Kittie Weston-Knauer doesn’t want to spend her life on the sidelines. That’s why this 67-year-old from Iowa has been strapping on pads and a helmet to race BMX, making her the oldest female BMX racer in the country.
“I don’t like to be the person standing around watching somebody else having fun if it’s something I can truly do,” Weston-Knauer told WhoTV.
Weston-Knauer, a retired school principal, got her start in BMX almost three decades ago thanks to her son’s involvement in the sport.
“My son said to his dad and to me, ‘If you think this is so easy, why don’t you try it?’ And that’s how I got involved,” she told Iowa Public Radio.
Her first race fell on Mother’s Day. She was 40 and had to borrow her son’s BMX gear. That’s when she developed a real love and respect for the sport.
Back then, only one other woman was in her age group, so she regularly raced against men, including her own husband.
Today, she races in the 56-and-over Women’s Cruiser Division. However, depending on the size of the race, sometimes she competes against teenage girls.
She’s had her hips and knees replaced, so why keep on going?
“We are living longer lives, women especially. And what I want to be able to do is to know that there’s quality in my life, and this sport provides that for me,” she told Iowa Public Radio. “It’s not just about getting on the bike and riding, but now I find myself in the gym, and I’m in the gym because I’m continually having to develop my core strength and my core stability.”
She also found that BMX allowed her to connect with her students better.
“The students that you work with want to know that you are a ‘human.’ You’re not just their teacher. You’re not just their principal,” she said.
When Weston-Knauer broke her neck in 1993 and had to relearn how to walk, she used her experience in her teachings.
“I had these conversations with my students,” she said. “‘You know, life isn’t fair, but let’s talk about what one needs to do to get to where you want to be.'”
Here’s more on Weston-Knauer from WhoTV:
What a way to spend retirement.