For those who do not know me, I have been racing bicycles for almost my entire life. Now 21 years old, I began competing in BMX at the age of 5–moving on to road, track, and cyclocross shortly thereafter.
I have always been identified as “the cyclist,” from classmates and teachers during my school-age years (mainly due to the amount of class I missed traveling to races), to the other cyclists who saw me competing nearly every weekend for over a decade.
Cycling has always been my passion. To me, it was never really about a love for “being on two wheels,” but more-so about motivation, drive, and a burning desire to compete. Cycling has been my way of channeling energy into tremendous bursts of effort, speed, and pain.
At this point, I have already competed in more races than most cyclists will throughout their entire lives–which is something I’m not necessarily proud of. A trip to race in Belgium during the summer of 2012 strengthened this feeling. There was something that I didn’t quite like about what I was doing.
It didn’t take long to realize that “something” was the duration of the races I was competing in. I found myself getting bored mid-race. I didn’t want to sit-in, ride tempo, or wait another 50km for the “right moment” to attack. I wanted to attack now. I wanted to sprint now. I wanted to take my pent-up energy and release it in fury on the pedals.
I abruptly left the sport of cycling. A college student at Marquette University, I took up weight lifting. I wanted to be big and strong. I wanted to be intense. I wanted to channel my energy into something aggressive, yet productive. I found myself becoming happier with my “change in sports” everyday. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to pursue a career as a personal trainer, and I began entering strongman competitions. However, deep down, I still considered myself “the cyclist.”
From the first time I watched the Olympic Games, at a very young age, I knew immediately that was something I wanted to be a part of. I didn’t exactly know how; I just knew that was my goal. That particular goal has remained over my entire life to date. During my “time-off” from cycling, my father often asked when I planned on racing racing again. He loved watching the races. In fact, he never missed any of my competitions until complications of Parkinson’s Disease made the traveling too difficult. On a bright summer day in 2014, I saw my bike against a wall in my house, untouched for over a year. It was a nice day, so I decided to go for a spin (by this point, I could hardly fit into my racing kit). My legs felt good, so in decided to try a few sprints. To my surprise, they felt faster than they ever had. It was at this exact moment that I knew what to do. Immediately after my ride, I told my parents that I wanted to compete in the Olympic Games in the sport of Track Cycling. They were elated! Though they supported my weight lifting, it was definitely not the “ideal” hobby for their son–they enjoyed the cycling community much more.
Shortly thereafter, my father passed away. The happiness he had shown toward my decision to return to cycling solidified my decision. Though he would not be able to watch me compete, I was certain that this endeavor would meet his approval.
I began training three times per day–two sessions on the bike, one session in the gym–six days out of the week, with a recovery ride on the seventh. My passion for cycling had been re-ignited, and I was more determined than ever. I set my sights on the last major track event of the calendar year, the Los Angeles Grand Prix, as a “testing event” to gather information to be used over the winter for my training toward the 2015 season. This particular UCI event attracts some of the top competitors from around the world–so, naturally, I have decided to throw myself into the toughest completion I could find, and I have chosen to compete in both the International Omnium (a sort of track stage-race, consisting of six events ranging from 250m to 40km) and the Keirin (a “sprinter’s” event with a motor-paced lead-out), taking place November 1 & 2, 2014.
I am not alone in my effort. I am fortunate to have the support of family, friends, followers, and, as of recently, BelgianWerkx Bicycle Studio & Gallery of Mequon, WI. From experienced expert-mechanic Nick Moroder to enthusiastic owner Bill Koehler, along with the entire Team and BelgianWerkx Staff, I am surrounded by the best-possible support system an athlete could have. My equipment has been fine-tuned, and my body has been well-prepared. I am ready to compete.
Thomson Remo is a Category 1 Road Cyclist and International-Elite Track Cyclist. A World Championship finalist in BMX, a UCI World Cup competitor on the Road, and a US National Championship medalist on the track, Thomson has amassed years of experience competing in Junior and Elite-level Cycling.