Nikita Ducarroz, 17, of Glen Ellen, competes in freestyle BMX competitions around California. (Photo by Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)

By RANDI ROSSMANN
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Glen Ellen teen Nikita Ducarroz is a rarity — a girl on a BMX bike who’s winning competitions around the state.

Or maybe the 17-year-old is unique because at age 15, she started her own online clothing company — FDV — offering BMX T-shirts and gear.

But some may think it’s impressive that along with many YouTube videos showing her landing or crashing her bike, other online videos she makes demonstrate her musical abilities or show her offering encouragement to teens dealing with difficulties.

Perhaps it’s most unusual that Ducarroz does all of these things while battling severe anxiety.

The anxiety, while restricting, has led to some of the successful — but nontraditional — paths for Ducarroz, including online high school and BMX riding.

From kindergarten through eighth grade, the French-born, bilingual Ducarroz attended Woodland Star Charter — a Waldorf methods school in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District.

By high school, the teen’s anxiety had gotten to the point that leaving home became a trial.

“Having to be somewhere at a certain time didn’t work for me, and that pretty much is what school is,” she said.

She and her parents found an online school — California Virtual Academy. That helped.

“Mainly it was for the anxiety. After the fact, I realized it was kind of the best option for BMX. I can travel anywhere. I never have to be at school — I can take (school) with me,” she said.

She is one of few female teen competitors on the BMX circuit and is one of the few girls who can pull off a backflip, she said.

Challenge is the lure.

“There’s always something new you can be doing; you never stop learning. There’s always a new trick or something to perfect,” said Ducarroz, who is now sponsored by multiple companies. “I get bored really easily, and this fits me well.”

Initially, traveling to competitions and going to skate parks was a hardship with her anxiety.

“Once I get on my bike, I love BMX so much, I’ve been able to push through that,” she said. “As soon as I get on my bike, all that goes away.”

While she was born in Nice, France, the daughter of Nicole Abate Ducarroz and Swiss-born father Jean Francois Ducarroz has been raised in the Sonoma Valley, along with her two younger brothers.

Her parents are supportive of her atypical teen pathways.

Her mother, a longtime member of the Sonoma Valley school district’s Board of Trustees, says her daughter’s choices have been good. The anxiety also has posed a challenge that has helped strengthen her daughter’s will.

“She has an amazing ability to open up and share her challenges with everyone and not stay hidden,” said her mother. “… and that is a gift that takes courage.”

Now in her junior year, her online class load looks like what a lot of her peers are up to around the county: including chemistry,

AP French 3 and Algebra 2.

She’s not lacking in ideas for her future.

The Dean’s honor student said college will be followed by a stint as a professional BMX competitor, and maybe as an athletic trainer and eventually a job as a firefighter-paramedic.

“I live across the street from the fire station,” she said, explaining she’s watched firefighters and engines coming and going all her life.

“In 2011, I was a fire explorer for the Kenwood Fire Department. It was the best time of my life. I definitely want to go back,” she said.

Nikita Ducarroz

Age: 17

Birthplace: Nice, France

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/ERASEDband

Lives with: Mom, dad and two younger brothers.

What’s in your iPod: I usually use Pandora on my iPhone. I like to mix it up with all types of genres but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of alternative stuff.

Favorite hobby: Apart from BMX, filming and editing videos.

Dream job: Professional BMXer and firefighter/paramedic

Favorite TV show: Anything relating to crime or medicine. Right now, it’s “Rookie Blue” and “Graceland.”

Favorite food: Definitely ice cream..although if we’re talking nutritious food, I LOVE salad, salmon, steak, and tacos.

Quote: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” -Albert Einstein