Middletons exemplify family atmosphere

Dale Shrull/The Daily Sentinel Oliver, Tanya, Jeremiah and Matea Middleton of Grand Junction all race BMX bikes at Grand Valley BMX track. They are all wearing cycling jerseys from the Gates Racing Tam.

They are the BMX racing Middletons.

The pedaling parents are Mom and Dad — 34-year-old Tanya and 40-year-old Jeremiah. The shredding son is Oliver, 14, and motoring Matea is the 7-year-old daughter.

Time at the Grand Valley BMX track is family time for the Middletons and other racing families.

Jeremiah works at a coal mine near Meeker and stays with family in Craig during the work week, so racing and riding on the weekends is extra special for the Middletons.

“I’m not home as much as I’d like to be, but to have all four of us involved in the sport, we can make up for lost time,” he said.

It’s not easy being away from home so much, so that’s why the weekends at the track are a special time.

“Priceless, it really is,” Jeremiah said. “Everybody is involved, from my inspiring little 6-year-old all the way to myself.”

Matea turned 7 on Oct. 3.

Oliver said he heard stories from his dad about how he used to ride BMX. So, Oliver started riding and racing. That inspired Dad to get back on the bike.

“Oliver got me back into it,” Jeremiah said.

He then tells the story of the day that gave him the last shove to get back onto the pedals.

“Oliver was racing one year, and he didn’t block a guy coming out of (turn) one, and I said, ‘You need to watch that guy,’ ” he said.

Oliver wasn’t in the mood to hear a critique after a loss, so he had a couple of well-chosen words for Dad.

“His words were something to affect of, ‘If it’s so easy, Dad, why don’t you get out there and do it?’ “

So, that’s what Dad did.

Jeremiah and Oliver seldom race against one another, but once in a while they do.

At one last-chance qualifier, only one could advance, and Dad sent Oliver home early.

But a few weeks later, Oliver got some payback and ended Dad’s day in a last-chance qualifier.

For Oliver, racing is just “something fun to do.”

But having the entire family involved and racing at the track is more than fun.

“I think it’s the coolest thing ever, I really do,” said Oliver, who goes to Grand Junction High School.

For Mom, there was another reason entirely for getting into racing.

“I was the one left out at holidays. Everyone would get this or that, everything was about BMX,” she said with a smile. “So, a couple of Mother’s Days ago, I said, ‘I want a bike.’

“I definitely get thought of now. Every year, I get a new bike,” she said with a chuckle.

Tanya said she hasn’t crashed yet and isn’t really interested in that part of racing.

“I, knock on wood, haven’t hit the dirt yet, so I’m still lucky,” she said.

Jeremiah and Oliver have crashed a few times, and Dad says, “It hurts a lot at 40.”

Matea likes to race, and her words echo the reasons why nearly everyone races: “I like it because it’s fun, and sometimes you win.”

Tanya said the sport appeals to families because everyone can be involved.

“I just like the family atmosphere. Not only the four of us, but you make so many friends, too,” she said.

Having her mom, dad and brother around is pretty nice, Matea said.

“It’s pretty cool because we all get to race together,” she said with a big smile.

And sometimes you win.


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