When a teenager reaches that precious age of 16, many milestones await: Getting a driver’s license, buying a car, landing that first job. However, for most teenagers, their first job does not involve traveling the world or racing bikes.
For Dominique Daniels, this is the story of her adolescence.
Dominique got her start after she and her Dad drove past a BMX shop and stopped in to check it out. That’s when inspiration was born.
“So we went to Wal-Mart and got a small, cheap Huffy bike and headed back to start riding. It was a coincidence that I got started: it was pure curiosity and perfect timing.”
Also, the uniqueness of BMX helped draw Dominique in when she started out in the sport.
“In comparison to other sports, BMX seemed a lot more fun. I get to travel all over the world because of it. I get to meet great people racing from all over, and in BMX you develop friendships that last lifetimes,” Dominique said.
“Once you get involved, it literally becomes a part of not only you but your whole family. This sport becomes an adventure of a lifetime, and there are really not that many downsides to it,” she said.
“That’s why I enjoy BMX, because the things you experience here are just incredibly memorable.”
Since Dominique got started five years ago, she has developed and grown so remarkably within the sport of BMX racing that she now races extensively.
“As I have ascended into the BMX ranks, I have turned pro,” Dominique said. “It has not become necessary for me to race locally anymore. I do ride at local tracks still, though. But in order to earn points in racing, I need to race BMX Nationals, which take place almost every two weeks at other tracks around the U.S. ”
As Dominique’s talent grew, she relates, she knew that pure skill and talent aren’t always enough to win on the national level, and so she trains hard to help ensure that she remains one of the best.
“I work out at Fast Athlete in Tempe , which helps make me a quicker rider. It has helped in a way of combining an endurance workout with a pressurized weight protocol,” Dominique said.
“It helps because I can easily calculate my improvements and see my progress. It is a great working-out environment, and the people that train me are wonderful.”
She says she also runs morning and evening if possible and goes to BMX training in her spare time, which is usually in the afternoon or later on at night at least three or four days a week.
Not many girls are into BMX racing, which Dominique insists doesn’t worry her.
“When it comes to girls being involved, we have a small ratio in comparison to the boys; I would say locally it’s about one BMX girl for every 12 boys,” Dominique said.
“That is not a bad thing; it’s just not a popular sport for girls. But the girls who do get involved and stay in it usually grow up being recognized because they stand out more over than the males in the sport.”
Dominique says she has been privileged to compete in international competition and recently raced in Copenhagen , Denmark . Not only did she gain the experience of a different racing style but of the culture as well.
“International races like Copenhagen I enjoy because I got a good look at what life is like in other places and how BMX varies in other parts of the world. ”
“In the European Circuit, BMX is more technical, whereas the circuit in the U.S. is more power-based. Their tracks require more jumping and managing power, and here in America we have more tracks where whoever is strongest gets first place. It’s different (in other countries) because theirs are called supercross races,” Dominique said.
“They involve more skill than power. A rider has to jump in order to make it around the track, and a rider also has to be able to be smooth throughout the track. I liked racing there because it was a new experience to meet other riders from other countries.”
“Also, it was different because there are no novices or intermediate riders. Only experts and elite riders compete there.”
With national and international experience under her belt, the sky is the limit for this high school senior-to-be.
She would love to make it eventually to the Junior Olympics, an achievement she says would be a testament to how far she’s come and a milestone toward reaching the next challenge.
“That would be my ultimate goal: to represent my country in the Olympics.”