The Burgs Summer Olympics series: Cycling
The 2012 Summer Olympics kick off Friday in London.
Thousands of athletes from across the world will test their skills in sports such as diving, wrestling, track and field, volleyball and even badminton.
We turned to local athletes who specialize in these sports, asking them for tips and what to look for during the epic event.
LOCAL ATHLETE: Sam James, Blacksburg
EXPERIENCE: James has been cycling for about 12 years.
DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY: There are four different types of cycling events featured in the 2012 London Summer Olympics — BMX, Mountain Bike, Road and Track.
BMX (Bicycle Motocross) began to take off in the late 1960s in California, around the time that motocross became popular in the United States. The motorized sport was the inspiration for the pedal-powered version — a spectacle that has since become popular all over the world. This is just the second year the sport has made its appearance in the games.
Mountain Bike cycling also developed in California in the 1970s. The sport takes athletes up rocky paths, tricky climbs and technical descents.
Road Cycling made its first appearance in 1912. Road Cycling events will take place in both London and Surrey this year.
Track Cycling was held indoors at the Olympic games for the first time in Montreal in 1976. Track bikes have fixed wheels and no brakes. Riders stop by putting pressure on the pedals.
— Source: london2012.com
Q: What do you enjoy about cycling?
A: I like that for the most you get out of it what you put in. So you have to work hard for it. You have to be willing to suffer a lot and make sacrifices every day that you’re out there. In the race, you have to be willing to hurt more than the other guys. You have to be tough.
Q: What advice would you give an Olympic cyclist?
A: I’d probably say the most important thing is not to get nervous. I think a lot of people would get nervous.
They’d get real amped up for it, and they wouldn’t sleep the night before. They’d be worried that, maybe, their preparation wasn’t good enough for something.
They’d start off the race, and they’d go too hard and bore themselves up and risk not finishing.
Every time someone would try to get away, they’d be the one trying to chase them down.
Whereas good competitors, they’d sit back and kind of see what happens.
Q: What should viewers be looking for during the event?
A: I think it’s important to look at the fact that how people race is very dependent on what type of racer they are.
For example, there are some guys that are going to be better at sprinting, so if they can, the last 15 seconds of the race, they’re going to blow everyone away.
But if they try to accelerate 20 minutes from the finish, they’re not going to make it.
Whereas, someone with … a less explosive sprint, they’d attack earlier. … No one strategy fits every rider, and that’s why you see some riders attacking right from the gun because, maybe, they don’t think they stand a chance in the last 30 seconds of the race.
Whereas, another rider, who might be the favorite to win, isn’t going to go with those moves. They’re going to wait — wait for the pack to kind of bring those guys back.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
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