Pedal power

Once set on following in his family’s footsteps as a motorcross racer, Alden Volle of Penryn has found his own niche as a BMX champion
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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Who needs a motor to go fast on two wheels? Certainly not Alden Volle. The 12-year-old from Penryn seems to generate plenty of speed with just his two legs to provide all the power he needs. Volle (pronounced “VOH-lay”) captured two bicycle motorcross (BMX) titles in two classes at the BMX World Championships May 28-June 2 in Taiyuan, China. The Forest Lake Christian School sixth-grader-to-be spends most of his weekends crisscrossing the United States with his parents to maintain the high profile he’s achieved in his sport. “He races for two different national teams four or five weekends in a row, all over the country,” said Volle’s mom, Teri. “Oklahoma, Florida, Phoenix, Southern California, Ohio, Chicago, Albuquerque. It depends on where his team needs him. He goes.” This weekend, for once, Volle won’t have to go very far. He’ll be competing Friday through Sunday at the ABA Summer Nationals at Oak Creek BMX in Roseville. “It’s awesome — I get to sleep in my own bed,” Volle said of being able to compete locally. “I always get a better night’s sleep there.” The “B” in “BMX” wasn’t always part of Volle’s sports ambitions. He initially wanted to follow his father and brother into actual motorcross racing. “My dad said, ‘Not till you learn how to ride a bike,’” Volle said. “Almost as soon as we took the training wheels off, I was jumping curbs, doing wheelies and stuff. “One day we were going to a motorcross race and I saw a BMX track. I said, ‘Oh, I want to do that,’ and I begged (my parents) to buy me a bike.” Volle finished fifth in his first BMX race. “As soon as I started riding, people were telling me, ‘Oh, you’re so natural,’” he said. “That’s when I thought I could take this father than I planned.” It’s been a smooth ride since then. At the BMX Worlds in China, Volle won championships in the Challenge 12 Boys class, which involves bikes with 20-inch wheels, and the Challenge Cruiser class, in which bikes have 24-inch wheels. His individual point total was good enough to earn him a spot among the United States’ top four performers. Those performers’ combined point total gave Team USA the National Team crown. One of Volle’s primary sponsors, Dan’s Competition, came away with a Trade Team championship thanks to Volle’s efforts. The Boys 12 title was Volle’s second. He won in the same class last year at the BMX Worlds in Victoria, British Columbia. Volle said the world championships he won in China were even more special than the first one in Canada. “There’s always a big target on my back,” he said. “Everybody really aims for me. It’s tough to keep (a world title). “Winning (in China) makes me feel a lot more sure about what I did in Canada. It means I can do it again.” In seven years of racing, Volle has won 140 national races, by his mother’s estimation. According to the American Bicycle Association’s Web site, , Volle was ranked fourth nationally in the Cruiser class and 14th among Boys riders as of June 22. Traveling around the country to compete in high-level BMX races can take its toll, Volle said. “Homework’s always my first priority,” he said. “When I finish my homework, it’s right onto the track. “Every weekend I have homework, and I have to finish that on the plane, so it’s pretty hard.” Volle has bicycles that he brings with him wherever he travels. According to his mother Teri, the bikes are disassembled, put in bags, checked onto planes as luggage and then reassembled once Volle gets to the track. “He’s getting to the point where he can put the bikes together himself,” Teri said. “(But) my husband (Ron) and I usually put them together for him.” Volle has to be 16 to turn pro, and while that’s four years away, he has no plans to go pro immediately. Since BMX racing is now an Olympic sport, his immediate goal is to compete in the 2012 Summer Games in London. “I always thought that to be able to go another country and compete internationally, how exciting that would be,” he said. Now that he’s found success as a BMX rider, Volle has no immediate plans to trade it all to give motorcross a try, despite what his father once promised. “I always like to try new things and learn more stuff,” Volle said. “But for now, I think I’ll stick with BMX. I’ve spent a lot of time working on it.”