Women's Wednesday: Chatting with WXC
We love getting to hear the inside scoop from the best female athletes in our sport. With the level that women's racing is at today, it takes a lot of hard work, effort, sacrifice, and will power to push for a WXC Bike or ATV win. This week we asked a few of the top GNCC WXC racers, "what drives you to be at the top and pour yourself into having a shot at the center spot on the podium?" Here's what they had to say!
Jessica Elioff - 2023 WXC ATV Points Leader - photo courtesy of Jessica's Instagram
What drives me is I love being in shape and pushing myself to the limit sometimes. I like a good challenge, and I like to prove that women are capable of doing anything. I was told growing up you can do anything you put your mind towards and I use that a lot in my life. Being on the podium is tough, but being in the center is so rewarding. It takes extra effort and willpower when you are tired to get up and keep pushing and training.
Korie Steede - Multi-time WXC Bike race winner, ISDE individual 2nd, Loretta Lynns podiums - photo courtesy of Korie's Instagam
This is all I know! I’ve been training my entire life to have a career in the sport I’m passionate about and I was just lucky enough to get some amazing opportunities to showcase myself & what I’m made of. I’ve spent so much of my life trying to be better & that’s honestly what keeps driving me forward. I know I can only get better every day I spend grinding! The bad days are worth it when you’re standing in the center of the podium!
Traci Pickens - 12X WXC ATV Champion - photo courtesy of Traci
I have this never quit mindset , my husband would say I’m hardheaded. Neither are bad traits to have. These traits plus the LOVE of racing …that’s what drives me.
Becca Sheets - 3X WXC Bike Champion, ISDE Team USA Champion - photo courtesy of Becca's Instagram
Honestly, growing up in the motocross world, I saw legends like Tarah Gieger and Sarah Whitmore and JP$ getting recognized in magazines and moto films. I just wanted that. I wanted to be known as a fast lady in the male dominated sport. I wanted to be in magazines and I wanted to make money doing it. I never knew the sacrifices, selfishness, and hard work that it would require. I just knew I wanted it and was willing to work for it.
In 2015 I was able to get my first GNCC win against Kacy Martinez who had been dominating the WXC class for some time. The following year, I upped my training and got better riding buddies to help me get faster and I was able to win the championship in 2016….I was simply fueled by anger and selfishness and a need to prove myself.
That mindset stayed with me for many years after. I felt like I deserved more! As I matured in age my outlook was different but ultimately, I still wanted to be the best. I started to be thankful for everything I had received as I was nearing the end of my career. I knew that my time was running out, and I just wanted to win one last championship. Having a more thankful mindset thanks to meeting up with Jesus Christ and those around me, the wins actually came easier. I was less distracted outside of racing.
It was hard to run workouts and long days of riding without hate in my heart to fuel me!! It was what I was used to. The fuel then simply became the gas in my tank and the same simple desire to be the best at what I was doing.
Racing is such a mentally tough and selfish sport. All the ups and downs, It’s hard. I think every champion of the sport has different things that fuel them in different years, but the need or desire to win remains the same.
Hannah Hunter - 2X WXC ATV Champion - photo courtesy of Hannahs Instagram
The feeling of accomplishment that comes with it after all the hard work that’s put into it. The adrenaline after a hard weeks worth of work to pay for my dream to come true. And definitely all the little kids at the podiums who look up to us because they are the future!!
Tayla Jones - 3X WXC Bike Champion, 6X ISDE Team Australia Champion - photo courtesy of Tayla's Instagram
What drives me to be at the top is the want to be better but also the fun. I love racing and i believe it’s the best sport in the world! Knowing each day I can do something to make me better at it, I’m going to do all that I can. Some days are harder than others but just taking a step back and realizing what it took to get here and why I love this sport so much, pushes me even harder. I have given up a lot for this sport and it is all worth it until I stop having fun with it. If I stop pushing myself to be better than yesterday or if I don’t enjoy what I’m doing, the sacrifices throughout the rest of my life wouldn’t seem worth it. I'm driven to prove to myself that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
Kate Osburn - Multi-time WXC ATV race winner - photo by Ken Hill
Honestly my situation is different from most I have a full time job and maintain my own machine. Time is spent wisely. Going into each race I know I’m mentally and physically ready to fight for the win because I know I train twice as hard as other competitors to be there. Everyone has their own story but for me its pushing myself to be the best version of myself. I don’t get excited on what I think the outcome will be or what has happened in the past. I stay in the present moment and trust my ability to get the top spot. Every race I try to come away with learning something new to add to my program to become better. Confidence in knowing I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to become a stronger athlete.
Rachael Archer - 2022 WXC Bike Champion - photo courtesy of Rachael's Instagram
I feel a lot more pressure this year having the number 1 plate , winning is really addictive to me and the rush you get when you cross the line first knowing you gave it your all is indescribable , every time I line up I’m lining up to win not just for me but for my team, there’s more than a dozen people out there on the track making sure I have the best race possible, so I hate to let them down! I always give 100%. My pay check relies on my results so obviously I want to make as much money possible and the only way to do that is to win!
Some days are harder than others , there’s days you don’t want to see a bike or workout but I always try to remind myself of 12 year old Rachael dreaming of living the life I live now and that always motivates me to go harder.
Chloe Harper - 2023 WXC rookie and podium finisher - photo courtesy of Chloe's Instagram
The things that drives me to race is one definitely my parents. They have always pushed me to be my best and try my hardest. I have been racing since I was three and they have always made sure I was trying my hardest even when I didn’t want to. Another thing that drives me is my passion to win. I want to win against all these amazing women. It is my first year in WXC and I’m competing against the best of the best. So my passion to win has always pushed my to try my hardest and to train and eat right to improve myself to be able to win. I know I am the 2023 rookie but I still strive to win and try my hardest. So I would have to say my parents and myself is what drives me to win. The last thing that drives me to win is being a role model for all the kids. The micro and youth racers are the future of this sport. I want to be able to show the kids the level of support and kindness that they show me.
My drive is to show kids that anything is possible. I want to be that person all kids can look up to. So when I think about it, my parents pushing me to try my hardest, my passion to win, and trying my hardest to be a role model for all the little kids to look up to all drives me to want to be of the center of the podium.
Rachel Gutish - 12 year WXC Racer, 5X TKO Women's Champion, X-Games Bronze Medalist - photo courtesy of Rachel's Instagram
I’ve always been competitive, ever since I was a little kid. A lot of people misunderstand what I mean by that - they assume I always wanted to win at everything, when really it’s the actual act of competing that I enjoy, more so than the actual winning part. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather win than lose, but I even love competitions that I’m truly awful at (game of cornhole, anyone?).
What drives me to win is my desire to keep racing and keep competing. When fall too far off pace, you lose sponsors, lose credibility and before you know it you’ve been washed right out of the sport. I love what I’m doing, so I want to keep doing it as long as possible. That’s what motivates me.