One spill on the race track and Brady Ahrendt earned a nickname that's going to be stuck with him for life.
In one of his first BMX races four years ago Ahrendt, 11, from Lake Shore, crashed his bike. A friend of his, who was also racing, didn't let him forget it. Since that crash Ahrendt has been called Dirt Biter.
"In one of my first races I crashed pretty good and I was in first," Ahrendt said. "So one of my friends called me that and it's been my nickname since."
In those four years Dirt Biter has learned from that crash. He's turned it into a successful start to his BMX racing career.
Brady Ahrendt has qualified for the 2007 World BMX Championships in Victoria, British Columbia July 26-29.
Ahrendt has been so successful that he's qualified for the 2007 World BMX Championships in Victoria, British Columbia July 26-29. Ahrendt will be one of 2,500 competitors from over 40 countries competing at the World Championships.
Ahrendt qualified for the Worlds when he placed seventh at the USA Cycling National BMX Championships in Waterford, Mich., on June 9.
The national championship race was Ahrendt's first ever sanctioned under the National Bicycle League. In order to have a shot at the World Championships Ahrendt had to race every round at the national race and then make the main race at nationals.
"I did really good into the first turn and was in third," Ahrendt said. "But I got bumped and almost crashed and finished eighth. I was really close to seventh though."
Besides it being Ahrendt's first NBL race, he also had to get used to the track, which was a longer track with bigger jumps.
"It was fun racing against all those other guys," said Ahrendt. "It was hard competition but I met a lot of new people. It took some time to get used to the track because the jumps are about two times bigger than tracks I ride on. They were a lot taller and steeper."
And while he excels at most aspects of BMX racing, Ahrendt admits that jumps are the one area that he needs to improve in to become a complete rider.
"For me jumping has been the hardest thing to learn on the track," said Ahrendt. "I'm just not that good at it. I'm good at a lot of other things but not jumping. I like manualing and pumping. Manualing is when you have your back wheel over the jump but your front wheel is in the air. With pumping you have to go around the track without pedaling. You have to be one big shock."
Ahrendt has been training nearly every day to get ready for the world championship race. He runs three miles a day and rides up and down a hill behind his house 10 times as fast as he can. His dad, Shane, built a gate and a small track for Brady to practice on as well.
"At home I go up the hill and go back down and go back up again and that counts as two," Ahrendt said. "If I do 10 of those sprints that's 14 races and I'll have 14 races at the worlds. That's if I go through all the rounds and make it to the main race."
School: Forestview Middle School
Sport: BMX racing
Accomplishment: Qualified for the 2007 World BMX Championships in Victoria, British Columbia, July 26-29.
But BMX racing hasn't been without it's bumps and bruises for Ahrendt. He fractured his elbow three weeks ago in a race in St. Cloud and also endured a boxer's fracture in his hand on Mother's Day.
"My fears were him getting hurt and he's done that twice already," Brady's mom Kim said. "It's an awesome sport and a good family sport. It's fun. There's always that risk factor. I always hold my breath at the national races until he's done racing."
When asked if he's ever thought about getting into motorcross, Kim quickly interceded.
"My rule is if he can't pedal it he can't race it," said Kim.
So what about the future? Ahrendt, who looks up to professional racers Donny Robinson and Karl Clark, races in the expert class but has grander visions of his future as a BMX racer.
"My goal is to turn pro," said Ahrendt. "There's novice, intermediate, expert and then A Pro and AA Pro. To turn pro you have to be 16 and can go when you think you're good enough. I definitely want to turn pro."
And so far Brady Ahrendt has proven he's good enough.
TROY GUNDERSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5865.
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