SPOKANE, Wash. -- Two local kids are en route to South Carolina this week to compete in the 2017 BMX World Championships. Their goal, they said, is to work hard to make it to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics.
For Mikkel Devore of Spokane, and John Haynes of Coeur d’Alene, there is nothing quite like riding your bike.
“We came out here with one of my bikes and from the first time I liked it, and so the next Saturday I tried racing and I won, I just fell in love after that,” Devore said.
"My dad used to race a lot so he had me try it,” Haynes said, “I really liked it when I first started and I just loved it."
At 13 and 12-years-old respectively, these two friends are shattering expectations while prepping for the BMX World Championships in South Carolina.
"It just feels natural when I'm on the track, you don't have to depend on other people,” Devore said.
“I mean I love this sport, I hope to keep doing it and get faster and better,” Haynes added.
“At the novice level, which is where you start, I never lost a race,” Devore said.
“Then turned expert really fast like within the first year,” he said.
Meanwhile, John's grind only knows one speed --- fast.
“Get better practice a lot more, start getting faster and start winning more,” he said.
Today, both are champions many times over, validating their status as two of the best at their age.
It was not always easy, especially for Mikkel who nearly had his career come to a halt.
“At Richland at a super camp, I was jumping a triple and I got knocked out for 2 minutes and they thought I broke my neck and stuff,” he said. “I was out for most of the year."
As they head to South Carolina, they'll take on athletes from over 40 countries around the world -- to earn the title of world champion.
It's an opportunity to not just showcase themselves, but represent their country.
"I'll be riding for USA,” Devore said.
If Mikkel and John take care of business in South Carolina this year, that is the first step towards their ultimate goal of qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo, in 2020.
“I would like to go to the Olympics, that’d be really cool,” Haynes said.
“That'd be amazing to go to the Olympics,” Devore added.
You may assume that as kids, they'd miss well, just being kids.
"Football, I miss a lot of games or practices, so I don't get to play as much…it kind of sucks, but I'd rather do the sport I love than that sport,” Haynes said.
“I mean it’s kind of something you have to give up for it, you know?” Devore adds.
Two friends, with one goal – to simply be the best.
There is also a third local competitor, Lizzie Bowers of Coeur d'Alene, she too will be in South Carolina to compete in the world championships.