Hell on Wheels

Breanna Brand rides out the legacy of Frog Town and family splits in her feisty race toward the BMX finish line

After Mandy finishes, Breanna slips on her helmet and takes her place in line behind the gate. She doesn't realize that her mother is sitting in the first row of the bleachers closest to the gate, only yards away.

This is Breanna's chance to be No. 1 in her age group. This is her chance to show that if you work hard, you can emerge from six months -- no, a lifetime -- of instability and become a champion.

Set 'em up

Breanna prepares to blast out of the starting gate.
Troy Fields
Breanna prepares to blast out of the starting gate.
Mandy, Misty and Cindy Nixon take a break between practice races.
Troy Fields
Mandy, Misty and Cindy Nixon take a break between practice races.

Breanna wants this bad. She's stronger than she was last year. She can do this.

On the gate

Winning this can help her turn pro. But she's not thinking about that. Just the light.

Riders readywatch the light

The gate drops. Cindy jumps to her feet and screams for her Breanna.

Out of the gate, it looks like she might win. If she can just get enough momentum after the first turn, the race will be hers. It doesn't happen.

Breanna stays right on the lead racer's tires, but she's just not fast enough to overtake her.

She's disappointed -- not crushed like other girls, who can barely see the finish line through their tears. Breanna takes off her helmet, hangs it on her handlebar and rides to the other side of the building. She's got to grab her second-place trophy and get back to the RV for the ride back to Houston.

On the way to the trophy stand, Cindy and Breanna unexpectedly pass each other. Neither stops, but Cindy turns her head back, lifts her thumb and says, "Good race."

The mother smiles. So does the daughter. Then they continue in opposite directions.

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