NOVA BMX Rider Spotlight
This is where we get to introduce you to some of the athletes that make up the NOVA BMX family.
April 2019 ~ Rider of the Month ~ Giuliana “Gigi” Milliron
On the day I interviewed her, Gigi had spent the afternoon at the White House participating in the annual Easter Egg Roll. Then she and her folks dashed over to NOVA BMX for gate practice. The next day she and her dad left for the Dixieland Nationals in Cobb County, Georgia. And soon she’ll be heading to Heusden-Zolder, Belgium to represent Team USA in the UCI BMX World Championships.
Not bad for a gal who’s only been riding a bike for two years and who still can be spotted in the pits with her daily plush animal of choice, which most recently just happened to be a pink and white Easter Bunny.
But don’t let the bunny fool you. This is one 6-year-old who is all business on the track.
When I asked Gigi what she liked most about BMX, her answer was direct and to the point: “to win.”
Gigi’s been doing a lot of that, which explains how she’s ascended to the Girl’s Expert Class and World’s contention in only her second full season of the sport.
Gigi’s dad, John, is an Aviation Supply Specialist in the U.S. Marines, a career which has taken his family all over the country. They were first exposed to BMX when John entered Gigi’s brother, Andrew, in the Balance Bike Class of a national event in Las Vegas. Later, John’s duties landed the family at Marine Corps Base Quantico, just in time for the 2016 Stars and Stripes National at NOVA BMX. This time Andrew raced class on his tiny little Trek MT 16, and the seeds that were planted in Las Vegas bloomed for the family into full-blown BMX mania.
Now the Millirons regularly travel to nationals from coast to coast, representing the Power’s Bike Shop National Team. Besides Gigi and 8-year-old Andrew, 3-year-old Caroline has also launched her racing career in the Balance Bike Class.
John serves as the crew’s chief mechanic and trainer. His wife, Tarah, is a member of NOVA BMX’s Board of Directors, as well as a piano teacher and headmistress of the Milliron home school operation. The flexibility of homeschooling is a good fit for their very active racing and travel schedule.
Gigi credits her success to no-nonsense preparation. “You need to train a lot,” she said. Her own routine emphasizes track work and a lot of racing. Asked about her goals as a BMX racer, Gigi didn’t mince words: “To get first place.”
Gigi is currently sitting at number 12 in the USA BMX National Age Group rankings, and she has designs for a top 10 national plate, as well as a spot on the World’s podium.
Her current ride is built around a Daylight Cycles frame, and Gigi prefers to both race and train on flat pedals. On the track she is known for her calm but determined demeanor and for carefully choosing the lines that will set her up for success. It’s a little disorienting to take gate practice with Gigi, where she handles herself with a poise and seriousness that belie her young age, and then see her get buckled into her car seat with her snuggly plush pal for the ride home. It’s only then you remember that she is, after all, in first grade.
Asked who she wanted to thank for her racing success, Gigi mentioned World’s teammate and NOVA BMX racing buddy Isabella George. Mom and Dad, of course, also made the list.
Sadly for NOVA BMX, the Millirons will be pulling up stakes again this summer for John’s next posting in San Diego, California. But we can take solace in the fact that this will allow the Millirons to train and race year-round, including at the world-class Chula Vista BMX facility.
Indeed, wherever duty and opportunity may take the family in the future, you can be sure that Gunnery Sergeant John Milliron will keep his military VIPs flying in comfort and security, while Rider of the Month Gigi Milliron will keep flying around BMX tracks with the same rugged dedication and drive.
This rider spotlight was written by our local racer and BMX dad, Christopher Zealand. Photos are from Gigi's instagram account - @gigimillironbmx, except Carolina Nationals track photo, for which credit goes to JPennucci Photography.