Seven months after giving birth to her daughter Londynn, competitive off-road racer Maria Forsberg isn't just getting back on a motorcycle, she's revving up to compete in next week's X Games in Austin, Texas.
The 28-year-old won three Moto X Enduro X gold medals and three silver medals at the X Games before taking last year off to start a family. Now she's ready to race again with Londynn on the sidelines cheering her on.
Parents spoke with Forsberg to hear how motherhood changed her perspective on racing, training, and risking it all on the track.
Why did you start off-road riding?MF: That's how my parents met. I grew up North of Seattle, Washington. I've been on a motorcycle since I was 4.
Was there any hesitation about having a baby when you were considered one of the best off-road riders in the world?MF: I was definitely ready to have a kid. I knew I was going to miss racing and it was a big part of my life, but I was ready for the next step. I was pretty sure I would get back on a motorcycle after the pregnancy, but wasn't sure I could race again. After having her I was like 'sure what the heck, I'll try it.'
How long did you wait after having Londynn to get back on a bike?MF: About a month. I just felt ready. I wasn't scared of getting hurt, but I was only a month out so I was still nervous for any pain.
Maria Forsberg waves to family after she crosses the finish line and wins Women's Enduro X Final during X Games Los Angeles 2012 (Photo by Eric Lars Bakke / ESPN Images).
Do you have new concerns with the risks of riding now that you have a baby?MF: For sure. She's my number one priority. I'm a stay at home mom so I am her 100% caregiver. I definitely will think twice before taking a risk on the track, which is not necessarily a bad thing. My husband and I love extreme sports and mountain bike a lot and now I'm like 'wow, I'm a mom, I have to be careful with everything I do.'
Would you want Londynn to get into extreme sports as she gets older?MF: I would love for her to ride for fun. That's how I grew up. I don't care if she ever races competitively, but I would love for her to ride with us as a family.
What's your advice to other new moms who want to continue pursuing their careers and hobbies after having a baby?MF: I remember when I was pregnant everyone said I wouldn't ride motorcycles or go camping again. My biggest advice is to continue your life and make your kid a part of it. I want to expose my daughter to activities like ballet, BMX, gymnastics, and rugby, and then let her decide what she wants to do.
You can watch Forsberg compete in the X Games on June 4-7 on ESPN.
Melissa Bykofsky is the associate articles editor at Parents who covers millennial trends, entertainment, and pop-culture. Follow her on Twitter @mbykofsky.