Kacy hits the dirt at X Games
Tractor tires, logs, water pits don't stop Sunol native from winning the bronze
Kacy Martinez, a 21-year-old Sunol native, said her motocross riding community was excited when they first heard rumors of an EnduroCross race being part of the X Games for 2011.
"The riding community got pretty pumped about it. Then they announced the list and there was a women's cross, too," Kacy said.
Shortly afterward she heard that she was getting invited, beginning her path to a bronze medal victory at her first ever X Games competition.
It all began many years ago when her father, Mark Martinez, went out riding dirt bikes with his friends and returned home to his family eager to share his new thrilling adventure.
"He came back and started looking online to get us bikes. It then just became a family sport," Kacy said.
She hopped onto her bike at the age of 8, unaware that she would begin competing in dirt bike racing -- motocross -- four years later.
"We went out to our local tracks, did some family riding, and camped in Hollister Hills in Hollister, Calif.," Kacy said. "Then we found out that there was a race, the Hollister Nationals. So I did the Nationals. And then we found out, 'Oh! There's a whole series they're a part of.' So I started doing the District Six Series."
High school became stressful as she kept riding and racing, so halfway into her junior year she began independent studying. Thus, she was able to become heavily involved with the sport.
"I go down south a lot," she said. "There are a lot more tracks down there to train on and the whole riding community is down there."
EnduroCross is not your typical motocross racing competition, she said.
"It has short laps and you're on a very high adrenaline rush trying to go as fast as you can through the whole race," Kacy said. "But then you have to go through all of these obstacles -- like a humongous tractor tire, logs and water pits. You're trying to get around the course and it's only a six-lap race."
She laughed as she said, "It's kind of crazy."
She grew up participating in the District Six Series then moved on to the National Hare Scramble Series. Heading to the East Coast in 2006, Kacy placed second at the GNCC Series.
Recently, she started the WORCS series, a racing competition centralized on the West Coast. So far, she has been champion of WORCS Women's Pro in 2009, 2010 and currently holds the leading points for 2011. Not to mention, she became the Female Rider of the Year in 2009 and was then invited to last month's X Games.
On July 31, the cheering crowd of fans filled the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
"I didn't realize how big it was until I actually got to the X Games," Kacy said. "I was like, 'Wow, I'm really going to be participating in this.'"
However, the EnduroCross event ran into a problem before the race. Because the event ran live on television, the X Games was delayed behind a tennis match.
"We were supposed to get a site lap for our race, where you can ride around the course and check everything out. Then we'd go up to the gate at the starting line," Kacy explained. "But we didn't get that, so they just had us go up straight to the starting line."
The gate dropped and the race was on.
"I got the lead so I was pretty excited about that," she said. "But then I think I got too excited and started making a couple mistakes."
At the end of the race, Kacy didn't know where she ended up.
"Once I saw I got the bronze and was on the podium, I was pretty happy," she said.
She recalled it was the most "crazy stressful exciting day" of her life, and said she was content with the bronze.
Because EnduroCross is not a typical sport people hear much about, Kacy was glad it finally became part of the X Games, which features many types of extreme competitions.
"We have been able to gain way more support and more people have been looking into us. We've been getting our names out more and more. It's come very far these past couple years," Kacy said.
She hopes she can attend another X Games competition in the near future.
"If they invite me back, I'll be there for sure," she said.
She's uncertain what the future holds.
"For now I'm just focusing on getting the 2011 WORCS Women's Pro Championship," she said. "And then after that I hope to do another series."
No matter what, Kacy is involved within her riding community fulltime.
"Whatever I do I always try my hardest to get to the championship," she said. "I don't know what I'll be doing next year, but I'm for sure going to be racing and am going to be out there. I won't be stopping anytime soon."