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Friday, April 24, 2015

National Level Cyclist - Mischa Switching it Up. BMX to Track Cycling

A month ago we were fortunate enough to hook up with Mischa at the new Milton Velodrome, he
was training with some of the other National Track riders.  Between sessions we got to chat about his transition from BMX to Track.  Was intrigued on what transpired and was excited to learn more about Track Cycling.  Here is what Mischa had to share:

Infinit: We know that you made a big switch, going from BMX to Track Cycling.  Really exciting - how did that evolve?  What lead to the change?
Mischa: It is a big switch!  I was given an opportunity to come train with the National track team last June as part of some recruitment they were doing for the sprint program.  It is not
something I have ever done before, but being a sprint cycling sport itself, the crossover between BMX racing and track sprint is fairly good.
I had one of my best seasons last year racing BMX, so when it came to the end of the season, I had some evaluating to do.  It is definitely a risk, but I think I have some good opportunities in track, that BMX was not able to give me.  I am also really looking forward to having a new challenge in my career as an athlete.

Infinit: What are the key aspects of your BMX training and racing that will translate really well to Track Cycling?
Mischa: I think that anyone who raced BMX as a kid has an advantage transferring to any other discipline.  Starting at such a young age, racing BMX develops the fundamental bike handling skills above and beyond any other discipline.
For myself transitioning into track sprinting, the two are very similar in the physiological demands.  They are both short, explosive efforts requiring maximal power.  If I had to pick one thing from BMX that is the most beneficial on the track it would be my gate starts.

Infinit: What will your biggest challenge be as you make this transition?

Mischa: Besides shaving my legs, I think it will be learning the tactics of sprint racing.  In BMX there is very little tactic involved, it is more of an action-reaction.  In track sprinting there is time to think, and that is something I am not used to yet.

Infinit: I understand that there are many different disciplines in Track Cycling - which event are you training for and hope to compete in Nationally/Internationally?  Are your short-term goals as far as race disciplines the same as your longer term goals, is there another discipline you would like to work towards down the road?
Mischa: Yes, track has both sprint and endurance.  Within track sprinting there are three different events; Team Sprint, Match Sprint, and Keirin.  Although they are all slightly different, most experienced riders will be competitive in all three events.
My immediate focus is on the team sprint.  As I mentioned already, my skill set from BMX lends best to the start position of the team sprint event.
Ultimately I would like to compete in all three events but the intricacies of match sprint and keirin will take a little longer to master. 

Infinit: What are your goals for 2015 and 2016.
Mischa: Right now my focus is just to keep learning and improving one day at a time.  I will be participating in a selection event for the PanAm Games.  If all goes well you might see me competing in the team sprint in July.  Past that, I am looking to secure a spot on the National team that will be competing at the World Cup circuit starting in November.
Results from the World Cup season will determine if Canada qualifies a team for the Olympics.  It would be great if I am able to contribute to that, but there are many more factors than just my performance in that equation.


Infinit: Anything you wish to elaborate on?
Mischa: Although I am focusing on track cycling, don’t be surprised if you still see me on the BMX here and there!  I am still very involved in community, and enjoy the roles I currently have coaching in the sport. 

We are thrilled to fuel Mischa no matter what two wheels he is on!

Best of luck this season!

- Darcy Haggith, President, Infinit Nutrition Canada

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