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Yemi Adesanya: BMX Champion

Sometimes chasing your dreams means going down a long road, but for Yemi Adesanya, it meant going down a dusty, hilly, winding path. Adesanya's dream has always been to compete as a BMX racer.

The systems software developer first got hooked on BMX—short for bicycle moto-cross, the sport of racing a bike over an obstacle-laden dirt track—as a kid growing up in London. But with most BMX tracks located in the suburbs, Adesanya's own experience with the sport was largely limited to practicing jumps and other maneuvers on the street with friends. "I was a city kid, so I never had the opportunity to get into it seriously," he said.

Nonetheless, Adesanya's passion for BMX racing and an itch to compete stuck with him throughout the years. As he began to push into his 30s, however, he wondered if his chance to ride competitively had come and gone. Those doubts quickly vanished when he attended a bike race in Livermore in 2004, and found himself talking with some of the older racers. "They were very encouraging and told me I wouldn't be out of place if I tried racing," he said.

That was all the convincing Adesanya needed. Within a month, he bought a used BMX bike and began practicing and competing in local races. He continually worked at refining his techniques, including jumping obstacles, riding on one wheel, and passing opponents on the turns.

Then, in October of this year, Adesanya entered his first state competition, the National Bicycle League 2006 California State Championship. "I had to overcome a lot of nerves and adrenaline, but I felt I needed to do it," he said. Indeed, his drive and determination paid off: Adesanya placed first in his class. "It meant a lot to me," he said of the win. "I finally put years of regret to rest."

As satisfying as his achievement was, however, it seems it's just the beginning for Adesanya. In November, the new state champ competed in his first national race in Las Vegas—and once again took first place. "It's trouble," he said with a smile and a gleam of biking hunger in his eyes. "It's not going to end with just one national."

—Jennifer Yauck
    SLAC Today, December 13, 2006

Above image: Yemi Adensanya at the National Bicycle League 2006 California State Championship, where he took first place in his class. (Image courtesy of Flip's Photos. Click on image for larger version.)