Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Tara Llanes

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Full name  Tara Janelle Llanes
1991–1994  Haro/Cupri
Weight  57 kg
1990–1991  Haro Designs
Height  1.63 m

1989–1990  Aussie Wear
Role  Bicycler
Nickname  T
Name  Tara Llanes
Tara Llanes ep1pinkbikeorgp4pb6187510p4pb6187510jpg
Born  November 28, 1976 (age 39) West Covina, California, United States (1976-11-28)
Current team  Giant Bicycles/Pearl Izumi
Rider type  BMX, Cross-country cycling, Downhill mountain biking

Disciplines  BMX, Mountain bike racing

Northstar california hosts the tara llanes classic 2012

Tara Janelle Llanes (born November 28, 1976 in West Covina, California United States) is an American "Mid School" Bicycle Motocross (BMX) racer whose prime competitive years were from 1990-1993. She later became a champion Mountain Bike (MTB) racer. Her surname is pronounced "Yaw-ness" but for obvious reasons it is often mispronounced "lanes" as in the type of division of a pathway.


Tara Llanes Rider Perspective Tara Llanes Pinkbike

Rider perspective tara llanes pinkbike com

BMX racing career milestones


Note: Professional first are on the national level unless otherwise indicated.

Tara Llanes Tara Llanes seriously injured Race News FAT BMX

Retired: Originally in 1995 to focus on Mountain Bike racing full time. She restarted in late 2006 with an eye toward making the 2008 Olympic Team. See "First professional race result". According to Llanes USA Cycling asked her tor restart her BMX career:

Tara Llanes Tara LLanes Tylos Blog

"USA Cycling approached me and said 'Now that it's an Olympic event do think (sic) you'd want to try try (sic) and compete...' and I said no. They kept talking to me, talking to me, until I entered a race and got fourth with the fastest girls that were there. So that had me rethinking things."

Tara Llanes Tara Llanes Pushing The Boundaries Of Sport YouTube

However, an apparent career-ending injury in MTB eliminated that possibility for 2008. She has however, stated her goal to be to return to racing competition.

*In the NBL Junior Women; No comparable level existed in the ABA.
**In the NBL it was/is Supergirls/Elite Women; in the ABA it is Pro Girls.

Career factory and major bike shop sponsors

Note: This listing only denotes the racer's primary sponsors. At any given time a racer could have numerous ever changing co-sponsors. Primary sponsorships can be verified by BMX press coverage and sponsor's advertisements at the time in question. When possible exact dates are used.

Amateur/Junior Women

  • Aussie Wear Early April 1989-December 1990
  • Haro Designs: December 1990-December 1991 The ABA Silverdollar nationals in Reno, Nevada held on January 12, 1991 was Llanes's first race for Haro/Crupi.
  • Haro/Crupi: December 1991-December 1994
  • Professional/Elite Women

  • Giant Bicycles/Pearl Izumi: 2006–Present
  • Career bicycle motocross titles

    Note: Listed are District, State/Provincial/Department, Regional, National and International titles. Only sanctioning bodies that were active during the racer's career are listed.

    Amateur/Junior Women

    National Bicycle League (NBL)

  • 1992 15 Girls Grandnational Champion
  • American Bicycle Association (ABA)

  • 1989 12 Girls and 12 & Under Girls Cruiser National No.2
  • 1990 California District 3 (CA-3) Girls No.1
  • 1990 13 Girls Grand National Champion
  • 1990 13 Girls National No.1
  • 1991 and 1992 CA-3 Girls Cruiser No.1
  • Fédération Internationale Amateur de Cyclisme (FIAC)*

    International Bicycle Motocross Federation (IBMXF)*

    Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)*

  • None
  • *See note in professional section

    Professional/Elite Women

    National Bicycle Association (NBA)

  • None (defunct)
  • National Bicycle League (NBL)

  • None
  • American Bicycle Association (ABA)

  • None
  • International Bicycle Motocross Federation (IBMXF)*

  • None (defunct)
  • Fédération Internationale Amateur de Cyclisme (FIAC)*

  • None (defunct)
  • (FIAC did not have a strictly professional division during its existence).

    Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)*

    *Note: Beginning in 1991 the IBMXF and FIAC had been holding joint World Championship events as a transitional phase in merging which began in earnest in 1993. Beginning with the 1996 season the IBMXF and FIAC completed the merger and both ceased to exist as independent entities being integrated into the UCI. Beginning with the 1997 World Championships held in Brighton, England the UCI would officially hold and sanction BMX World Championships and with it inherited all precedents, records, streaks, etc. from both the IBMXF and FIAC.

    Pro Series Championships and Invitationals

    BMX press magazine interviews and articles

  • "1990 District Number Ones" One of several profiles of the ABA's 1990 district number ones written in an autobiographical tense.
  • BMX magazine covers

    Note: Only magazines that were in publication at the time of the racer's career(s) are listed unless specifically noted. Minicycle/BMX Action & Super BMX:

  • None
  • Bicycle Motocross Action & Go:

  • None
  • BMX Plus!:

  • None
  • Ride BMX Magazine:

    Snap BMX Magazine & Transworld BMX:

  • None
  • BMX World

    ABA Action, American BMXer, BMXer (the official BMX publication of the ABA under three different names):

    Mountain Bike Career Record

    In 1993 while still racing BMX for Haro Bicycles she asked that sponsor for a mountain bike and to go to mounting bike race. She liked it and soon transitioned from BMX to MTB, with cross country Dual Slalom and after Dual Slalom was abolished by NORBA the 4-Cross Downhill events. During her mountain bike years she acquired the nickname of "T", the first letter of her given name. Unlike in BMX she turned pro in 1996. She almost immediately started doing well on the pro circuit but it was not until 1999 in which she won her first title. In the now discontinued Dual Slalom down hill event of that year's ESPN Winter Extreme Games also known Winter "X" Games where she took a Gold medal. She would go on to win a further 14 medals in the next seven years of her career including five championships. During this time she also suffered numerous injuries including punctured lungs and broken foot. Then in September 2007 the most devastating of all; a crash that left her paralyzed from the waist down. She is in rigorous rehabilitation and despite physician's diagnosis of her never being able to walk again, she is determined to not only walk again, but to return to riding a bicycle and even competing. The last chapter of Llanes's racing career is probably not already written in the face of such determination.

    Mountain Bike career milestones

    Started racing: According to her website In 1993 at 16 years old. She asked the BMX team manager of Haro Designs who was sponsoring her repeatedly to try it and he finally relented. but in a May 2007 Mountain Bike Action interview it was Haro Bicycles that asked her to give it a try.

    Sub Discipline(s): Down Hill, 4-Cross, Dual Slalom and Cross Country

    First race result: According to Llanes's website. First in Junior Women in Dual Slalom at the Big Bear Lake, California. According to her Mountain Bike Action May 2000 interview it was a 2nd place in Junior Women in Dual Slalom at the 1993 NORBA Finals at Mammouth Mountain Resort in Mammoth Lakes, California.

    Sanctioning body: National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA)

    Turned Professional: 1996

    Retired: Her career has been on hold since her paralyzing injury suffered at the Jeep King of the Mountain finals event in Beaver Creek, Colorado on September 1, 2007. She is currently under intense physical rehabilitation with the intention of riding a bicycle again.

    Career MTB factory and major Non-factory sponsors

    Note: This listing only denotes the racer's primary sponsors. At any given time a racer could have numerous co-sponsors. Primary sponsorships can be verified by MTB press coverage and sponsor's advertisements at the time in question. When possible exact dates are given.

    Amateur/Junior Women

  • Haro Bicycles: 1994-1996
  • Rotech: 1996-December 1997 She turned pro with this sponsor
  • Professional/Elite Women

  • Rotech: 1996-December 1997
  • Specialized: December 1997-December 2000
  • Yeti/Pearl Izumi: December 2000-October 2002 The Yeti/Pearl Izumi team was dissolved after the 2002 season.
  • Giant Bicycles/Pearl Izumi: December 2002–Present Despite her devastating injury Giant Bicycles renewed her contract and they will be working with her on her efforts to recover.
  • Career Mountain Bike Racing (MTB) titles

    Note: Listed are Regional, National and International titles.

    Amateur/Junior Women

    Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)

  • None
  • National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA)

  • 1995 Junior National Downhill Champion
  • USA Cycling

    Independent Championship race series and Invitationals

    Professional/Elite Women

    ESPN Extreme (X) Games:

  • 1999 Biker X Winter X Games Champion (Gold Medal)
  • Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)

  • 1999 Bronze Medal Dual Slalom World Cup Champion
  • 2000 Silver Medal Dual Slalom World Cup Champion
  • 2001 Bronze Medal Dual Slalom World Cup Champion
  • 2000 Dual Silver Medal World Champion
  • 2001 Dual Bronze Medal World Champion
  • 2001 4-Cross World Cup Champion
  • 2004, 2005 4-Cross Bronze Medal World Champion
  • 2004 4-Cross Silver Medal World Cup Champion
  • 2006 4-Cross Bronze Medal World Cup Champion
  • National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA)

  • 2002 Dual Slalom National Champion
  • 2002, 2004 U.S. National 4-Cross Champion
  • 2006 National Downhill Champion
  • USA Cycling

  • 2006 National Champion.
  • Independent Championship race series and Invitationals


    2007 Image.

    Significant MTB injuries

  • Broke Collar Bone in 1996 at Washington National.
  • Broke Collar Bone in the Downhill at the UCI World Cup Canmore, Alberta, Canada on the weekend of July 3–4, 1999. She came back only a few weeks after the accident, albeit she missed two World Cup events during her lay up.
  • She suffered two concussions in 2000.
  • She suffered numerous injuries during a practice run at the NORBA mountain cross race on Chapman Hill in Durango, Colorado on August 3, 2002. She crashed on one of the very large double jumps. She suffered a broken left collarbone, three fractured ribs, two partially collapsed lungs one of which was severely bruised, a torn MCL in her right knee.
  • Suffered a broken left foot in an automobile accident on June 16, 2003 on a road in Pennsylvania. She was traveling in the Giant Team truck a Ford F350 which was towing the 30-foot (9.1 m) team trailer on her way to Vermont for the third stop in the NORBA NCS series. Rescue had to cut Tara out of the vehicle. Three other occupants in the automobile Jared Rando and Dustin Adams had only minor scrapes. The team mechanic, Matt Duniho who was driving needed stitches. Llanes's foot got jammed under the seat in front of her breaking it. She went to the hospital to be treated and flew back to Southern California the next day while her teammates continued onto Vermont in the team's backup vehicle. Llanes said of her injury:
  • “I went back to my foot specialist and he looked over the CT Scan,”she wrote. “It looks as though it's just the one bone in my foot. The cuneiform2 and 3 bone. I also told him my two smaller toes were hurting pretty badso he x-rayed them again and sure enough they were both broken. Not that it makes much of a difference. They were aligned just fine so he didn't'have to reset anything. It will still take 4-6 weeks."

    2007 Spinal cord injury

    On September 1, 2007, Llanes crashed at Beaver Creek, Colorado, host to the Jeep King of the Mountain Finale. The accident happened on the second to last straight down the Dual Slalom course as she raced head-to-head against Jill Kintner in the semifinals. Llanes hit an obstacle wrong and the bicycle landed nose first on the ground. She was thrown over the handlebars and onto her head and then landed on her back, suffering massive and severe lower back trauma, suffering a C-7 fracture and L-1 damage to her vertebrae, and paralyzing her lower extremities. She was first rushed to Vail Valley Medical Center and then was airlifted to Denver Health Hospital. She underwent seven hours of surgery but still had no feeling from the waist down. According to the surgeons who worked on her, the condition is most likely permanent. Llanes recalls the moment of the accident:

    "This was my job and I was blessed. Then my life and everything I had dreamed of and accomplished flashed before my eyes as I laid there on the ground trying to understand why I was in such pain and why my legs just wouldn't move."

    Llanes continues to undergo intensive rehabilitation and as of late 2008 she could move her left leg. Her stated goal is to get back into competitive racing again. As she stated in an interview with

    PPO: "You seem so positive to me and so gung ho. What drives you? Is it just in you?"
    Tara: "I think it just all has to do with me wanting to walk again. When this happened I was completely devastated. I mean, this has been my life since I was 11-years-old. This is what I know and it's what I love. It's what I absolutely, without a doubt love. I mean, not being able to ride my bike again for the rest of my life... It would crush me. And so for me, I can't have a negative thought in my mind. I can't because you know doctors can come in, and they can walk in... and say, "you're never going to walk again." But, you know what, to me so much of it is mind over matter. They do a test the first week that you're here in Craig and in the test they deemed me "complete". What complete means is that basically you're not going to walk again. You know what? My legs have started to move again, especially my left leg. One of my doctors was like, "holy shit!". I said, "you can take your 'complete' and shove it!" Not to her of course..."

    Miscellaneous and Trivia

    Llanes's August 31, 2007 blog entry. The last one before her severe accident.


    Tara Llanes Wikipedia