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BMX races offer rewarding ride

Adam Wilzinski's most cherished moments are those spent among the hills, valleys, dips and turns at the Walter Fuller BMX Park.

That's because once Wilzinski is on a bike, he's the one in control.

"Winning by myself. That's what it's all about," said Wilzinski, returning from a golf lesson and resting before a Little League baseball game on Tuesday. "I've been involved in team sports since I was 5, and it's okay. But there's nothing like going out on the track and being in control, making your own decisions."

Wilzinski, an 11-year-old honor student who will attend Seminole Middle School next fall, has been making all the right moves since becoming involved in Bicycle Motocross racing 3{ years ago.

"When my friend introduced it to me, I thought, hey, here's something I could do alone and feel pretty good about," Wilzinski said. "I figured I could go out and win and do it all by myself."

Wilzinski plays soccer in the winter. During baseball season, he is playing for the Landata's majors-division team, which entered Tuesday night with 43 consecutive victories. He is winning with the same frequency on the track.

In his age group each year, Wilzinski has won three successive state championships against thousands of children who qualified for the tournaments. The first two years, Wilzinski won in the 20-inch BMX category. Last year, he captured titles in the 20-inch and cruiser (24-inch) division.

From January through May, Wilzinski practices and trains at Walter Fuller BMX Park two nights a week and races on Saturdays. He also travels to Sarasota's BMX racing site on Fridays to race.

Wilzinski's skill on the BMX course has vaulted him into the national spotlight. He placed sixth at the Grand Nationals last year in Louisville, Ky. Wilzinski has higher hopes for the nationals beginning July 16 in Akron, Ohio.

But Wilzinski and his parents won't stop there. They will travel throughout the country during the summer to participate in meets.

"I want to be a professional racer," said Wilzinski, who competes in about 16 races in two days of competition at each of his various meets. "I feel real good about myself when I go out on the track and take first place."

Among his most recent feats: After falling out of the gate at a state meet, he pedaled from ninth place to first place, winning on the jump just before the finish.

"It's you on the track, and you're after an individual accomplishment," said Wilzinski, who also wants to race mountain bikes. "It's like you're climbing, racing against the clock, and no one can stop you except you. You have to pull through. It's you at the top of the hill."