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Decade of dominance may soon come to pass for talented female BMX racer

It's overcast, the air thick and close, the friable track thirsting for the forecast rain. Kaitlyn Anfinson pulls into a nearby lot in a silver SUV and pops the trunk. A custom helmet, race gear and a 2013 Redline Flight Pro XL BMX are propped ne...

The long and winding ride
Kaitlyn Anfinson has been riding BMX for the last decade, in the process becoming one of the best racers in the state. She is a member of Green Lake BMX and was at her local track in Spicer on Aug. 13 for a practice ride before beginning a shift at work. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE

It’s overcast, the air thick and close, the friable track thirsting for the forecast rain. Kaitlyn Anfinson pulls into a nearby lot in a silver SUV and pops the trunk. A custom helmet, race gear and a 2013 Redline Flight Pro XL BMX are propped neatly in the back against the folded down seats. It’s a top-flight bike: a check online shows it retails for some $600 more than most of its counterparts and its frame is 4 pounds lighter, a feature designed for speed. Also on hand is Jacob Onstad, a 14-year-old racer from New London, and his mom, Jenni. Jacob has lofty goals: he wants to win a national championship, perhaps one day compete for a world title. Today, he’ll settle for a practice run with Kaitlyn. She’s squeezing in a quick ride before starting her shift at the campground store at Kandiyohi County Park 5 on the north shores of Green Lake. Her father is the manager there. As Kaitlyn slides into her gear, Jacob hits the track. Four laps later, he’s drenched with sweat and takes a momentary breather. The internal clock resets. The switch flips back. And he’s off again, Kaitlyn now at his side.
She has a protracted and lean frame, pushing 6 feet. The bike seems weightless beneath her, jolting violently as she hits a jarring roller, varied hills positioned in clusters. There’s brio to the riders’ cadence, each subtle movement mirroring the next, lap after lap, neck and neck, hitting 25 mph on the straights. Jenni looks on, her eyes studying the two with an aptitude formed from innumerable hours at the races. As they complete another lap, Kaitlyn rests, removes her helmet and lets out a deep breath. She smiles. After all these years, the track still bewitches her. Her mastery of its floury corners and scheming angles has made boys sob with envy. Girls, too. Here, sheltered beyond the grove and tall grass weaving from Spicer’s main drag, this 17-year-old self-described tomboy is a name, a face, a box-office draw respected as one of the superior riders on the state’s BMX circuit. But for how long? Building a legacy According to the American Bicycle Association’s website, the birth of BMX racing is largely attributed to a group of southern Californian teens who, in the latter days of the 1960s, began modifying Schwinn Stingray bicycles to imitate the motorcycle racing idols of the era. Their exploits were captured by documentarian Bruce Brown, who used the footage during the opening credits of his biking opus “On Any Sunday.” The film, nominated for a 1972 Oscar, is considered by critics the quintessential work of its kind, with Roger Ebert stating it did for bike racing “what ‘The Endless Summer’ did for surfing.” By the late 1970s, BMX racing had been sanctioned as a sport, with the first world championships held in 1982. Twenty years on, it was commissioned as an Olympic event. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953464","attributes":{"alt":"Kaitlyn Anfinson goes airborne after hitting a roller, a racing term for a hill. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE","class":"media-image","height":"480","title":"","width":"320"}}]]Kaitlyn knew none of this when she caught the bug. She just wanted to ride. “Some kids at school were talking about it,” she recalled. “I just went home and said ‘I want to try that’.” Thereafter, she joined Spicer-based club Green Lake BMX and swiftly blew the competition away. “I knew I was good when I started to beat the boys,” she said with a laugh. “ … and then they’d cry after. It was pretty funny.” On six occasions she won the American Bike Association’s state title in her class. And during those sparse meets when she wasn’t at her best, she rarely placed out of the top-three finishers. So vast was her trophy display, she began donating the awards back to the club. “Kaitlyn put her heart into this and never gave up,” said Jenni, a volunteer at the Spicer track, with many a front-row seat to Kaitlyn’s dominance. “Practicing all the time. … She’s given her all.” But now Kaitlyn’s at that proverbial crossroads. It has been a decade since she slung her sinewy leg over the frame of her first bike and the reality is life is catching up. While her adoration for the sport has waned little, adulthood beckons. Priorities are changing.   A year from now she’ll be college-bound, perhaps to another city, another state. She’s yet to iron out those constitutive details.  But something has to give. It always does. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953477","attributes":{"alt":"Kaitlyn Anfinson","class":"media-image","height":"257","style":"font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 20.0063037872314px;","title":"","width":"183"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953493","attributes":{"alt":"Jacob Onstad","class":"media-image","height":"257","title":"","width":"183"}}]]This year, she took a hiatus from competition for reasons she remains typically nonchalant. “I’m just taking time for me,” she often counters with a smile when asked if she’s quitting racing. “… doing some other fun things.” The sport is changing, too: memberships are slowly declining at tracks across the region, perhaps a byproduct of BMX freestyle, an extreme sport popularized by the exponential growth of the adrenaline-fueled X Games, and the increasing immersion into technological avenues for Generations Y and Z. Nobody really knows for sure. And Spicer’s no different, with participation noticeably down over years past. “I really don’t know why we’re seeing these kids quit,” Jenni said. “I think a lot of kids would like this sport because it’s an individual thing. With other sports, sometimes they are stuck on the bench waiting to play. With racing, no kid sits. Everyone races. Everyone participates, and the kids get to determine their own success.” There’s no talk of quitting for Jacob, though. He’s all in and says Kaitlyn’s racing legacy is of a caliber by which to model his own. He’s currently seventh out of 22 racers in his class, a mere nine points off the lead, with eight races scheduled until the season ends Oct. 9. “I want to rank among the top-five riders,” he said. “ … and then No. 1.” ABOUT GRREN LAKE BMX Anyone interested in BMX racing can call Green Lake BMX in Spicer at 320-796-4434, email greenlake_bmx@yahoo.com or visit www.greenlakebmx.com. The club’s track is located at 221 South St. W., just west of the Green Lake Baseball Diamonds off Highway 23.It’s overcast, the air thick and close, the friable track thirsting for the forecast rain. Kaitlyn Anfinson pulls into a nearby lot in a silver SUV and pops the trunk. A custom helmet, race gear and a 2013 Redline Flight Pro XL BMX are propped neatly in the back against the folded down seats. It’s a top-flight bike: a check online shows it retails for some $600 more than most of its counterparts and its frame is 4 pounds lighter, a feature designed for speed. Also on hand is Jacob Onstad, a 14-year-old racer from New London, and his mom, Jenni. Jacob has lofty goals: he wants to win a national championship, perhaps one day compete for a world title. Today, he’ll settle for a practice run with Kaitlyn. She’s squeezing in a quick ride before starting her shift at the campground store at Kandiyohi County Park 5 on the north shores of Green Lake. Her father is the manager there. As Kaitlyn slides into her gear, Jacob hits the track. Four laps later, he’s drenched with sweat and takes a momentary breather. The internal clock resets. The switch flips back. And he’s off again, Kaitlyn now at his side. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1953460","attributes":{"alt":"Jacob Onstad, right, and Kaitlyn Anfinson take a breather after completing laps at their local track. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE","class":"media-image","height":"807","title":"","width":"1137"}}]]She has a protracted and lean frame, pushing 6 feet. The bike seems weightless beneath her, jolting violently as she hits a jarring roller, varied hills positioned in clusters. There’s brio to the riders’ cadence, each subtle movement mirroring the next, lap after lap, neck and neck, hitting 25 mph on the straights. Jenni looks on, her eyes studying the two with an aptitude formed from innumerable hours at the races. As they complete another lap, Kaitlyn rests, removes her helmet and lets out a deep breath. She smiles. After all these years, the track still bewitches her. Her mastery of its floury corners and scheming angles has made boys sob with envy. Girls, too. Here, sheltered beyond the grove and tall grass weaving from Spicer’s main drag, this 17-year-old self-described tomboy is a name, a face, a box-office draw respected as one of the superior riders on the state’s BMX circuit. But for how long? Building a legacy According to the American Bicycle Association’s website, the birth of BMX racing is largely attributed to a group of southern Californian teens who, in the latter days of the 1960s, began modifying Schwinn Stingray bicycles to imitate the motorcycle racing idols of the era. Their exploits were captured by documentarian Bruce Brown, who used the footage during the opening credits of his biking opus “On Any Sunday.” The film, nominated for a 1972 Oscar, is considered by critics the quintessential work of its kind, with Roger Ebert stating it did for bike racing “what ‘The Endless Summer’ did for surfing.” By the late 1970s, BMX racing had been sanctioned as a sport, with the first world championships held in 1982. Twenty years on, it was commissioned as an Olympic event.
Kaitlyn knew none of this when she caught the bug. She just wanted to ride. “Some kids at school were talking about it,” she recalled. “I just went home and said ‘I want to try that’.” Thereafter, she joined Spicer-based club Green Lake BMX and swiftly blew the competition away. “I knew I was good when I started to beat the boys,” she said with a laugh. “ … and then they’d cry after. It was pretty funny.” On six occasions she won the American Bike Association’s state title in her class. And during those sparse meets when she wasn’t at her best, she rarely placed out of the top-three finishers. So vast was her trophy display, she began donating the awards back to the club. “Kaitlyn put her heart into this and never gave up,” said Jenni, a volunteer at the Spicer track, with many a front-row seat to Kaitlyn’s dominance. “Practicing all the time. … She’s given her all.” But now Kaitlyn’s at that proverbial crossroads. It has been a decade since she slung her sinewy leg over the frame of her first bike and the reality is life is catching up. While her adoration for the sport has waned little, adulthood beckons. Priorities are changing.   A year from now she’ll be college-bound, perhaps to another city, another state. She’s yet to iron out those constitutive details.  But something has to give. It always does. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953477","attributes":{"alt":"Kaitlyn Anfinson","class":"media-image","height":"257","style":"font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 20.0063037872314px;","title":"","width":"183"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953493","attributes":{"alt":"Jacob Onstad","class":"media-image","height":"257","title":"","width":"183"}}]]This year, she took a hiatus from competition for reasons she remains typically nonchalant. “I’m just taking time for me,” she often counters with a smile when asked if she’s quitting racing. “… doing some other fun things.” The sport is changing, too: memberships are slowly declining at tracks across the region, perhaps a byproduct of BMX freestyle, an extreme sport popularized by the exponential growth of the adrenaline-fueled X Games, and the increasing immersion into technological avenues for Generations Y and Z. Nobody really knows for sure. And Spicer’s no different, with participation noticeably down over years past. “I really don’t know why we’re seeing these kids quit,” Jenni said. “I think a lot of kids would like this sport because it’s an individual thing. With other sports, sometimes they are stuck on the bench waiting to play. With racing, no kid sits. Everyone races. Everyone participates, and the kids get to determine their own success.” There’s no talk of quitting for Jacob, though. He’s all in and says Kaitlyn’s racing legacy is of a caliber by which to model his own. He’s currently seventh out of 22 racers in his class, a mere nine points off the lead, with eight races scheduled until the season ends Oct. 9. “I want to rank among the top-five riders,” he said. “ … and then No. 1.” ABOUT GRREN LAKE BMX Anyone interested in BMX racing can call Green Lake BMX in Spicer at 320-796-4434, email greenlake_bmx@yahoo.com or visit www.greenlakebmx.com. The club’s track is located at 221 South St. W., just west of the Green Lake Baseball Diamonds off Highway 23.It’s overcast, the air thick and close, the friable track thirsting for the forecast rain. Kaitlyn Anfinson pulls into a nearby lot in a silver SUV and pops the trunk. A custom helmet, race gear and a 2013 Redline Flight Pro XL BMX are propped neatly in the back against the folded down seats. It’s a top-flight bike: a check online shows it retails for some $600 more than most of its counterparts and its frame is 4 pounds lighter, a feature designed for speed. Also on hand is Jacob Onstad, a 14-year-old racer from New London, and his mom, Jenni. Jacob has lofty goals: he wants to win a national championship, perhaps one day compete for a world title. Today, he’ll settle for a practice run with Kaitlyn. She’s squeezing in a quick ride before starting her shift at the campground store at Kandiyohi County Park 5 on the north shores of Green Lake. Her father is the manager there. As Kaitlyn slides into her gear, Jacob hits the track. Four laps later, he’s drenched with sweat and takes a momentary breather. The internal clock resets. The switch flips back. And he’s off again, Kaitlyn now at his side. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1953460","attributes":{"alt":"Jacob Onstad, right, and Kaitlyn Anfinson take a breather after completing laps at their local track. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE","class":"media-image","height":"807","title":"","width":"1137"}}]]She has a protracted and lean frame, pushing 6 feet. The bike seems weightless beneath her, jolting violently as she hits a jarring roller, varied hills positioned in clusters. There’s brio to the riders’ cadence, each subtle movement mirroring the next, lap after lap, neck and neck, hitting 25 mph on the straights. Jenni looks on, her eyes studying the two with an aptitude formed from innumerable hours at the races. As they complete another lap, Kaitlyn rests, removes her helmet and lets out a deep breath. She smiles. After all these years, the track still bewitches her. Her mastery of its floury corners and scheming angles has made boys sob with envy. Girls, too. Here, sheltered beyond the grove and tall grass weaving from Spicer’s main drag, this 17-year-old self-described tomboy is a name, a face, a box-office draw respected as one of the superior riders on the state’s BMX circuit. But for how long? Building a legacy According to the American Bicycle Association’s website, the birth of BMX racing is largely attributed to a group of southern Californian teens who, in the latter days of the 1960s, began modifying Schwinn Stingray bicycles to imitate the motorcycle racing idols of the era. Their exploits were captured by documentarian Bruce Brown, who used the footage during the opening credits of his biking opus “On Any Sunday.” The film, nominated for a 1972 Oscar, is considered by critics the quintessential work of its kind, with Roger Ebert stating it did for bike racing “what ‘The Endless Summer’ did for surfing.” By the late 1970s, BMX racing had been sanctioned as a sport, with the first world championships held in 1982. Twenty years on, it was commissioned as an Olympic event. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953464","attributes":{"alt":"Kaitlyn Anfinson goes airborne after hitting a roller, a racing term for a hill. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE","class":"media-image","height":"480","title":"","width":"320"}}]]Kaitlyn knew none of this when she caught the bug. She just wanted to ride. “Some kids at school were talking about it,” she recalled. “I just went home and said ‘I want to try that’.” Thereafter, she joined Spicer-based club Green Lake BMX and swiftly blew the competition away. “I knew I was good when I started to beat the boys,” she said with a laugh. “ … and then they’d cry after. It was pretty funny.” On six occasions she won the American Bike Association’s state title in her class. And during those sparse meets when she wasn’t at her best, she rarely placed out of the top-three finishers. So vast was her trophy display, she began donating the awards back to the club. “Kaitlyn put her heart into this and never gave up,” said Jenni, a volunteer at the Spicer track, with many a front-row seat to Kaitlyn’s dominance. “Practicing all the time. … She’s given her all.” But now Kaitlyn’s at that proverbial crossroads. It has been a decade since she slung her sinewy leg over the frame of her first bike and the reality is life is catching up. While her adoration for the sport has waned little, adulthood beckons. Priorities are changing.   A year from now she’ll be college-bound, perhaps to another city, another state. She’s yet to iron out those constitutive details.  But something has to give. It always does.
 [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953493","attributes":{"alt":"Jacob Onstad","class":"media-image","height":"257","title":"","width":"183"}}]]This year, she took a hiatus from competition for reasons she remains typically nonchalant. “I’m just taking time for me,” she often counters with a smile when asked if she’s quitting racing. “… doing some other fun things.” The sport is changing, too: memberships are slowly declining at tracks across the region, perhaps a byproduct of BMX freestyle, an extreme sport popularized by the exponential growth of the adrenaline-fueled X Games, and the increasing immersion into technological avenues for Generations Y and Z. Nobody really knows for sure. And Spicer’s no different, with participation noticeably down over years past. “I really don’t know why we’re seeing these kids quit,” Jenni said. “I think a lot of kids would like this sport because it’s an individual thing. With other sports, sometimes they are stuck on the bench waiting to play. With racing, no kid sits. Everyone races. Everyone participates, and the kids get to determine their own success.” There’s no talk of quitting for Jacob, though. He’s all in and says Kaitlyn’s racing legacy is of a caliber by which to model his own. He’s currently seventh out of 22 racers in his class, a mere nine points off the lead, with eight races scheduled until the season ends Oct. 9. “I want to rank among the top-five riders,” he said. “ … and then No. 1.” ABOUT GRREN LAKE BMX Anyone interested in BMX racing can call Green Lake BMX in Spicer at 320-796-4434, email greenlake_bmx@yahoo.com or visit www.greenlakebmx.com. The club’s track is located at 221 South St. W., just west of the Green Lake Baseball Diamonds off Highway 23.It’s overcast, the air thick and close, the friable track thirsting for the forecast rain. Kaitlyn Anfinson pulls into a nearby lot in a silver SUV and pops the trunk. A custom helmet, race gear and a 2013 Redline Flight Pro XL BMX are propped neatly in the back against the folded down seats. It’s a top-flight bike: a check online shows it retails for some $600 more than most of its counterparts and its frame is 4 pounds lighter, a feature designed for speed. Also on hand is Jacob Onstad, a 14-year-old racer from New London, and his mom, Jenni. Jacob has lofty goals: he wants to win a national championship, perhaps one day compete for a world title. Today, he’ll settle for a practice run with Kaitlyn. She’s squeezing in a quick ride before starting her shift at the campground store at Kandiyohi County Park 5 on the north shores of Green Lake. Her father is the manager there. As Kaitlyn slides into her gear, Jacob hits the track. Four laps later, he’s drenched with sweat and takes a momentary breather. The internal clock resets. The switch flips back. And he’s off again, Kaitlyn now at his side. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1953460","attributes":{"alt":"Jacob Onstad, right, and Kaitlyn Anfinson take a breather after completing laps at their local track. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE","class":"media-image","height":"807","title":"","width":"1137"}}]]She has a protracted and lean frame, pushing 6 feet. The bike seems weightless beneath her, jolting violently as she hits a jarring roller, varied hills positioned in clusters. There’s brio to the riders’ cadence, each subtle movement mirroring the next, lap after lap, neck and neck, hitting 25 mph on the straights. Jenni looks on, her eyes studying the two with an aptitude formed from innumerable hours at the races. As they complete another lap, Kaitlyn rests, removes her helmet and lets out a deep breath. She smiles. After all these years, the track still bewitches her. Her mastery of its floury corners and scheming angles has made boys sob with envy. Girls, too. Here, sheltered beyond the grove and tall grass weaving from Spicer’s main drag, this 17-year-old self-described tomboy is a name, a face, a box-office draw respected as one of the superior riders on the state’s BMX circuit. But for how long? Building a legacy According to the American Bicycle Association’s website, the birth of BMX racing is largely attributed to a group of southern Californian teens who, in the latter days of the 1960s, began modifying Schwinn Stingray bicycles to imitate the motorcycle racing idols of the era. Their exploits were captured by documentarian Bruce Brown, who used the footage during the opening credits of his biking opus “On Any Sunday.” The film, nominated for a 1972 Oscar, is considered by critics the quintessential work of its kind, with Roger Ebert stating it did for bike racing “what ‘The Endless Summer’ did for surfing.” By the late 1970s, BMX racing had been sanctioned as a sport, with the first world championships held in 1982. Twenty years on, it was commissioned as an Olympic event. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953464","attributes":{"alt":"Kaitlyn Anfinson goes airborne after hitting a roller, a racing term for a hill. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE","class":"media-image","height":"480","title":"","width":"320"}}]]Kaitlyn knew none of this when she caught the bug. She just wanted to ride. “Some kids at school were talking about it,” she recalled. “I just went home and said ‘I want to try that’.” Thereafter, she joined Spicer-based club Green Lake BMX and swiftly blew the competition away. “I knew I was good when I started to beat the boys,” she said with a laugh. “ … and then they’d cry after. It was pretty funny.” On six occasions she won the American Bike Association’s state title in her class. And during those sparse meets when she wasn’t at her best, she rarely placed out of the top-three finishers. So vast was her trophy display, she began donating the awards back to the club. “Kaitlyn put her heart into this and never gave up,” said Jenni, a volunteer at the Spicer track, with many a front-row seat to Kaitlyn’s dominance. “Practicing all the time. … She’s given her all.” But now Kaitlyn’s at that proverbial crossroads. It has been a decade since she slung her sinewy leg over the frame of her first bike and the reality is life is catching up. While her adoration for the sport has waned little, adulthood beckons. Priorities are changing.   A year from now she’ll be college-bound, perhaps to another city, another state. She’s yet to iron out those constitutive details.  But something has to give. It always does. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953477","attributes":{"alt":"Kaitlyn Anfinson","class":"media-image","height":"257","style":"font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 20.0063037872314px;","title":"","width":"183"}}]] 
This year, she took a hiatus from competition for reasons she remains typically nonchalant. “I’m just taking time for me,” she often counters with a smile when asked if she’s quitting racing. “… doing some other fun things.” The sport is changing, too: memberships are slowly declining at tracks across the region, perhaps a byproduct of BMX freestyle, an extreme sport popularized by the exponential growth of the adrenaline-fueled X Games, and the increasing immersion into technological avenues for Generations Y and Z. Nobody really knows for sure. And Spicer’s no different, with participation noticeably down over years past. “I really don’t know why we’re seeing these kids quit,” Jenni said. “I think a lot of kids would like this sport because it’s an individual thing. With other sports, sometimes they are stuck on the bench waiting to play. With racing, no kid sits. Everyone races. Everyone participates, and the kids get to determine their own success.” There’s no talk of quitting for Jacob, though. He’s all in and says Kaitlyn’s racing legacy is of a caliber by which to model his own. He’s currently seventh out of 22 racers in his class, a mere nine points off the lead, with eight races scheduled until the season ends Oct. 9. “I want to rank among the top-five riders,” he said. “ … and then No. 1.” ABOUT GRREN LAKE BMX Anyone interested in BMX racing can call Green Lake BMX in Spicer at 320-796-4434, email greenlake_bmx@yahoo.com or visit www.greenlakebmx.com. The club’s track is located at 221 South St. W., just west of the Green Lake Baseball Diamonds off Highway 23.It’s overcast, the air thick and close, the friable track thirsting for the forecast rain.Kaitlyn Anfinson pulls into a nearby lot in a silver SUV and pops the trunk.A custom helmet, race gear and a 2013 Redline Flight Pro XL BMX are propped neatly in the back against the folded down seats. It’s a top-flight bike: a check online shows it retails for some $600 more than most of its counterparts and its frame is 4 pounds lighter, a feature designed for speed.Also on hand is Jacob Onstad, a 14-year-old racer from New London, and his mom, Jenni.Jacob has lofty goals: he wants to win a national championship, perhaps one day compete for a world title.Today, he’ll settle for a practice run with Kaitlyn.She’s squeezing in a quick ride before starting her shift at the campground store at Kandiyohi County Park 5 on the north shores of Green Lake. Her father is the manager there.As Kaitlyn slides into her gear, Jacob hits the track.Four laps later, he’s drenched with sweat and takes a momentary breather.The internal clock resets.The switch flips back.And he’s off again, Kaitlyn now at his side.
She has a protracted and lean frame, pushing 6 feet. The bike seems weightless beneath her, jolting violently as she hits a jarring roller, varied hills positioned in clusters.There’s brio to the riders’ cadence, each subtle movement mirroring the next, lap after lap, neck and neck, hitting 25 mph on the straights.Jenni looks on, her eyes studying the two with an aptitude formed from innumerable hours at the races.As they complete another lap, Kaitlyn rests, removes her helmet and lets out a deep breath.She smiles.After all these years, the track still bewitches her.Her mastery of its floury corners and scheming angles has made boys sob with envy. Girls, too.Here, sheltered beyond the grove and tall grass weaving from Spicer’s main drag, this 17-year-old self-described tomboy is a name, a face, a box-office draw respected as one of the superior riders on the state’s BMX circuit.But for how long?Building a legacyAccording to the American Bicycle Association’s website, the birth of BMX racing is largely attributed to a group of southern Californian teens who, in the latter days of the 1960s, began modifying Schwinn Stingray bicycles to imitate the motorcycle racing idols of the era.Their exploits were captured by documentarian Bruce Brown, who used the footage during the opening credits of his biking opus “On Any Sunday.” The film, nominated for a 1972 Oscar, is considered by critics the quintessential work of its kind, with Roger Ebert stating it did for bike racing “what ‘The Endless Summer’ did for surfing.”By the late 1970s, BMX racing had been sanctioned as a sport, with the first world championships held in 1982.Twenty years on, it was commissioned as an Olympic event.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953464","attributes":{"alt":"Kaitlyn Anfinson goes airborne after hitting a roller, a racing term for a hill. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE","class":"media-image","height":"480","title":"","width":"320"}}]]Kaitlyn knew none of this when she caught the bug. She just wanted to ride.“Some kids at school were talking about it,” she recalled. “I just went home and said ‘I want to try that’.”Thereafter, she joined Spicer-based club Green Lake BMX and swiftly blew the competition away.“I knew I was good when I started to beat the boys,” she said with a laugh. “ … and then they’d cry after. It was pretty funny.”On six occasions she won the American Bike Association’s state title in her class. And during those sparse meets when she wasn’t at her best, she rarely placed out of the top-three finishers. So vast was her trophy display, she began donating the awards back to the club.“Kaitlyn put her heart into this and never gave up,” said Jenni, a volunteer at the Spicer track, with many a front-row seat to Kaitlyn’s dominance. “Practicing all the time. … She’s given her all.”But now Kaitlyn’s at that proverbial crossroads.It has been a decade since she slung her sinewy leg over the frame of her first bike and the reality is life is catching up. While her adoration for the sport has waned little, adulthood beckons. Priorities are changing.  A year from now she’ll be college-bound, perhaps to another city, another state. She’s yet to iron out those constitutive details. But something has to give. It always does.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953477","attributes":{"alt":"Kaitlyn Anfinson","class":"media-image","height":"257","style":"font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 20.0063037872314px;","title":"","width":"183"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953493","attributes":{"alt":"Jacob Onstad","class":"media-image","height":"257","title":"","width":"183"}}]]This year, she took a hiatus from competition for reasons she remains typically nonchalant.“I’m just taking time for me,” she often counters with a smile when asked if she’s quitting racing. “… doing some other fun things.”The sport is changing, too: memberships are slowly declining at tracks across the region, perhaps a byproduct of BMX freestyle, an extreme sport popularized by the exponential growth of the adrenaline-fueled X Games, and the increasing immersion into technological avenues for Generations Y and Z. Nobody really knows for sure.And Spicer’s no different, with participation noticeably down over years past.“I really don’t know why we’re seeing these kids quit,” Jenni said. “I think a lot of kids would like this sport because it’s an individual thing. With other sports, sometimes they are stuck on the bench waiting to play. With racing, no kid sits. Everyone races. Everyone participates, and the kids get to determine their own success.”There’s no talk of quitting for Jacob, though. He’s all in and says Kaitlyn’s racing legacy is of a caliber by which to model his own. He’s currently seventh out of 22 racers in his class, a mere nine points off the lead, with eight races scheduled until the season ends Oct. 9.“I want to rank among the top-five riders,” he said. “ … and then No. 1.”ABOUT GRREN LAKE BMXAnyone interested in BMX racing can call Green Lake BMX in Spicer at 320-796-4434, email greenlake_bmx@yahoo.com or visit www.greenlakebmx.com. The club’s track is located at 221 South St. W., just west of the Green Lake Baseball Diamonds off Highway 23.It’s overcast, the air thick and close, the friable track thirsting for the forecast rain.Kaitlyn Anfinson pulls into a nearby lot in a silver SUV and pops the trunk.A custom helmet, race gear and a 2013 Redline Flight Pro XL BMX are propped neatly in the back against the folded down seats. It’s a top-flight bike: a check online shows it retails for some $600 more than most of its counterparts and its frame is 4 pounds lighter, a feature designed for speed.Also on hand is Jacob Onstad, a 14-year-old racer from New London, and his mom, Jenni.Jacob has lofty goals: he wants to win a national championship, perhaps one day compete for a world title.Today, he’ll settle for a practice run with Kaitlyn.She’s squeezing in a quick ride before starting her shift at the campground store at Kandiyohi County Park 5 on the north shores of Green Lake. Her father is the manager there.As Kaitlyn slides into her gear, Jacob hits the track.Four laps later, he’s drenched with sweat and takes a momentary breather.The internal clock resets.The switch flips back.And he’s off again, Kaitlyn now at his side.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1953460","attributes":{"alt":"Jacob Onstad, right, and Kaitlyn Anfinson take a breather after completing laps at their local track. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE","class":"media-image","height":"807","title":"","width":"1137"}}]]She has a protracted and lean frame, pushing 6 feet. The bike seems weightless beneath her, jolting violently as she hits a jarring roller, varied hills positioned in clusters.There’s brio to the riders’ cadence, each subtle movement mirroring the next, lap after lap, neck and neck, hitting 25 mph on the straights.Jenni looks on, her eyes studying the two with an aptitude formed from innumerable hours at the races.As they complete another lap, Kaitlyn rests, removes her helmet and lets out a deep breath.She smiles.After all these years, the track still bewitches her.Her mastery of its floury corners and scheming angles has made boys sob with envy. Girls, too.Here, sheltered beyond the grove and tall grass weaving from Spicer’s main drag, this 17-year-old self-described tomboy is a name, a face, a box-office draw respected as one of the superior riders on the state’s BMX circuit.But for how long?Building a legacyAccording to the American Bicycle Association’s website, the birth of BMX racing is largely attributed to a group of southern Californian teens who, in the latter days of the 1960s, began modifying Schwinn Stingray bicycles to imitate the motorcycle racing idols of the era.Their exploits were captured by documentarian Bruce Brown, who used the footage during the opening credits of his biking opus “On Any Sunday.” The film, nominated for a 1972 Oscar, is considered by critics the quintessential work of its kind, with Roger Ebert stating it did for bike racing “what ‘The Endless Summer’ did for surfing.”By the late 1970s, BMX racing had been sanctioned as a sport, with the first world championships held in 1982.Twenty years on, it was commissioned as an Olympic event.
Kaitlyn knew none of this when she caught the bug. She just wanted to ride.“Some kids at school were talking about it,” she recalled. “I just went home and said ‘I want to try that’.”Thereafter, she joined Spicer-based club Green Lake BMX and swiftly blew the competition away.“I knew I was good when I started to beat the boys,” she said with a laugh. “ … and then they’d cry after. It was pretty funny.”On six occasions she won the American Bike Association’s state title in her class. And during those sparse meets when she wasn’t at her best, she rarely placed out of the top-three finishers. So vast was her trophy display, she began donating the awards back to the club.“Kaitlyn put her heart into this and never gave up,” said Jenni, a volunteer at the Spicer track, with many a front-row seat to Kaitlyn’s dominance. “Practicing all the time. … She’s given her all.”But now Kaitlyn’s at that proverbial crossroads.It has been a decade since she slung her sinewy leg over the frame of her first bike and the reality is life is catching up. While her adoration for the sport has waned little, adulthood beckons. Priorities are changing.  A year from now she’ll be college-bound, perhaps to another city, another state. She’s yet to iron out those constitutive details. But something has to give. It always does.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953477","attributes":{"alt":"Kaitlyn Anfinson","class":"media-image","height":"257","style":"font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 20.0063037872314px;","title":"","width":"183"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953493","attributes":{"alt":"Jacob Onstad","class":"media-image","height":"257","title":"","width":"183"}}]]This year, she took a hiatus from competition for reasons she remains typically nonchalant.“I’m just taking time for me,” she often counters with a smile when asked if she’s quitting racing. “… doing some other fun things.”The sport is changing, too: memberships are slowly declining at tracks across the region, perhaps a byproduct of BMX freestyle, an extreme sport popularized by the exponential growth of the adrenaline-fueled X Games, and the increasing immersion into technological avenues for Generations Y and Z. Nobody really knows for sure.And Spicer’s no different, with participation noticeably down over years past.“I really don’t know why we’re seeing these kids quit,” Jenni said. “I think a lot of kids would like this sport because it’s an individual thing. With other sports, sometimes they are stuck on the bench waiting to play. With racing, no kid sits. Everyone races. Everyone participates, and the kids get to determine their own success.”There’s no talk of quitting for Jacob, though. He’s all in and says Kaitlyn’s racing legacy is of a caliber by which to model his own. He’s currently seventh out of 22 racers in his class, a mere nine points off the lead, with eight races scheduled until the season ends Oct. 9.“I want to rank among the top-five riders,” he said. “ … and then No. 1.”ABOUT GRREN LAKE BMXAnyone interested in BMX racing can call Green Lake BMX in Spicer at 320-796-4434, email greenlake_bmx@yahoo.com or visit www.greenlakebmx.com. The club’s track is located at 221 South St. W., just west of the Green Lake Baseball Diamonds off Highway 23.It’s overcast, the air thick and close, the friable track thirsting for the forecast rain.Kaitlyn Anfinson pulls into a nearby lot in a silver SUV and pops the trunk.A custom helmet, race gear and a 2013 Redline Flight Pro XL BMX are propped neatly in the back against the folded down seats. It’s a top-flight bike: a check online shows it retails for some $600 more than most of its counterparts and its frame is 4 pounds lighter, a feature designed for speed.Also on hand is Jacob Onstad, a 14-year-old racer from New London, and his mom, Jenni.Jacob has lofty goals: he wants to win a national championship, perhaps one day compete for a world title.Today, he’ll settle for a practice run with Kaitlyn.She’s squeezing in a quick ride before starting her shift at the campground store at Kandiyohi County Park 5 on the north shores of Green Lake. Her father is the manager there.As Kaitlyn slides into her gear, Jacob hits the track.Four laps later, he’s drenched with sweat and takes a momentary breather.The internal clock resets.The switch flips back.And he’s off again, Kaitlyn now at his side.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1953460","attributes":{"alt":"Jacob Onstad, right, and Kaitlyn Anfinson take a breather after completing laps at their local track. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE","class":"media-image","height":"807","title":"","width":"1137"}}]]She has a protracted and lean frame, pushing 6 feet. The bike seems weightless beneath her, jolting violently as she hits a jarring roller, varied hills positioned in clusters.There’s brio to the riders’ cadence, each subtle movement mirroring the next, lap after lap, neck and neck, hitting 25 mph on the straights.Jenni looks on, her eyes studying the two with an aptitude formed from innumerable hours at the races.As they complete another lap, Kaitlyn rests, removes her helmet and lets out a deep breath.She smiles.After all these years, the track still bewitches her.Her mastery of its floury corners and scheming angles has made boys sob with envy. Girls, too.Here, sheltered beyond the grove and tall grass weaving from Spicer’s main drag, this 17-year-old self-described tomboy is a name, a face, a box-office draw respected as one of the superior riders on the state’s BMX circuit.But for how long?Building a legacyAccording to the American Bicycle Association’s website, the birth of BMX racing is largely attributed to a group of southern Californian teens who, in the latter days of the 1960s, began modifying Schwinn Stingray bicycles to imitate the motorcycle racing idols of the era.Their exploits were captured by documentarian Bruce Brown, who used the footage during the opening credits of his biking opus “On Any Sunday.” The film, nominated for a 1972 Oscar, is considered by critics the quintessential work of its kind, with Roger Ebert stating it did for bike racing “what ‘The Endless Summer’ did for surfing.”By the late 1970s, BMX racing had been sanctioned as a sport, with the first world championships held in 1982.Twenty years on, it was commissioned as an Olympic event.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953464","attributes":{"alt":"Kaitlyn Anfinson goes airborne after hitting a roller, a racing term for a hill. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE","class":"media-image","height":"480","title":"","width":"320"}}]]Kaitlyn knew none of this when she caught the bug. She just wanted to ride.“Some kids at school were talking about it,” she recalled. “I just went home and said ‘I want to try that’.”Thereafter, she joined Spicer-based club Green Lake BMX and swiftly blew the competition away.“I knew I was good when I started to beat the boys,” she said with a laugh. “ … and then they’d cry after. It was pretty funny.”On six occasions she won the American Bike Association’s state title in her class. And during those sparse meets when she wasn’t at her best, she rarely placed out of the top-three finishers. So vast was her trophy display, she began donating the awards back to the club.“Kaitlyn put her heart into this and never gave up,” said Jenni, a volunteer at the Spicer track, with many a front-row seat to Kaitlyn’s dominance. “Practicing all the time. … She’s given her all.”But now Kaitlyn’s at that proverbial crossroads.It has been a decade since she slung her sinewy leg over the frame of her first bike and the reality is life is catching up. While her adoration for the sport has waned little, adulthood beckons. Priorities are changing.  A year from now she’ll be college-bound, perhaps to another city, another state. She’s yet to iron out those constitutive details. But something has to give. It always does.
 [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953493","attributes":{"alt":"Jacob Onstad","class":"media-image","height":"257","title":"","width":"183"}}]]This year, she took a hiatus from competition for reasons she remains typically nonchalant.“I’m just taking time for me,” she often counters with a smile when asked if she’s quitting racing. “… doing some other fun things.”The sport is changing, too: memberships are slowly declining at tracks across the region, perhaps a byproduct of BMX freestyle, an extreme sport popularized by the exponential growth of the adrenaline-fueled X Games, and the increasing immersion into technological avenues for Generations Y and Z. Nobody really knows for sure.And Spicer’s no different, with participation noticeably down over years past.“I really don’t know why we’re seeing these kids quit,” Jenni said. “I think a lot of kids would like this sport because it’s an individual thing. With other sports, sometimes they are stuck on the bench waiting to play. With racing, no kid sits. Everyone races. Everyone participates, and the kids get to determine their own success.”There’s no talk of quitting for Jacob, though. He’s all in and says Kaitlyn’s racing legacy is of a caliber by which to model his own. He’s currently seventh out of 22 racers in his class, a mere nine points off the lead, with eight races scheduled until the season ends Oct. 9.“I want to rank among the top-five riders,” he said. “ … and then No. 1.”ABOUT GRREN LAKE BMXAnyone interested in BMX racing can call Green Lake BMX in Spicer at 320-796-4434, email greenlake_bmx@yahoo.com or visit www.greenlakebmx.com. The club’s track is located at 221 South St. W., just west of the Green Lake Baseball Diamonds off Highway 23.It’s overcast, the air thick and close, the friable track thirsting for the forecast rain.Kaitlyn Anfinson pulls into a nearby lot in a silver SUV and pops the trunk.A custom helmet, race gear and a 2013 Redline Flight Pro XL BMX are propped neatly in the back against the folded down seats. It’s a top-flight bike: a check online shows it retails for some $600 more than most of its counterparts and its frame is 4 pounds lighter, a feature designed for speed.Also on hand is Jacob Onstad, a 14-year-old racer from New London, and his mom, Jenni.Jacob has lofty goals: he wants to win a national championship, perhaps one day compete for a world title.Today, he’ll settle for a practice run with Kaitlyn.She’s squeezing in a quick ride before starting her shift at the campground store at Kandiyohi County Park 5 on the north shores of Green Lake. Her father is the manager there.As Kaitlyn slides into her gear, Jacob hits the track.Four laps later, he’s drenched with sweat and takes a momentary breather.The internal clock resets.The switch flips back.And he’s off again, Kaitlyn now at his side.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1953460","attributes":{"alt":"Jacob Onstad, right, and Kaitlyn Anfinson take a breather after completing laps at their local track. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE","class":"media-image","height":"807","title":"","width":"1137"}}]]She has a protracted and lean frame, pushing 6 feet. The bike seems weightless beneath her, jolting violently as she hits a jarring roller, varied hills positioned in clusters.There’s brio to the riders’ cadence, each subtle movement mirroring the next, lap after lap, neck and neck, hitting 25 mph on the straights.Jenni looks on, her eyes studying the two with an aptitude formed from innumerable hours at the races.As they complete another lap, Kaitlyn rests, removes her helmet and lets out a deep breath.She smiles.After all these years, the track still bewitches her.Her mastery of its floury corners and scheming angles has made boys sob with envy. Girls, too.Here, sheltered beyond the grove and tall grass weaving from Spicer’s main drag, this 17-year-old self-described tomboy is a name, a face, a box-office draw respected as one of the superior riders on the state’s BMX circuit.But for how long?Building a legacyAccording to the American Bicycle Association’s website, the birth of BMX racing is largely attributed to a group of southern Californian teens who, in the latter days of the 1960s, began modifying Schwinn Stingray bicycles to imitate the motorcycle racing idols of the era.Their exploits were captured by documentarian Bruce Brown, who used the footage during the opening credits of his biking opus “On Any Sunday.” The film, nominated for a 1972 Oscar, is considered by critics the quintessential work of its kind, with Roger Ebert stating it did for bike racing “what ‘The Endless Summer’ did for surfing.”By the late 1970s, BMX racing had been sanctioned as a sport, with the first world championships held in 1982.Twenty years on, it was commissioned as an Olympic event.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953464","attributes":{"alt":"Kaitlyn Anfinson goes airborne after hitting a roller, a racing term for a hill. DAN BURDETT | TRIBUNE","class":"media-image","height":"480","title":"","width":"320"}}]]Kaitlyn knew none of this when she caught the bug. She just wanted to ride.“Some kids at school were talking about it,” she recalled. “I just went home and said ‘I want to try that’.”Thereafter, she joined Spicer-based club Green Lake BMX and swiftly blew the competition away.“I knew I was good when I started to beat the boys,” she said with a laugh. “ … and then they’d cry after. It was pretty funny.”On six occasions she won the American Bike Association’s state title in her class. And during those sparse meets when she wasn’t at her best, she rarely placed out of the top-three finishers. So vast was her trophy display, she began donating the awards back to the club.“Kaitlyn put her heart into this and never gave up,” said Jenni, a volunteer at the Spicer track, with many a front-row seat to Kaitlyn’s dominance. “Practicing all the time. … She’s given her all.”But now Kaitlyn’s at that proverbial crossroads.It has been a decade since she slung her sinewy leg over the frame of her first bike and the reality is life is catching up. While her adoration for the sport has waned little, adulthood beckons. Priorities are changing.  A year from now she’ll be college-bound, perhaps to another city, another state. She’s yet to iron out those constitutive details. But something has to give. It always does.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1953477","attributes":{"alt":"Kaitlyn Anfinson","class":"media-image","height":"257","style":"font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 20.0063037872314px;","title":"","width":"183"}}]] 
This year, she took a hiatus from competition for reasons she remains typically nonchalant.“I’m just taking time for me,” she often counters with a smile when asked if she’s quitting racing. “… doing some other fun things.”The sport is changing, too: memberships are slowly declining at tracks across the region, perhaps a byproduct of BMX freestyle, an extreme sport popularized by the exponential growth of the adrenaline-fueled X Games, and the increasing immersion into technological avenues for Generations Y and Z. Nobody really knows for sure.And Spicer’s no different, with participation noticeably down over years past.“I really don’t know why we’re seeing these kids quit,” Jenni said. “I think a lot of kids would like this sport because it’s an individual thing. With other sports, sometimes they are stuck on the bench waiting to play. With racing, no kid sits. Everyone races. Everyone participates, and the kids get to determine their own success.”There’s no talk of quitting for Jacob, though. He’s all in and says Kaitlyn’s racing legacy is of a caliber by which to model his own. He’s currently seventh out of 22 racers in his class, a mere nine points off the lead, with eight races scheduled until the season ends Oct. 9.“I want to rank among the top-five riders,” he said. “ … and then No. 1.”ABOUT GRREN LAKE BMXAnyone interested in BMX racing can call Green Lake BMX in Spicer at 320-796-4434, email greenlake_bmx@yahoo.com or visit www.greenlakebmx.com. The club’s track is located at 221 South St. W., just west of the Green Lake Baseball Diamonds off Highway 23.

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