It seems the Ellingsons made an appropriate decision upon naming their son Max.
"I started mountain biking two years ago and wish I’d started sooner," the Edina (Minn.) High junior wrote in an online bio for his Angry Catfish mountain biking race team. "My winter passion is free-style skiing. I like sports that have force, mass times acceleration with a coefficient feeling of uneasiness."
Of course, there's a reason Ellingson didn't start competitively biking until recently — one that would stop most kids with his condition from cycling for life. Not Max. Despite being diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a disorder that can often impair one's mobility, he is now the captain of Edina's mountain biking squad.
"It really just secludes you and gets you in this zone where you’re not really thinking about anything else,” Ellingston told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in a feature on the inspiring teen. “It’s really peaceful."
There was a time when Ellingston couldn't bike. He reportedly underwent surgery at age 10 to rotate his legs. Through years of physical therapy, his wheelchair and casts gave way to wheels and pedals.
This past fall, he competed for Edina's fledgling mountain biking program in the Minnesota High School Cycling League of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. Ellingson finished sixth in Minnesota among 85 junior varsity competitors in his inaugural season, according to the Star Tribune.
"There’s things that we would consider to be disabilities," Dr. Stephen Sundberg, the pediatric orthopedic surgeon who performed Ellingson's surgery, told the paper. “Max has sort of said, 'No, I’m going to just keep doing everything I can possibly do to maximize my ability to stay fit and enjoy life.'"
Ellingson's life is now defined more by mountain biking than cerebral palsy. In addition to being named a captain for Edina's varsity season this coming fall and competing in the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series over the summer, he works at a local bike shop and dreams of changing the sport forever.
"After high school, I plan to obtain a graduate degree in Chemical Engineering at a school with a collegiate biking team or club," Ellingson wrote in his online racing bio. "Then, work for a bike manufacturer to develop the world’s greatest bike frame material."
Talk about Maxing out. Considering all he's accomplished so far, who's going to tell Ellingson otherwise?