Name: Olivia Armstrong
Hometown: Bend, Oregon
Race Category: 15-16 girls/ girls cruiser
– Three time NAG 1 girl cruiser
– Two time girl cruiser National title
– World 1 and 2 16 and under girl cruiser
– NAG 3,1,3 girls
– National 23 girls
– World 3 and 1 girls
Bay Area Bmxers
BMXOR: First I would like to say congratulations on your World Championship win.
OA: Thank you!
BMXOR: How did you first get started on two wheels?
OA: When I was born, my family had started going out to the track. My brother had started really enjoying the sport. So I basically grew up at the track. Once I was big enough to get on a bike I did. I started riding a bike around 3 years old. I finally got on the track around 4 and was racing at 5. I fell in love with the sport and have been riding ever since.
BMXOR: What are your best memories of your first years racing BMX?
OA: Some of the best memories of the first years racing would have to be just going out to one of the local tracks every night and riding. Taking it back to just going out and riding for fun. Out at the local track(s) it is just a huge family. Growing up and having the support of my BMX family is amazing.
BMXOR: Is there any one rider you would consider to be your mentor & why?
OA: The one rider that I would consider my mentor would be my brother. I basically started racing because of him. I always wanted to be as good as my big brother, doing everything he would do. I can say that he is my mentor and role model for BMX and my life.
BMXOR: When it comes to racing what kind of personality are you? Aggressive, calculated, stress case, etc. etc.
OA: When it comes to competitive racing my personality is calm and relaxed, but no doubt there are always nerves. It just depends on how well I hide them at that race. Don’t get me wrong I am mostly calm and collected at races but on the track I am aggressive and up for a race.
BMXOR: What did an average training week/day look like leading up to the UCI world Championships.
OA: The days leading up to the worlds I had many things to juggle. I had school, working, and training. During the week days I would be at the track 4 out of 5 days. I would be at the gym 3 out of 5 days. I also was taking a class in school called Athletic conditioning, so that was a challenging workout every school day.
BMXOR: How do you figure out what your ride/rest strategy is going to be before a big race?
OA: The way that I figure out what rest and when to take it before big races is just simply listening to my body. Depending how tired my muscles are, or depending on how my performance was on my last workout of track session. I believe that rest is just as important as the workout that you put in.
OA: I am currently a Varsity volleyball player for my high school. Having the balance of playing two sports helps me a lot with not getting burnt out. Another thing that I try to remember if I am starting to get burnt out. I just to go ride and have some fun. Thats why you should ride, to have fun. The key is to balance the fun with the competitive racing side.
BMXOR: What was the biggest obstacle(s) to you achieving your World Championship dreams? How did you overcome those obstacle(s)?
OA: The number one obstacle for me was the mental block. This has to be at least 60 percent of my race. At the level of Worlds everyone in the main event gate has put in the work and is physically ready. The thing that seperates first from 2nd is the mental step. You know if you are going to win the race before you even get in the gate. The way that I overcame this obstacle was facing me and what I needed to get done to be prepared. I knew if I believed I could do it, I would do it.
BMXOR: How did it feel to become UCI World Champion? What emotions did you go through?
OA: Becoming the World Champion was one of the best feeling ever. From the prior year, coming unclipped and getting Third place, I had set my goals to win. Doing everything I could to get ready to take redemption of the title. My main emotion was pure happiness. I was very proud of how my team mates and I represented the USA.
BMXOR: How did the emotions of being UCI World Champion differ from when you became USA BMX National Champion.
OA: The emotions of winning worlds are different because I was in a different country. Only having a small group of people to celebrate my victory with. Winning the national championships, being in the US there are many more people that I know. The entire atmosphere is a lot different. There is still the pure feeling of accomplishing your goals.
OA: After winning my first National title people told me that I needed to go to worlds. I honestly thought that they were crazy and that I was no way even ready for that. After racing rounds at worlds I was kind of surprised by how well I was doing. At that time, winning every lap of that day, I started to realize that I could very well be the world champion. A funny thing happened after I won the title. The feelings I was having felt so unreal that the next morning, I woke up and asked my parents if I did really win. I questioned myself if I was just dreaming. My parents assured me that is was real and I was the world champion!
BMXOR: What was it like experiencing this accomplishment along with your fellow countryman & Oregonian Josh Baneulos?
OA: Having been one out of two US riders to win in 2015 this was a bit of a change. Although a good change. Being able to bring back home two world number 1 plates for Oregon is amazing. We both went to do our best and represent our country and we did! My family and I traveled with Josh and his family, it was an amazing experience all the way around. Being able to get to know Josh both on and off the track.
OA: Yes I will be attending this race, I will start focusing on this race as soon as grands is over. I like to think of one race at a time, set small goals to help reach the big ones. Each national I go to will be another stepping stone towards defending my world title.
BMXOR: This year Rock Hill had a USA BMX National in April. Assuming next year they have a national around the same time. Do you think you will fly back to ride the track before the World Championships the week of July 25th?
OA: Yes I am hoping to go. That would be a good way to get myself even more prepared for the race. I have heard it is not very technical but it will be good to dial in the track before all of the other countrys.
BMXOR: What local racers do/did you look up to as you came up the ranks?
OA: The one person that I saw as a national rider, the person that taught me the ropes of the nationals was Adam Treadwell. Coming from only doing state and local races I had a lot to learn if I wanted to race at grands and compete for a NAG plate. I give a lot of credit to him for getting me into the national scene.
OA: My goals for the end of the season are to win on both bikes at grands. If I win the main on class I will most likely be national number 1 for girls. I will be training hard for the end of the season!
BMXOR: What do you think needs to happen to build this sport? Especially among young girls.
OA: The main thing that needs to happen to help build BMX among young girls is to promote it that it is not just a boys sport. Most girls that I have talked to had no idea what BMX was and that they could ride. Promoting that they can come try it at the local track. Another big thing is to have older girls there to help them. If a girl sees an older girl riding they might feel more comfortable and want to pursue the sport.
OA: The best advice that I could give to new parents would be not to force their kids to do anything they don’t want to do. If this is not their sport or they are getting burnt out don’t force it. This sport is to have fun and ride bikes. I have seen a lot of parents get mad and frustrated over their child not doing well in their race. Always remember to have fun, but always want the win.
BMXOR: Local BMXer name association. Use one word to describe them.
• Josh Banuelos – Respected (hero)
• Ken Pliska – Brave
• Bethany Price – Passionate
• Adam Treadwell – Intelligent
• Josh Trerise – Ambitious
• Taylor Stephens – Saucy
• Olivia Armstrong – Determined
• Danny Garcher – Ambassador
BMXOR: One last question. Why do dogs eat grass? If you knew the reason and it would help you race faster. Would you do it? 😉
OA: I have no idea why dogs eat grass, but if it was something healthy and it made me race faster why not! I would eat it!
BMXOR: Thanks for doing this interview. Any shout outs to friends, family, or sponsors?
OA: I would first off like to thank my mother and father for everything that they do. Second I would like to thank all of my sponsors and team for all of there continuous support, I would not be able to do what I love without their support! And last I would like to thank my best friend Isabella Valdez for always being there for me, even though I am gone majority of the time.
Fork: Pro Tangent forks
Rims: Answer Pinnacle
Hub Front: Stealth Pro
Hub Rear: Stealth Pro
Front Tire: 1.5 Maxis
Rear Tire: 1.5 Maxis
Cranks: Crupi Rhythm
Brake Lever: Answer
Chainring Brand/Size: Tangent 43
Rear Cassette Size: 15