Written by Brittany Vickers, editorial intern
Although it's not quite a mainstream event yet, off-road dirt bike racing is gaining more and more momentum in the world of sports. Women riders are storming events like EnduroCross and Moto X in Los Angeles, bringing in big sponsors and major successes in a male-driven realm. We chatted with 2011's Summer X Games EnduroCross gold medalist Maria Forsberg to learn more about her triumphs and what podium she plans to stand on next.
How long have you been riding for? Since I was four. It was really cool growing up in the sport, being a young girl who had an opportunity to ride a motorcycle.
What are some of the most important things you've learned growing up on the bike? I learned that it takes a team to do what I do, and I'm so thankful for everyone's help. Oh, and I always try to keep up with the boys!
What keeps you going and pushes you to succeed in riding? I love to ride more than anything else I've done. I want to be a role model for women. I would love to see more young girls get into motocross; if I inspire them to do that, then I couldn't be happier. It'd be really fun to spend the summer training local youth on the basics of riding, just getting more girls involved in the sport.
How does being fit help? My bike weighs over 200 pounds and I didn't always have as much upper body strength as some of the men. That's something I've really had to work on. And I'm constantly using different muscles to navigate the course. Fitness plays a huge role in success on the bike.
What's your typical workout routine like? I take CrossFit classes five days a week. I went to a class with a friend and totally fell in love. It's a lot of sprint training and you're pretty much going the whole time. It's like EnduroCross; there really isn't any time to rest. You're almost always going over an obstacle.
Do you have a go-to move you love to do? Thrusters are my favorite move. You do a full squat while holding dumbbells, then come back up and push up into a full military press. It works your legs, glutes and whole back, then adds on your shoulders with the press.
So how is EnduroCross different from other motocross races? EnduroCross tracks have jumps like other motocross races, but then there are "trail" obstacles in between each jump. Rock sections and wooden parts are littered throughout the path, kind of resembling fallen trees. You never get a chance to catch your breath!
That sounds intense. What's next on your race calendar? I'm prepping for the Los Angeles X Games, which are from June 28 to July 1. But I'm racing every weekend up until then.
As reigning champ, how do you feel going into it? I'd be really happy with another gold medal! But I'm hoping for a top three, podium-worthy finish this year. There are a lot of girls in the race this year that I know have been working hard. It's great to see so many women joining the ranks, but it certainly makes the competition tougher!
Now you tell us: If you could participate in any sport, what would it be?