Image from AP Ricardo Mazalan
This week I’m featuring another badass female Colombian cyclist. Juliana Gaviria is a 25 year-old track cyclist from La Ceja, Antioquia. Track cycling is something that fascinates me, and I regret saying that I’ve never seen it in person despite having lived near a velodrome for years. Basically, there’s a literal track that has 2 straightaways and 2 banked turns. Racers get up to high velocities. They ride bikes that are super simple, and in terms of construction, focus on lightness and aerodynamics. This means there are no gears, no brakes, no unnecessary weight. Which also makes it a bit terrifying (for me).
Like with track running, there are various races for track cycling. In the 2012 London Olympics, Juliana Gaviria raced women’s team sprint (like a 2-person relay, raced against one other team), women’s sprint (either 2 or 4 cyclists sprinting to the finish line first), and keirin (where racers are speed-controlled by a pacing cycle for several laps before a 2.5 lap sprint). Unfortunately, she didn’t win and for 2016 track cycling is no longer an event.
Regardless of what that means for her career, she’s a huge inspiration for me. Check out this time trial race and watch her pick up speed really fast to beat the clock in the 500m race.