Nalissa Wienke got a dirt bike for Christmas when she was eight years old. Her father raced in his spare time and raised his daughter to do the same. She trained consistently, getting up at 4 a.m. to get in a few hours of practice before school started. She would ride, lift weights and run nearly every day to stay in shape.
Wienke, a media relations specialist at Froedtert Hospital and volunteer coordinator for the Scooter Foundation, participated in the Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Tennessee dude ranch on three different occasions.
“It’s one of the best tracks in the country, even the world,” Wienke said. “I competed when I was 14, 16 and 18 at the national level.”
Wienke took a break from racing during college because of the busy practice and training schedule, but she has started training again and has plans to compete in a few races next spring.
“It’s a lot easier to get injured if you aren’t conditioned for it,” Wienke said. “Because I didn’t have time to train properly between working and school I decided to take a break, I still rode for fun and can’t wait to compete again.”
Wienke has broken her nose three times and came close to suffering more severe injuries, but has been lucky for the most part, she said.
“A lot of people think I’m crazy for competing in such a dangerous sport,” Wienke said. “But we spend a lot of money on safety equipment and make sure we know how to be safe when we’re out there. It’s so fun and it’s great exercise and for me it’s part of my family. Not just my father who also rides but that community of friends that I see from all over the country every time I compete. It’s just fun, a real rush.”