
The ABA created the junior development series for boys and girls ages 14-15 for the purpose of identifying the top riders for Olympic training. The BMX Olympic Training Center is in Chula Vista, Calif.
The goal of the program is to allow the best young U.S. riders an opportunity to progress to the highest level of international BMX competition. It also allows the riders to familiarize themselves with the bigger, faster, and more demanding style of BMX racing at the UCI Supercross World Cup level and the Olympic Games.