Sometimes we let our age, we let our number define us.
It’s like gray 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.
All right, let’s go.
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.
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 and I can come back and be as good as ever the next day.
It’s almost like flying on the earth.
Not too fast. I’m old.
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.
This is what it looks like to wake up with Lyme disease, very hard.
I know you thought you’re gonna die.
I was told I was probably not gonna make it, remember?
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 and that turned things around and made a big difference.
It’s still part of my stay well strategy and I can’t imagine not doing this.
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.
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.
We don’t litter, Cade. You can’t litter.
Mom yelled at you.
It’s not biodegradable.
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.
You don’t see a lot of, like women skating, and you also don’t see a lot of older women skating. So, it’s kind of abnormal, you know.
My favorite part is that she’s super fast, like she’s faster than all of us.
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.
Isn’t this the greatest adventure?
The maximum speed that I have achieved was 70 miles an hour in the training run in Colorado. It was mind-boggling. It is so fast.
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’re there.
My husband worries a lot. He’s kind of a worrywart, actually.
Is everybody in?
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.
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.
And they call him papa.
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.