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By Thomas J. Sullivan–
Citrus Heights fourth-grader Annalyse Solano hasn’t lost track of all the races that she’s competed in, but realizes that as a youngster she’s earned a lot of frequent flyer miles travelling to competitions all across the United States in the past few years.
“The first race I entered, I was about four years old,” the 9-year-old told The Sentinel in a recent interview.
Her proud father, Rigoberto, is a Citrus Heights legend in U.S. Bicycle Association motocross (BMX) racing circles. Annalyse has followed in her older brother Rigo Jr.’s pedals and is currently number one in the district, regional and national’s among 9-year-old girls. On Feb. 23, Annalyse secured her spot in the 2019 UCI World Championships at the USA BMX Gator Nationals in Florida.
She’s now qualified to compete in the 2019 UCI BMX World Championships in Heusen-Zolder, Belgium from July 23-27 as part of the United States team — a step towards Olympic qualification.
When she’s not riding her bicycle, or training, young Annalyse says her favorite sport to play is basketball. There’s a hoop out in the backyard as well as a practice starting gate where she trains with her bicycle between events.
“My favorite subject in school is math,” she said. “My teachers work with me so I’m able to complete my school assignments between races.”
She had several hours worth of homework the evening of The Sentinel’s interview in addition to a school report being due, she said. She later posed with a national trophy she won that was taller than she is.
The freckle-faced Annalyse remembered riding her first bicycle with training wheels four or five times before graduating to a racing bike. She now trains regularly at the Elkhorn BMX track in Rio Linda.
What’s the best part of competitive BMX bicycle racing? “Going fast,” she says.
Annalyse said she’s thinking about being a pilot or a police officer one day.
The Solano Family has cast a long net of dominance over both the local and national circuit of competitive BMX Racing. The trio of racers, consisting of Rigo Solano Sr., Rigo Solano Jr., and Annalyse Solano, boast impressive accomplishments that include each of them individually holding current Top 5 State Rankings, and multiple Western Conference and USA Championships.
In 2017, Rigo Sr. entered as the #1 ranked rider in California in the 28-to-35 year-old age group. He won two out of the last three Gold Cup Championships and has been a dominant figure on the Western Conference circuit. Rigo Jr., his son, was ranked #1 on the West Coast circuit and #4 in the state.
His daughter is now a national known rider who has earned a #29 National ranking, #1 in her age group, #1 Gold Cup ranking, #2 State ranking, and has an optimistic outlook on competing in the summer Olympics in the future, according to the family.
The father and daughter were headed to the Duke City BMX Spring Nationals in Albuquerque, New Mexico on March 15-17.
Rigoberto said his daughter’s success is a product of much hard work and a strong competitive drive. He believes she has many more years of competition ahead of her and has only begun to realize her potential in the sport.
The cost to compete continues to increase, he said. Current sponsors include Alpha Factory, Rockwell, GoPro, Fly Racing, and others.
The family has also set up a Paypal fund to help offset the cost of Annalyse’s travels to racing events. The cost of just one of her two competitive bicycles made by the Alpha Bicycle Company is over $2,000. Donations to help offset her travel costs can be made at www.paypal.me/Solanofamilybmx.
What’s BMX bicycle racing taught her?
“Never give up,” she says proudly. “I’m in it to win it.”
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