ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Duke City BMX is a renowned facility in the country for its track layout and caliber of riders. This year, nine riders — Danica Appenzeller, Dylan Ramos, Aaliyah Valencia, Waiela Gallegos, Mya Ramos, Cruz Gallegos, Harper Vescuso and Mattox Vescuso — will represent the track, New Mexico, and Team USA in Scotland at the UCI Cycling World Championships.
The riders are among the best in the country and have already won multiple awards domestically this year. Danica Appenzeller, 12, has continued to compete at a high level following her second-place finish at Worlds in 2022 and is looking to bring momentum to Scotland.
“I’ve won a couple [of] nationals on both of my bikes. I think it’s going pretty well,” Appenzeller said. “Yeah, there’s a lot of pressure. I’m hoping to make it to the main event and get, at least, podium.”
The world championships encompass nearly every form of cycling on multiple terrains with different age groups, so the competition is spread out over a two-week period. It is a lengthy process for the riders, so they are glad to go together and have a strong support group.
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In some categories, the number of competitors approaches 100, and it can be a gauntlet to reach the finals. Despite the high level of competition from around the world, there are expectations for the New Mexican crew to do well, as the track at Duke City BMX trains riders well for what they are about to see.
“I think our track is a lot different than tracks [in the US] because we’re like a very technical track,” said Valencia. “So, that prepares us for more European style tracks, and that’s what they tried to do when they rebuilt it. That way, it prepares the riders for that kind of thing.”
“The first straight is identical to this one here,” said Gallegos. “Last week, all we did was these straights, so I should have it down by next week.”
While anything can happen at the competition, the riders remain confident in their skills and hope to make the land of Enchantment proud.
“Just expecting all of us to have a good time and hopefully all of us bring home a world plate,” said Valencia.