Spotlight: Racing with Amelia Walsh

About a year ago, I was at Joyride and I noticed a girl clearing the big box jumps. I mean, I’ve seen a couple of girls do them but no one quite as high and as controlled as Amelia Walsh. I turned to my boyfriend and asked, “who’s that girl?” “I’m not sure but she’s definitely a racer” he replied.

It wasn’t until a year later that I find out her name is Amelia Walsh and ironically, I bumped into her again at my local race track.

Watching her ride, everyone was impressed how fast she was. Even the guys who were in expert, defeatedly admitted, “yeah, she’d win our moto for sure”.

Meet Amelia Walsh, Canada’s fastest girl.

Hometown: Ayr, Ontario Canada
How long you have been riding? I started riding in 2007 and racing in 2008.
Sponsors: Clif Bar CompanyDeft FamilyYess BmxJoyRide 150.

I read that you moved to Vancouver with your brother to pursue your development in racing. Where did you move to and is it like boarding school, where you train, eat and ride at this facility? Is there much down time?

My brother and I drove to BC early April and we are currently living in a basement suite with another teammate in North Surrey. That is basically our routine, eat, sleep, gym and ride. There are 4 different tracks in our area that we can ride at. There is a group of 8 of us that train together daily. Training sessions are usually in Abbotsford where the Supercross hill is. As for down time it depends on what week of training we are in. Typically there are a few hours a day that are for recovery. Usually we just end up going to the beach after a track session.

In a recent article, you were named the fastest girl in Canada. I think this is huge compliment, but do you feel the same or does it put a lot of pressure on you?

I take it as a huge compliment and I feel honored to be called that. I try not to put to much pressure on myself. I just keep telling myself to have fun and ride my bike.

With the 2016 Olympics coming up, can we look forward to cheering you on? What’s the process like to even be considered or invited? Is everything you’re doing now, pretty much to lead you to the 2016 Olympics?

For sure! It is one of my main goals and I will do anything in my power to get there and compete. In order to compete at the Olympics, Canada as a country has to secure spots. Being said our athletes will have to do well at Olympic qualifying races (Supercross) 2 years prior to the games.

You recently went to the BMX Worlds in New Zealand. Could you tell us more about what the event was like, who was there, etc. 

The event was held at Vector Area in Auckland, NZ. The atmosphere of the arena throughout the weekend was unbelievable. During finals there was not one seat available. Compared to previous Worlds, this one was small due to the new format they were running. Like the Olympic format, your country had to qualify for spots from the previous year. Being said there was a smaller number of riders that were able to attend it.

We were missing a Canadian representative in women’s BMX at the 2012 Olympics and there was only one Canadian in men’s BMX. In terms of being the best we can achieve, does Canada lack in anything that the Americans would have an advantage over. For example, interests in the sport, facilities, sponsors, etc.

I think what Canada lacks is the competition. The US has way more riders than Canada, especially in the girls classes. Facility wise, we don’t lack as much due to us having the SX hill in Abbotsford and another one going in on the east coast in Toronto next year. Although this doesn’t really compare to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA where there are replicas of both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic replica tracks. They also have housing at the Olympic Training Centre for a select number of US athletes.

Below are questions from you, the readers! Thanks for sending these in!

What has been her biggest obstacles and how did she overcome. – Question by Nicky Pearson

The mental side of racing is my biggest obstacle. There are some races I’ve been at where I have lost even before getting in the gate. I haven’t overcome it yet, but I am working with the team psychologist to help get around it.

Who was her role model coming up through the BMX program?
 – Question by Nicky Pearson
My brother will always be my role model in BMX. He was very supportive when I first started racing, and was always trying to get me to jump things. He is probably the most skilled rider I have seen in BMX racing.

How much time does she train per week? On track, off track. – Question by Craig Johnson
We train 6 days a week. Typically twice a day, a morning session and then a afternoon/early evening. Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays we are in the gym and Tuesday and Thursday are track days.

What is her diet like / consist of? – Question by Anonymous
I just eat healthy. Lots of protein ( ie chicken ), veggies and fruit.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to try racing? – Question by Anonymous 

Google the closest track to you, check out when they have a practice/race night and head out there. Most tracks will have a trial membership, that includes a rental bike and helmet. Just remember to where toe covered shoes, long shirt and pants! Have an open mind about it too. If you fall once or twice don’t get all worked up about it, just get up and keep going. You’ll fall in love soon or later ☺

I guess now you’re coming home from the BMX Worlds, what’s coming up for you in the future?

I’m taking some time off to let my body get back to 100%. I have National Championships at the end of August then I will in a 4 week training camp in Abbotsford leading up to the World Cup finals in Chula Vista California.

To learn more about Amelia, checkout her website and social networks!
Follow @walshie802

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