Alexis Alden was just 5 years old when she first pushed the petals around on a BMX bike and track.

Her dad, John Alden Sr., who carries a lengthy resume as a former Hollywood stuntman, was into Motocross racing at the time.

He was visiting his friend’s bike shop when he saw his first BMX bike.

“He gave us a few bikes to rent out, and we went out to our local track and started riding them, and I was like 5,” Alexis Alden, who is now one of the top-ranked female amateur BMX racers in the country, told the Fayette County News this week.

The McIntosh High School sophomore is flying out this week to Nantes, France to participate in the UCI BMX Racing World Championships.

“There were two qualifying races to go to, and we didn’t even qualify,” John Alden Sr. said. “She got picked by the USA organization itself, because she’s one of the top female amateurs in America. They had no 15-year-old, so they picked her. So, she is the only 15-year-old in America and the only Georgian going.”

Alexis Alden at a recent BMX race here in the States. She competes in France this week. Photo courtesy of John Alden Sr.

Worlds has always been a goal for Alexis, who was ranked an expert in BMX racing by the age of 7.

She said that every track in the 20-plus states she has raced has been different, and she is really looking forward to her first race outside of America.

“USA tracks are a little more mild compared to France or any other tracks in Europe,” she said. “I’m going to try very hard and accomplish to be World One, and I want to experience riding a track that is out of country, because tracks are completely different wherever you go… The track is super long, but I’m really excited, because I’ve never been out of the country for a race. I cannot wait.”

Alexis Alden in action during a recent race. Photo courtesy of John Alden Sr.

While racing is the primary reason for the trip, Alexis plans to soak up every minute of the Paris experience.

“I am going to be the biggest stereotypical tourist and buy like every cringy I’ve been to Paris shirt,” she said, beaming with excitement. “I’m going to try to pack light, and I’m going to waste all my money and spend it in France. I’m going to buy so many souvenirs.”

Alexis spent most of her early life in southern California, her dad’s home state, but the family moved to Peachtree City in 2019. The city does have a BMX track near McIntosh Trail, which allows them to train locally.

Prior to earning her spot at the French competition, Alexis has spent a great deal of time training and racing with her brother, John Alden Jr., who is also a student at McIntosh.

“There’s only three people in my high school who do BMX,” Alexis said. “It’s me, my brother and his friend.”

There was the typical sibling rivalry early on, she said, but racing has helped the two develop an unbreakable bond.

“Over the past few years, we’ve gotten so close, and we’re literally best friends,” she said. “And he helps me out on the track, especially on my skill. If I didn’t have a brother, if John wasn’t my brother, with how skilled he is, I don’t think I’d be here. I probably wouldn’t still be doing BMX.”

John Jr., a high-skilled  and ranked BMX champion himself, is not only Alexis’ biggest fan, but he has also become her mentor on the track.

“My brother is my coach,” she said. “Every time I ride, he always picks up on the little things.”

Another photo of Alexis Alden on the track. Photo courtesy of John Alden Sr.

The race schedule can be rigorous, especially during the school year, but Alexis said she would count down the school days to her next race just about every two weeks this past spring.

“I would obviously stay focused on school, but I was super excited about racing, and my friends would send me videos and going to new tracks is fun,” she said.

Even with the traveling, Alexis still found time for one more sport, track & field, which she also excelled at.

“Track is super fun,” she said. “I didn’t know I was that good at sprinting. I made varsity my first year for freshman (year) for the 4×100 sprinting team.”

Alexis Alden will fulfill a dream this week competing at the BMX World Championships in France. Photo courtesy of John Alden Sr.

An injury would sideline her late in the season this spring, but she is looking forward to running again, although she jokes that she had more injuries on the running track than she has had on the BMX track.

Great BMX racers are often called “smooth” riders by their peers.

Alexis will take her smooth racing skills international this week and next.

The competition will be streamed live and on-demand. Those interested in following Alexis and the rest of the races can visit https://bmxworlds2022.com/ for more information.