Accessibility links

Breaking News

Racing Downhill


((PKG)) STREET LUGE
((Banner: Sports – Racing Downhill))
((Reporter/Camera: Arturo Martínez))
((Map: Boise, Idaho))
((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

Sometimes we let our age, we let our number define us. It's like grey hair bothers so many people and it just limits happiness. I think once we can become comfortable with who we are and what we're doing and create a life that we love, it changes everything.

My name is CJ Wilkinson and I'm a mom, a hospice nurse, but when I'm riding my street luge downhill, people know me as Mama Wilky.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

All right, let’s go.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

People think I'm a real thrill seeker, and I find it thrilling, but it's also very peaceful. It’s almost a spiritual experience for me. It's so quiet in my helmet.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

Street luge helps get rid of the anxiety and the stress and depression that sometimes I'm dogged with. Working as a hospice nurse, it can be really challenging and I feel heartbroken sometimes, and it just provides a release so I can come back and be as good as ever the next day. It's almost like flying on the earth.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

Not too fast. I'm old.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

Next week, I'll be 55 years old and I started about three years ago. It was a really challenging time. I got sick after running my last half marathon in 2011 and it took years before we figured out what was wrong and eventually I ended up unable to work and in bed most days.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

This is what it looks like to wake up with Lyme disease. Very hard. That was the day you made me get out of bed and come outside. I slept a lot then.

((Dean Wilkinson, Street Luger))

I know you thought you were gonna die.

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

I was told I was probably not going to make it, remember?

((Dean Wilkinson, Street Luger))

Yeah. Luge gave her motivation to keep going because otherwise she was ready to give up, and we found the low dose immunotherapy. That was a key thing that turned things around and made a big difference.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

It's still part of my stay well strategy and I can't imagine not doing this.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))
My downhill family feels like just a bouquet of wild flowers. We're all unique, but we make a beautiful thing when we come together.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

So I am the skate mom of the community. I love all the people I ride with and I just bring them under my wing and make them my own and they don't seem to mind.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

We don’t litter, Cade. You can’t litter.

((Cade Keller, Street Luger))

It’s biodegradable.

((Brandon Ayllon, Street Luger))

Mom yelled at you.

((Cade Keller, Street Luger))
Shut up.

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

It is not biodegradable.

((NATS))

((Brandon Ayllon, Street Luger))

She's Mama Wilky all the way. I mean, like, every time we go down the hill, she makes sure we have everything. If we fall or if anything's happening, she's right there if you need anyone to hear you out. She's my other mother, that's all.

((Cade Keller, Street Luger))
You don't see a lot of women skating and you also don't see a lot of older women skating, so it's kind of abnormal.

((Brandon Ayllon, Street Luger))

My favourite part is that she's super fast. She’s faster than all of us.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

Although it's a male dominated sport, the women are starting to catch on and we actually had our first women's division two years ago.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

Isn’t this the greatest adventure?

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

The maximum speed that I’ve achieved was 70 miles an hour in a training run in Colorado. It was mind boggling. It was so fast.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

Well, the dangers here on an open road where we ride are the oncoming traffic. They come into our lane and when they do that, they really jeopardize our safety because we could be coming around a blind corner and not know they are there. My husband worries a lot. He's kind of a worrywart, actually.

((NATS))
((CJ Wilkinson,
Street Luger))

He drives for me. We have a truck that follows us down. He drives it and that prevents any traffic from coming from behind and overcoming us.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

Best driver in the business. I love you man. He does support me. He gets up at dawn and drives me and he also joins me when he rides his gravity bike.

((NATS))

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

And they call him Papa.

((CJ Wilkinson, Street Luger))

I hope that I encourage other women. Whatever your passion is, if it lights your heart on fire, start it back up. Anything's possible at any age. Just keep doing what you love.

((NATS))

XS
SM
MD
LG