"Hi, I'm chief photographer Kevin Mahan KSEE24 News. I'm usually behind the camera, and when I don't have the camera on my shoulder I'm usually on my bike. So management thought, who better to tell you about cycling in the Olympics, than a crazy cycling nut like myself? Now when people think of cycling in the Olympics they think of track or road which is using bikes like these, but there's more to it than that. I'll tell you more in this edition of Olympics 101 Cycling."
Olympic Cycling consists of four different disciplines. Road Cycling, Track, Mountain Bike and BMX. To help us navigate through each individual event I caught up with two local cyclists, William Foster, the president of the Fresno State Cycling Club, and Randy Stumpfauser of Sanger, a former 15 year BMX pro. First up, Olympic Road Cycling.
"In road cycling you have two separate events, you have an individual time trial which is one person versus the road, and then in on the road course you can have some team tactics and that kind of thing"
The road race will feature many of the world's top pros fresh off the grueling Tour de France. Next we enter the velodrome and track cycling. Showcasing some of the fastest cyclists in the world, track action is nothing short of fast and furious.
"It's a mix between track and field and NASCAR, they're going so fast around those steep bank corners, to be going over those at 40 plus miles per hour, elbow to elbow, tire to tire is going to be exciting."
From the velodrome to the mountain, Cross Country Mountain Biking, an Olympic sport since 1996, features riders flying across off-road terrain, battling the landscape as well as the other racers, to claim the gold.
"Cross Country you'll mainly see guys duking it out over some pretty long hill climbs, up and down, some varied terrain, nothing too technical but it's primarily an endurance sport, going up and down mountains."
The last and newest cycling event featured is BMX. The most local of the cycling disciplines, BMX was created here in California during the 1960's and has seen an explosion in popularity throughout the world. This popularity led to it's inclusion into the Olympics for the first time in 2008.
Local pro Randy Stumpfhauser started riding in Sanger at age 9, and has been hooked ever since. He describes what it's like to hit the BMX track. "It's like a 35-40 second race and it's over. It's an all out sprint, your heart is pumping, when you get on that gate, when the gate drops you better be on it or your gonna lose. And it's going around jumping jumps, going high speed, as fast as you can, and when you're done, your legs are on fire."
Americans have the potential to sweep the medal podium in 2012, having won a total of three of the six men's and women's medals awarded in Beijing in 2008. Over the course of three weeks in August, cyclists will hop in the saddle and try and pedal their way to medal in London 2012.
The assortment of cycling events get underway on July 28th and goes through August 12th. You can catch all the Olympic action on NBC's Olympic website by clicking here.