#MIKidsCan Champion of the Month: Maddy Frank
Can you imagine completing a 30-mile bike race before you can even drive?
Maddy Frank, 15, of Grand Rapids, found her passion in mountain biking at a young age and is now one of Michigan’s competitive cyclists.
“My dad grew up doing BMX,” she said. “After college he found the Freewheeler Racing team, a bike team where all the cycling disciplines were welcomed. He met so many people we still know today – people I grew up with.”
Maddy began BMX racing with her dad and his group of cycling friends at six years old. At 10, she participated in her first-ever cyclocross race, an obstacle-filled course where the atmosphere is charged with excitement.
A couple years later, she was competing in triathlons, criteriums, fat biking races and duathlons.
“My races can range from 15 miles to even 40 miles. It’s a huge challenge but I absolutely love the feeling when you cross the finish line that you did it. My body was able to accomplish that.”
She soon found mountain biking, and immediately fell in love with it. According to Maddy, one of the things that makes mountain biking so exciting is that races are hosted in any weather condition.
“If it’s rainy, muddy, snowy, sleeting, sunny or 100 degrees out, you’re still going to race” she said. “It doesn’t matter what conditions you’re in, and I think it’s really fun to race in challenging weather.”
She spent most of 2015 on wheels – participating in numerous races across the state. A highlight for Maddy was placing first in her age group (15 – 16) and sixth overall in the 18 and under category of the Iceman Cometh Challenge, a 30-mile mountain bike race from Kalkaska to Traverse City.
“I put everything on the line, whether it was attacks on the last hill or training hours on end,” she said. “But that’s what draws me in to this sport – the hard work, the dedication and the grit of what it takes to be a mountain biker.”
It all paid off when she was asked to join her dad’s Freewheeler Racing team – a group that she says is “family.”
“This is the best team I have ever been on, they are so supportive. I think it’s really important to have that family aspect of a team,” she said.
Maddy hopes to be an inspiration and encourage everyone to pursue what they’re passionate about. Her advice for young athletes?
- Find something you’re passionate about.
- Push for a healthy lifestyle.
- Don’t be afraid to be different.
“Growing up in elementary, middle and high school it was hard to relate to a lot of people because I didn’t know anyone else who rode a bike like I did, or anyone who did BMX,” she said. “But having your own unique thing about you is extremely important as a person. If you have something you’re passionate about, let other people know about it. Being different is a good thing. ”
Maddys mountain biking passion is supported through Freewheeler Bike Shop, Velocity USA, Infinit Nutrition and Pivot Cycles.