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What can American biking be taught from Jennifer Valente’s journey from junior rider to Olympic champion?
A protracted and profitable profession in biking ought to have its basis in enjoyable.
“Not having such a aggressive surroundings from the start modified my outlook on sport, and what it may imply,” Valente informed VeloNews. “The group, and making it enjoyable. It feels like a cliché, of ‘Oh, don’t neglect to have enjoyable.’ Chasing an Olympic medal or an Olympic dream is such a anxious and taxing factor to do this in the event you don’t have that basis of having fun with some a part of it, and discovering the nice issues, it’s arduous to proceed.”
Valente, 26, is our visitor on subsequent week’s episode of The VeloNews Podcast, the place she’s going to take us contained in the thrilling moments of her current Olympic title within the Omnium occasion. In profitable the race Valente turned the primary U.S. lady in historical past to win an Olympic title in observe biking. She etched her identify in U.S. biking historical past with the win.
After profitable the Scratch Race, the opening occasion of the Olympic Omnium, Valente rode good and picked up races within the Elimination and Tempo races, positioned her into the pole place for the Factors Race. Not even a crash on the race’s midpoint may derail her effort, and he or she collected sufficient factors through the occasion to take the Olympic title.
After the race Valente sat on the observe and soaked within the second, tears of pleasure streaming down her face as she draped a U.S. flag on her shoulders.
“Main the Omnium from the primary race your thoughts frequently jumps to the top, and it’s important to frequently convey it again to the second,” Valente stated. “Again to the second. What am I doing? What’s occurring proper now. Not letting my thoughts wanter to the top. And after I completed and knew I had gained, it hadn’t actually set in. After which it was extraordinarily overwhelming.”
Lengthy earlier than she was an Olympian, nonetheless, Valente was a youngster from San Diego who caught the biking bug as a child. On Thursday she mentioned her upbringing within the San Diego biking group, the place she was a daily on the Wednesday group experience via Camp Pendleton, the Thursday evening races on Fiesta Island, and a stalwart on the San Diego Velodrome. Valente stated she laid the inspiration for her future skilled profession inside the group, and it was the coaches and fellow racers who helped her domesticate a ardour for biking that took her all the way in which to the Olympics.
“Actually studying the entire means of issues. Racing every kind of various races domestically — factors races, sprinting, Kerins, scratch races, and random stuff that occurs at native veldromes like snowball races and win-and-outs — in addition to studying to work in your bike and the gearing and what it feels wish to experience totally different gears, and to motor tempo. These had been all a part of the journey and all of it contribute to the gathering of data. Whether or not you understand if it impacts something — I believe it does.”
You may hear extra from Valente in subsequent week’s episode if The VeloNews Podcast.