During Tokyo 2020, we loved watching track cycling, but of course, came up with many questions about the sport. American Olympic hopeful Mandy Marquardt joins us to talk about her specialty, sprinting. We talk about the sprint and Keirin races. We also get into how the bike works, her uniform, and how expensive track cycling shoes can be.

Track cyclist Mandy Marquardt with 4 US National Championship medals.

Follow Mandy on Facebook, Instagram, and X. Team NovoNordisk is on Insta and X. Check out her website too!

In Paris 2024 news, it’s a mere six months until the Paralympics start, which means that Alison will be watching wheelchair rugby before we know it!

We also have a few details about Olympic Opening Ceremonies and another ticket drop.

Tickets for Team Ireland House have gone on sale, and we have details about what that entails. Also look for activities at the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris.

Plus, a new square to check off if you’re playing “What will the media blow out of proportion?” bingo.

In news from TKFLASTAN, we hear from:

Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!

Photos courtesy of Mandy Marquardt.


 

TRANSCRIPT

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326-Track Cycling with Olympic Hopeful Mandy Marquardt

[THEME MUSIC]

Jill: Hello and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics.

If you love the games, we are the show for you. Each week, we share stories from athletes and people behind the scenes to help you have more fun watching the games. I am your host, Jill Jaracz, joined as always by my lovely co host, Alison Brown. Alison, hello. How are you?

Alison: I am doing mathematical equations. to establish the most aerodynamic podcasting position.

Jill: Now, we interviewed Mandy a while ago. Have you been working on these ever since?

Alison: I’m not very good at math.

And of course, then there’s differing heights to account for, and the size of your microphone. So yeah, there’s a lot of elements. To be aerodynamic on the air.

Jill: All right. Well, I will look forward to your results and the flow charts and presentation and maybe a poster that comes with it.

Alison: It will be

Alison: a PowerPoint presentation with animation and colors.

Jill: Oh, excellent. Looking forward to that. So yes, we are talking aerodynamics because we are going to be talking track cycling in a moment. But first I wanted to mention that, uh, we are coming up on another Patreon, patron episode. Uh, we’ll be taping Mascot Madness, our annual tournament of mascot champions.

So this, year is going to be a best of summer Olympics versus Paralympics. Very excited about this. And if you are a 10 a month patron, you get an invitation to the taping. You should have gotten a message about that, but we’re going to send another one out soon to remind everybody when it’s coming up.

If you are a 5 a month patron or more, you will get access to the show. And so this is a favorite of ours. I do love mascot madness.

Alison: Well, we get to visit all our favorite mascots again. That’s right. I have new stuffed mascots. They will make an appearance on the show. So if you join us, excellent to

Jill: see our friends.

Excellent. So be on the lookout for that.

Mandy Marquardt Interview

Jill: And now on to the rest of the show, we are talking with Mandy Marquardt, who is a professional track sprint cyclist. She has won 27 US national championships and holds six American records. She competes professionally for team Novo Nordisk on a team that consists of all diabetics. Mandy has type 1 diabetes and everyday proofs that diabetes does not dictate what she can achieve as an athlete. We talked with Mandy about track cycling, specifically the sprint races and how they work. Take a listen.

Mandy, thank you so much for joining us. So many questions about track cycling, but let’s start with the equipment first. Track cycling bike is a little bit different from a regular road bike or bike that we might ride around. Fixed gear, no brakes. What does that mean?

Mandy Marquardt: Fixed gear, no brakes. It’s definitely a lot safer, on the track because you don’t have any cars, right?

First of all, foremost. And you’re only turning left. So most tracks are Indoor wooden, 250 meters. So that’s the Olympic size standard velodrome that you see at the Olympics. There’s also outdoor concrete tracks, which are 333 meters different. There’s actually one in Cleveland, Ohio. That’s 160 meters.

So it’s a lot harder to ride. Have you ridden on that track? Yes. It was terrifying actually because I have to keep pedaling. Cause I’m like, Oh my God, I’m a sprinter, not an endurance cyclist. So I’m like, I only go for a certain amount of laps and I’m done. But I felt like I just had to keep going and going.

I couldn’t really enjoy riding my bike, but it was a cool experience, right? I got to say, I rode a smaller track and it’s a great community there. So track cycling, yeah, there’s no breaks and we change our own gear.

So we’re basically like mechanics. Except when we go to races, we get a bit spoiled and we have our team mechanics. I Got started on used equipment. Cause I feel like that’s always the best way to start just cause it’s such an expensive sport. It’s a big investment.

And so. yeah, that’s where I got my first bike from a former rider, her name was Betsy Davis. She was an awesome cyclist, all strength and a really great rider. now we have amazing bikes.

Alison: Without brakes. How do you stop?

Mandy Marquardt: It’s not like a beach cruiser where you just automatically stop, but you start to put resistance as the pedal is coming up.

You start to put resistance. back. And so it’s just, you can kind of feel it. You can kind of feel yourself slowing down gradually. It’s not just like a sudden stop. So you resist the pedal in the opposite direction.

Jill: And then the start, you’ve got somebody holding you. What is that like? Do they ever get in the way?

Alison: And are you picking that person or is that just an official?

Mandy Marquardt: So now these UCI, which is the Union cycling, international federation, some, they have now changed the rule that your coaches can now hold you at the line.

So it’s actually a bit better since it’s more consistent because sometimes I will say these officials aren’t the strongest or the fittest. And so you have these like strong people on bikes, you know, especially the sprinters. I’m a sprinter, not that I’m taking out the official, but it creates more consistency within a start.

And it’s, it’s not dangerous. Like in the sprints, you have the sprint qualification, which someone pushes you up track to, to get you on, to the surface. And then as a, In the qualification. You’re just doing it by yourself. You have a 200 meter qualification. So you against the clock and that sees you in the sprint tournament.

So each event has an, uh, you see people on the track. Yes, but they’re just in mass start events. They’re there to, to line up for the Omnium to kind of hold everybody in place because not everybody fits on the rail. So they also then. Go to the bottom of the track and it’s in the order of which you’re ranked in the Omnium.

So you’ll see the highest ranked rider usually towards the front. And the Kirin, , yeah, you get a push, you line up on the track not at the start finish, but at the pursuit line, you’re all lined up and then you get a push in to the race. So yeah, I mean, they’re definitely important that People are there like coaches and who you trust.

Jill: Okay. back to the bike. tHe frame, I understand, is stiffer. And everything tries to be as aerodynamic as possible. Is there something special about the frame or the construction?

And I know the wheels tend to be different and I should let you answer one question at a time, but sometimes the wheels are covered, sometimes they’re not.

How come?

Mandy Marquardt: So first with the road bike and the track bike really, so yeah, the bottom bracket needs to be really stiff on a track bike cause you’re putting down a lot of power and you don’t want anything flexing.

So there’s only a few track bikes that are made specifically and approved by the UCI. I mean, there’s more top of the line bikes, right? So you can definitely tell, like this frame that I have right now is about 15, 000 us and yeah, you can definitely tell the difference between a 3, 000 bike and a 15, 000 bike.

As far as stiffness, when you’re putting down a lot of power, you want the power to go right into the pedals and to move you in a, basically in the straight line versus the bike flexing. You can feel that it doesn’t feel good. and as far as like the components go. On a road bike, it’s easy and it’s fun to have shifting and it got really fancy.

There’s like now Di2 brakes and Di2 shifting and all, all these things. I’m like, I’m pretty basic. So when it goes to a road bike, it’s just too many things. I’d have to think about charging everything. I like the track bike. It’s so easy. It’s just, yeah, you have the frame, you have the wheels you have the chain, you have the chain rings, you have the crank, you have the pedals and the handlebars.

It’s just simple. , but everything is important on that bike. The handlebar width, typically, what the standard handlebar width for a road rider is like 41 centimeters or 40 centimeters, but on the track as a sprinter, you want to be aerodynamic. So it’s about anywhere from 30 to 35 centimeters.

So a lot more narrow handlebar width. And we have straps as sprinters because we don’t want to pull out of our pedals. Because we’re putting down so much power. So we have straps, kind of like a seat belt, but for our feet and shoes. And then when you said the wheels, you also see So they call them discs, or you can do double discs or rear disc and then a five spoke or now they have four spokes too.

Back then they, they had three spokes, but it’s all about stiffness too. Depends like what race, if you want more stiffness, you know, you go for the five spoke, four spoke is definitely lighter. So there’s always, yeah, there’s a lot of options in a sense but it makes it just more aerodynamic cause it’s all about aerodynamics on the track, everything.

From your position to your equipment, that’s just different from the road. Because on the track, there’s most races, endurance races are no more than 20 minutes or there’s time trials. So there’s just different events for different bikes, different equipment that you would use.

Alison: How much variation are you allowed to have within the wheels and the handlebar width just by the rules?

Mandy Marquardt: at every event, they have a jig, they call it. And so you have to be within the UCI limits. but as far as like handlebar width. They haven’t gotten too picky about that, typically different too, is the stack height, on the front, the head tube, is a bit bigger too for track bikes.

And you are seeing that actually now more on road bikes. The stack, the front where the handlebars, they’re just higher. So it’s, creating more, um, of ability to have more range in your position. Like on the track, my bike’s pretty long.

Like I have a large frame and a one 40 or one 35 stem. Like I want to be like my hip angle is different on the track too. I mean, yeah, there’s just so much that goes into components, but it’s pretty flexible. It’s within certain ranges that UC has limits, but they just want to make sure within that range for that specific sprint event or endurance event, like your bars aren’t out further because that could be more dangerous than a crash.

So it’s more also for safety reasons.

Jill: if your handlebars are narrower and your hips are at a specific angle, do you feel that like in your back? Because you’re, are you stretched out a little bit more and your hips are at a different angle? How do you feel that and how do you train for that?

Mandy Marquardt: Yeah, so on the sprint side, the position is so aggressive that really I can’t even be in it more than, it’s not comfortable. You can’t even be in it more than, I don’t know. 15 minutes or so. I mean, it’s not like where I need to get off my bike, but it’s just so aggressive, like the hip angle and how aerodynamic has your, you want like basically 90 degrees and you want the wind to just to go right, right.

Kind of by you and you want to be narrow and just, yeah, everything matters. And as far as like the road goes, you want to be comfortable. If I’m racing, it’s different. I don’t really race the road cause I’m a sprinter, but, I want to be comfortable on my road bike. Don’t care if I’m a little more upright, but on my track bike, yeah, I definitely notice when I am more aggressive and as far as like training goes, we spend a lot of time in the gym about in the off season, about four days a week.

And then we have double sessions. So there’s a lot of emphasis on. hips, glutes, quads back. It’s really a full body workout. When you’re on the track, cause when you’re a sprinter, I say sprinter, because there is differences between sprint and endurance cycling as I can speak more. So for sprint, because you’re putting down power in such a short amount of time and everything has to be basically rigid and stiff.

Not like you’re not moving the bike. It’s more of like your core, your ankles, your back, like everything. You feel everything in motion. Like, everything always is firing.

Jill: If your leg’s a piston, you want it to be, you want the different components of the piston to be as straight as possible to get the most power down. Correct?

Mandy Marquardt: Correct. And shoes matter too. I have full carbon shoes, They’re not comfortable where I’d go on a road ride with them, but it’s full carbon shoes that I am putting down power and I want that power transfer to be direct into my pedals and yeah, I don’t want to lose any power.

So is it stiff like a ski boot? it’s carbon. And so it’s a mold of my foot. it’s like so light too. It’s not like it would break, but it’s, it’s basically my like Cinderella slipper. Like no one’s going to fit into the shoe other than my foot.

Alison: Okay, we said 15, 000 for the bike. How much for the

shoes?

Mandy Marquardt: so I did not pay for the bike. I’m very fortunate that we have Look as a USA Cycling sponsor for the program, which is huge. An amazing sponsorship because now we all look like a team and we’re performing. Really great now with this and yeah, they’re on board with us through 2028, which is huge.

So thankful for that sponsorship. And it’s one of the best bikes out there on the track. As far as the shoes go, that was out of my own pocket. But yes, that is basically a 3, 000 shoe. One of the most expensive shoes I own. Yeah, well, you know, like,

Jill: We like to ask how much this stuff costs because people don’t realize how expensive being an elite athlete is, and sometimes for certain sports, there’s not much pay on the other end. But, yeah, that makes perfect sense. So because they’re carbon, are you basically walking flat footed? Like, they don’t move if your foot flexes, do they?

Mandy Marquardt: No, they don’t move and it’s, right to my, molded.

A gentleman down in Florida, he is Simmons Racing. He makes all the shoes. He also, I have another pair that I do use as like a training shoe more, so I’m not always in the carbon shoes. But it’s exact mold of my foot and, Yeah. It’s a little bit more comfortable. It’s, it’s carbon, but there’s some more padding in the shoe and the material is a bit of leather too.

So yeah, that’s a nice looking shoe. It’s, it’s aerodynamic. And soon as I’m done, I get right back into my flip flops.

Alison: So how many bikes do you have at once and how many shoes do you have at once?

Mandy Marquardt: Yeah. I was just saying when we travel we do not travel light, like my team and I were about nine athletes.

and then coaches and mechanics, but we have 47 pieces of equipment. So you always hope that all makes it there. And it usually does. We’re really, we’re organized. We’ve got it down.

Jill: is there an element that you say this comes on the plane with me?

Mandy Marquardt: Yeah, my shoes. I just sometimes worry.

I don’t want TSA to smash them or them to get smashed because we have to pack our own road bikes. These road bikes that go with us are our personal road bikes and they’re more of like our bikes to cool down or to get to and from the hotel to the velodrome. Yeah, so. Just make it simple as possible.

I have a really great box. It’s an Enviro bike box, so I don’t have to take the back wheel off. It just stays on. I just have to take my front wheel off. I don’t have to mess with the derailleur. It’s so great. And I just take the handlebars and rotate them and take the pedals off. But to answer your question, I travel with two helmets.

So one’s a race helmet and the one’s a training helmet. And then I typically travel with three. Track shoes. Well, three shoes, three cycling shoes, not personal. We can, that’s usually I’m, that’s a whole other conversation then. Yeah. I’m traveling very light. Cause everything’s just like, okay, I got my three shoes.

My two track shoes, basically the other Simmons I have are like my backups and then my road shoes. Cause if it rains or we. If I go for a road ride, I don’t want to use my track shoes because I like track cycling because it’s like super clean. You don’t have to worry about ever getting dirty.

, we don’t have to pack chain rings or spare tires and all that because the national team, when we go to races, they do all that. So I’m like, thank God, because that’s just all the little knickknacks that come with the sport. You can think of tubes, and chain rings, and chains, and it’s just a lot of equipment.

But, um, yeah, and then there’s skin suits, and kit, and extra kit, and spare this, it’s a long list.

Alison: Do you wear anything under the shoes?

Mandy Marquardt: yEs. I wear socks. But my shoes, my carbon shoes, are covered because I wear aero covers. Cause I wear straps too. So like I have this system where I. I put my shoe on, I have my shoe covers.

And then when I get on the bike, I put my shoe covers over my strap. So like, you know, my strap to hold down my foot, it’s like a nice routine. I just like, but when I get off the bike, that is the worst because I come in and My coach or somebody like grabs my hand and kind of slows me down.

It’s like a slingshot almost a bit where I like get onto the railing. But then I’m like trying to get the shoe cover off my shoe and I’m like breathing heavy. And it’s always like stressful that moment. I always just remember it. And I’m like, Oh God, I don’t like this. I can, I just want to get off my bike, but the system is, is down.

But just not getting off my bike. So you don’t get stuck? No, I just, I mean I get stuck for a moment until like my shoe cover goes off, like over, and then I can take my strap off because my foot’s like, can’t get all the pedals. So imagine I’m like stuck at a light. I would be just doing a track sand or something.

or I’d fall over.

Alison: We talked about the bike, we talked about the shoes. Let’s talk about the helmet. They’re very distinct. What’s it made of? Why is it the way it is?

Mandy Marquardt: So we have a training helmet and a race helmet, a training helmet’s.

Definitely just more comfortable. You can use it on the road, on the tracks. Just same helmet you can use for both. As far as the aerodynamics go, we have the helmets. And so you see the similar helmets though on the road and the track, there’s not too much of a difference, but there are like specifically like more aerodynamic helmets.

And so for the track we have a Giro sponsorship and it’s a great helmet. I like it. And Yeah the magnet, the visor clips, like it, the comes off and then it clips on the helmet. So like when I’m done, I can just put it on or actually when you, before you go up to race, you can’t have your eyes covered.

It’s more for like, to make sure you’re the rider and, and also for TV when they take photos or they don’t want your eyes covered until you, then you go up and then you put your shield on. that’s like game mode.

Alison: Is it custom molded to your head or is it generic sizes?

Mandy Marquardt: No, it’s generic. But it’s cool. Like the Giro helmet. Has like a little pocket in the back cause I can fit my ponytail. That is cool. I got a system. That’s important. I got a system for my, the hair is important. It’s, so it’s a good helmet for, if you got a lot of hair.

Jill: So with the face shield, is that also for aerodynamics because your nose makes a. The block basically,

Mandy Marquardt: yeah, yeah. For aerodynamics, but also like on the track as a sprinter, when, if you’ve seen the races where you ride cat and mouse, you rotate your head. You still want it to be aerodynamic when you rotate. And then also just visibility. It’s just the gyro just kind of comes all the way around more.

Nothing’s like disturbing my view. I

Alison: was going to say, you need the peripheral vision to see the other riders next to you, slightly next to you and behind.

Mandy Marquardt: Yeah. So helmet, deciding on a helmet’s really important.

I mean, for, of course, comfort, aerodynamics, but they’re pretty similar for road and track. It’s really just what you prefer.

Jill: I want to go to the track real quick. So it’s banked and a lot of them are wooden, but you also talked about concrete. What’s the feel of riding on a wood or synthetic track compared to concrete?

Mandy Marquardt: So I live in Trexertown, Pennsylvania, and I grew up actually in Florida and that track down there is concrete. So I grew up on concrete and I came up here to go to school and I trained on this concrete track and it’s more of a power track. it’s not as steep. So you’re definitely having to put more power through the turns because the power, the turns give you extra like free speed on an outdoor track.

That’s not as banked. You continually have to put down power. So it’s great for certain training blocks, but when you go indoors, then you’re like refining and You’re working more on speed and technical aspect of it. So yeah, you feel the G forces a lot more too when we’re doing like motor efforts, when we’re chasing the motorcycle for certain efforts, like almost like 75 to 80 K an hour, it gets pretty intense and you feel the speeds a lot more on an indoor track because the turns are just so much tighter too.

Alison: So how fast are you going? In a race just generally,

Mandy Marquardt: typically we reach speeds up to 45 miles an hour. and the sprint tournament, too, it’s, it’s about getting your opponent to commit to their, the race before you basically to commit to their sprint. it’s all about tactics too, and using the track, like physics of the track and just knowing your opponent.

I don’t know what gear they’re riding, you know, I know what gear I’m riding, so I have to use my strength and think about like how I wanna get to the next race.

Alison: Well, I have a G-Force question. So if the inside, is it inside or bottom? How do you describe when you’re talking about the track?

Mandy Marquardt: like the inside, you mean?

So there’s the sprinters lane closest to the,

Jill: the, yeah, the closest to the center.

Mandy Marquardt: So the closest to the center of versus. Okay. Yeah. So what is. There’s the same, it’s the same, I know when you’re looking at the track, it looks steeper, but it’s the same steepness on the bottom of the track as it is at the top.

So usually you can tell like how slow you can go at different tracks because there’s different tracks. They’re not all the same because they have different builders. Some tracks are 43 degrees, some are 45, some are 46. Some have tighter churns, some have wider churns. every tracks built a bit different, so you can kind of gauge to some are grippier, some are as grippy like LA, where we train was just resurfaced.

So hopefully it’s a little grippy. It was a little bit slippery. Just cause it’s hasn’t been, resurfaced in 20 years. So it’s, it’s dirty too, but I’m excited to try it. So

Alison: do you feel more G force going on the inside versus being a little higher up on the track?

Mandy Marquardt: Yes. Yeah, definitely. Cause as you go higher, it’s wider and Yeah, at the, in the sprinters lane where we do most of our efforts and especially with the motor, you’ll, yeah, it just, you go into turn 1 and you’re already coming out of turn 2.

It just, it whips you. But yeah, you have to learn to stay pretty relaxed too and like in your upper body, not to try to like oversteer. So it’s definitely a sport that’s very technical to it takes a while to learn, even if you’re a cyclist and you want to get into a racing on the track, it takes some time to learn and feel the track.

Jill: You started getting into tactics let’s get into the sprint race because I think a lot of our listeners don’t understand why a good portion of this race is not fast if it’s a sprint, because it’s 750 meters, but only the last 200, 250, last 200 are timed. So walk us through. What this race is all about.

Mandy Marquardt: It’s my favorite event actually that I compete in and we start with a 200 meter qualification. So we’re on the track alone. We get pushed up. So usually you get. seated off of your world ranking, depending on when you go, say it’s a world championships.

Usually you’ll see the faster riders towards the end and the times are getting faster. And then they usually say take the top 28. That go through to the sprint tournament. So a lot of people like travel a long way and don’t make it through the sprint tournament. So it’s really important that you nail down a good time because then it determines where you are seated.

So a higher you finish in your qualification time, the better. So then it’s like March madness where you bracket through and you race like the one through 16th final. And. usually top four get a buy. So it’s great if you make the top four, it depends like how many athletes there are. So that’s another thing to how many athletes there are.

Usually like if all are racing or four people get a buy, , then you meet them in the one eighth final and then they have quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. But the first two rides, the 1 16 final and the 1 8, it’s just a final. It’s just one ride. So you have to win those. So yeah, I usually see people get pushed up.

One’s on the bottom, one’s at the top at the start finish, and before that happens, You have to pick on an iPad, like, you push your name, and then you kind of, at random, it’s like a card, and you push it, and it’s like, okay, I’m, I’m one, and then my opponent’s two, and then that means I’m like, okay, then you have to start thinking.

Like, you have to think both scenarios before you go up one or two. Okay, I’m the faster qualifier, say, right? And then I’m looking, okay, I want to control this race. I just, I want to get it done. It’s one ride. You like, don’t make any mistakes. So I don’t go right from the gun because I also have the rest of the sprint tournament that I have to race through.

So it’s quarter finals, semifinals and finals. Are best of three. So that’s already nine races. Say if I go to a decider for all of those. So that’s nine, 10, 11, that’s 11 sprints in a day, sometimes over two days. I get three laps. So sometimes you’ll see it go really slow. It’s a kind of a lot of mind games too. You kind of get pushed off. And then sometimes people slow up right away and then that person has to really backpedal and it kind of hurts your legs a bit. Cause you’re like on a big gear or you just kind of roll it a bit quick.

And then you want to get up on the track and the back straight. And it’s all about slowly building your pace. Cause if you sprint, slow down, sprint, like it’s just, it’s not ideal. So it’s about building your sprint, your, like riding your race, but keeping an eye on your opponent as position one on the track and making sure that I have position to commit to their sprint before I commit.

Or taking their speed away by going up track and matching their speed. So it’s a lot of like tactical stuff. people can go underneath you. So it’s about protecting the bottom. so yeah, you don’t want to go, you know what you can do. And usually the race is already building with let’s say about 350 meters or 500 meters to go.

Like you’re starting to kind of pick up pace. Plus you’re on a big gear that’s two laps to go. And then when you hit the back straight, that’s a lap and a half to go. So coming in the bell lap. You want to gain height and have in kind of know where your opponent is and yeah, like either the sprints already happening there, but then it’s a drag race or you’re committing at a certain point in the track.

yeah, so it’s all about timing. committing, having the other rider commit. I know there’s, there’s a lot, but it depends where, if you’re positioned, if you drop position one or position two, but yeah, say I win, I go to the next round, same thing. My tactics can change.

Depending on if I drop position one or two or who I’m racing now, if they’re matched, I kind of want to take position one because it’s harder to come around somebody that’s faster than me, unless like I’ve actually. Like, tactically have qualified a little bit slower, but have had photo finishes and even beaten faster riders just off of tactics too.

So sometimes people are pretty crafty and you’ll see that. And sometimes like you just got to be on the whole time. It’s like something you can’t, you can’t shut down from.

Alison: Why do you want the other rider to commit first?

Mandy Marquardt: then that means they’re at speed and they’ve already basically hit their top speed, their top power, and then they’re slowly, they’re starting to decline.

say I want to hit my top speed between one and two with one to go. between one and two because I know I can hold on to that. I can hold on to that until the finish. A lot of people like prefer a shorter sprint. There’s some riders that prefer shorter sprints. I like more of the longer sprint.

Like I will take you long. There’s some that like prefer the Like getting the race started later. Yeah, it just depends on your kind of strength and, um, you always got to play to your strength rather than like you ride your race and not their race.

Jill: How much does gear selection factor into. Any race, like even in earlier rounds versus later rounds

Mandy Marquardt: Yes. Gear selection in the earlier rounds is a little bit smaller just because I’m, riding someone that isn’t, as quick as me say if I was the faster qualifier, then I would pick a bit of a, maybe four to six inches smaller than the gear that I would ride in the finals. Cause then they’re more matched.

And I know my strength is like more of a, a longer race. So I like having like more gear. I have to build that earlier because it’s a bigger gear. I have to get on top of it earlier.

Alison: How much does knowing the style of your opponent play into your decisions versus riding your own race?

Mandy Marquardt: That, yeah, that’s a great question because, you know, you don’t want to get caught up with riding their race. You want to ride your race. So I ride to my strength of like, I want this to be. not a drag race, but it’s, going to be hard. Like I will make it difficult. it hurts, but it’s like one of those things. It’s just been always a strong suit. And so when I ride or when I race someone that has a good acceleration, I want to take that acceleration out. So I do that by. By building the race out earlier, so they can’t really do the, an acceleration because I took it out.

But if there’s a rider that’s kind of matched that likes the longer sprint, then I focus to more on. building the race earlier, but also like making sure I’m using the track, to my advantage and not going down to the bottom early, but I stay up high so I can use the track to my advantage and also use the track to get free speed.

Cause as you go down track, you get faster. As you go up track, you slow down. So it’s like using the track to give you free speed.

Alison: You had referred to it before as cat and mouse, which I have heard announcers use. So is that kind of the General term that people use when they talk about that portion of the race.

Mandy Marquardt: I would say not sprint cyclists. They’re not like, Oh, I’m doing cat and mouse, but yeah, that’s the best way, if you were to describe it, that’s what it is. And that’s what people see. A lot of people are always like, why do you go so slow? And then all of a sudden you go fast, but it’s just like, well, we’re racing 11 times in a day.

And yeah, it’s, just doesn’t happen like that. Like we have three laps. We’re not going to go all out.

Jill: and I think it helps to. When you understand that only the last 200 meters is timed, but they give you, time to kind of warm up in that race. that helps understand it too.

Mandy Marquardt: Kind of, yeah, you can see how fast a ride went by the 200 meter time. So you can see, oh, that was like a pretty quick ride. So you’ll see towards the finals, these rides getting faster. Because they’re riding people who are more matched, so they’re riding these big years. You can’t just go from the gun like that on a big year.

I mean, you could, but you’ll just end up dying off and you’re just leading out the other person that you’re racing. Right? So it’s, yeah, using the track, um, knowing. You got to build the gear, you got to build into the gear and that’s, yeah, that, and, and use the track to your advantage. it Just like makes sense.

Why would you want to go from the gun or like when you get pushed off, knowing that I got a race, like nine more times, if I want to make it all the way to the final, I’m like, okay, if I’m like, maybe it’s something I would just do just knowing, okay, this rider is so much faster. I’m not going to beat them at all.

But I’ve never actually done that. You actually see that in collegiate racing more like people doing these random things because it’s a skill like sprint cycling, like sprint tactics is something you got to learn. And so like in collegiate cycling, you’ll see like random things happening. Like they’ll go from the gun or they’re not looking back.

So it’s like, how do you see what’s going on? So it’s definitely like different. It’s a cool sport. Cause that’s how I first got involved in sprint cycling. Like I didn’t know. Really about it until I did collegiate cycling. And I was like, Oh, it’s actually pretty cool, but I didn’t understand it. I was like, you ride 200 meters and then you don’t race at all anymore.

Like, why does, how does that make sense? It’s so much fun. And I wish I did learn it when I was younger. Cause I grew up like doing endurance cycling, actually.

Alison: Are there rules regarding passing each other?

Mandy Marquardt: Yes. It depends on which event, so in the sprint, you can pass them you can’t make contact, like, intentional contact, like, you can’t headbutt them, like, the early days, or you can’t, like, take them out, it’s just different today, there’s definitely, you can’t intentionally hurt them.

Jill: Wait, you can’t headbutt them, like, in the early days. We can’t let that go

Mandy Marquardt: people use a headbutt each other. Oh, yeah, you gotta look at these videos, Like Marty Nothstein. Like what are we talking about? Time wise? Like the 80s. Oh They’re racing. You got to look up like track sprint cycling Sprint 80s yeah, you get some aggressive rides They’re like big guys on bikes and they’re like moving each other around and they’re on smaller gears back then actually they weren’t on these big gears now and it’s just the racing is so much different but so much more aggressive. Now it’s more of like horsepower and drag racing and but back then it was more like a show which is cool. Yeah.

Jill: Kieran, I’m fascinated with the Kieran, partially because you got that pacer.

how does that work and how does your strategy work in the Kieran?

Mandy Marquardt: The Kieran was originated in Japan. In Japan, you can bet on riders. So it’s like horse racing. It’s cool. It’s not fixed at all. I mean, you’ll see like everybody’s on the same bike, same helmet, like similar helmets.

It’s like very standard because they’re betting money, but in the Kirin at world championships or world cup Olympics you’ll see it’s a bit different in that way. it’s six riders. And so before it can be up to seven, but it’s usually six and you’ll have four rounds and then say like the top two go through to the quarterfinals or semifinals depends on how many riders they have in the Olympics.

They have more racing opportunities. so there’s more rounds, but before you go up and you line up at the pursuit line, you draw your place where you’ll line up. So it’s always nerve wracking because you draw one, you’re like, Oh, great. I got the motor and you got like all the speed behind you.

But if you draw two, you’re like, okay. Like every tactic. In your head changes like three is the best spot because you can have an eye on to the two riders and head of you and then the two riders and back of you or yeah, the rest of the riders in the back of you. You can see more what’s going on.

yeah, if you’re all the way in the back, then you have to make your move early to come around. It’s definitely like, A luck, race sometimes because you can follow wheels and get through to the next round. You got to read the race really quickly. A lot’s happening. It’s definitely one of the most dangerous races because speeds are changing.

And sometimes, yeah, like you clip someone’s wheel, , or like you’ll impede basically, like you’ll make contact and there’s some wiggling and then maybe it throws someone else off and. They’re a bigger rider hitting like a smaller rider. It’s not intentional, but it just can happen when speed changes. And you’re like, I want to get ahead.

Like I want that spot. So it’s definitely more of an aggressive race. Physically that is like my race, but like mentally, sometimes I hold back because I’ve just seen so many crashes and so many things. I’m like, I still got a race. I’m not willing to make that risk, but I do love that event.

And it’s definitely an event that has pulled me out of my comfort zone sometimes. yeah, it’s definitely like a more of an ego event where you just got to like, leave the fear behind and just go with instinct. But it’s an interesting race because every race is different and even how the heats are like, oh, that’s an easier heat or that’s a harder heat.

Cause you have 3 strong riders, but you’re always looking where the speed is and things are moving really quickly. People are going from 2nd to 5th. Middle and like, it’s just things are happening. So the derny rider that you saw in the front. So kind of went a little bit backwards on explaining it, but the derny rider is there to bring the race up to speed.

So you have six laps total and every lap, the derny rider. So he’s there for three laps. So he’ll pull off with three to go back in the day. It used to be, , two and a half, but now it’s changed the race. Cause there, now there’s two accelerations happening now, , in the race, so it’s a bit different now.

they drop you off at about 35 miles an hour. So it’s like around 42 K an hour. So 45. It feels not so fast. It’s like a good speed, but everything just slows down anyway. Like the motor pulls off, everything slows down and people are looking at each other and you want racing room because.

You don’t want to be like caught up on somebody, , like on their wheel. And as a rider’s coming by, you want to have the room racing room to go with them. So there’s just a lot to think about in that positioning, but it’s better to be always towards the front, but then you don’t want to lead out the race.

Right.

Jill: You talked about writing, on an ego and instinct, but that seems like a long period of time to. Have instincts take over.

So how do you train mentally and prepare mentally for that race?

Mandy Marquardt: By just racing. racing that race is the best way to do it in training. You can practice the sprints, the tactics, the, the team event is the team sprint, the standing starts, you can practice all that, but the Kieran, you got to just race it and there’s racing reps, racing opportunities.

sometimes it just takes a race to kind of shake out the nerves. but yeah, it’s one of those that you just. You kind of watch videos and you study a bit, you go off of your strength and where you are in the race and thinking, okay, like I’m position one, maybe let a rider come by me, and then defend that spot.

Or if I’m in the back, I have to make a move to the front. So you’re kind of have a certain range of things that you need to be aware of and do. But yeah, if you go off of instinct too, of like. You got to react to the move before the move happens kind of thing. Like you got to go, but like you make the move or somebody else makes the move.

So yeah, it’s definitely like a stressful race. Cause it’s everybody’s like, they only take top two or top three. Right. And it’s one of those races. It’s, I can finish sometimes and be like, man, I didn’t go a hundred percent. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s just like, I wish I pushed, like, I wish I made that move a bit earlier, or I wish like.

So sometimes I kind of regroup and I’m like Dang, I had more in me, but yeah, so it’s just about timing and feeling like you got to ride your race. Like having that same confidence in the sprint tournament, but then having five other people that you have to like watch out for. It’s like, you don’t want to lead it out and die before the finish.

yeah, you don’t get stuck in the wind.

Jill: I was

going to say dying during a race and losing everything. It can’t be fun, but what is it like to watch somebody else, one of your competitors

Mandy Marquardt: just fall apart on the racetrack?

I mean, it’s always like, you don’t want to see someone just, not do well.

Maybe you’re like, Oh, maybe she just like had a hard training block. Maybe she’s sick or like your mind goes to like, that’s not typically like that rider style, you know? But yeah, I mean, it’s definitely like, okay, good. They’re not on to the next round, but I am, I don’t have to race them, but it’s, it’s still a process.

Like everybody goes through processes. I’ve, been in races where I thought I was going to race a certain person and then they got relegated. Even though they were like the better qualifier, but it’s like, Oh, well, like that you, you raced kind of dirty, the officials called it, it’s part of it.

And then I had an easier ride on the next one and then I went on, but it’s, just kind of how it is.

Alison: You always turn left. Are you very imbalanced and how do you prevent that imbalance? Like, is one leg much bigger than the other?

Mandy Marquardt: I always say, because we always turn left, I have imbalances. Like, I notice this, , when I do, like, single leg plyometrics or single leg exercises.

Like, I’ve had to do physical therapy and Pilates, to kind of focus on these imbalances and a lot of it is like core and like obviously the quad hamstring discrepancies they’re not visually bigger but i’m like this side’s definitely stronger than this side so there’s a lot of working on plyometrics and everything that we do is just like lift heavy go fast.

I like Pilates. I like yin yoga so it’s more restorative stretching. , it’s definitely helped me a lot. I’m a bit, I don’t know, as you could say, they always call me a veteran. Out there. I don’t know whether to be offended or have it be like, Oh, that feels great.

Like the experienced or the veteran. I know I’m 32 and I’ve been in the sport for a bit, but it’s been a different route for me. Like then you’re typical. I dunno. yeah, I got into sprinting when I was in 2013. So I had no idea what I was doing for like two years.

Jill: Well, and, I mean, veteran is such a coded word, isn’t it? Like, they want to say, oh, you’re old, basically. But the thing is that we understand the body more and more, and you can be elite for longer and longer. And I’m always amazed at how the media’s like, whoa, they’re so old. But, the body can do so many amazing things. , and be at high performance for so much longer than we thought it could be today.

Mandy Marquardt: Yeah. Yeah. No, it’s true though. In general today that there’s like more emphasis on like recovery, nutrition.

So I have type one diabetes and so I’m very aware of my blood sugars all the time. And so that has obviously a big effect on like my energy and like my training. but. Yeah, I feel like, yes, I’ve been in the sport for a long time, but I have also like, been an endurance cyclist. I was, I did triathlons.

you know, I got into, to, track cycling. First, before road cycling, because my parents thought it was safer to learn the track, which is true. it was very true. Okay. Yeah. But, um, yeah, it’s always just, it’s been the sports also growing, right? The gears have gotten bigger over the years. The equipment’s always changing. So I just feel like my body is, I take care of it. Like I go. To massage therapy once a week. I have a great partnership with the local hospital here with St. Luke’s and I’ve done like PT. Like I just feel like I’ve created like a really good network to stay healthy. knock on wood, like I haven’t had anything serious and I haven’t.

I’m not really slowing down just yet. And, if we have a, a lot of younger athletes in the program now, and, , they’re great, they’ve helped me raise my game in the program and I’ve helped them and, it’s amazing to see the team event that we have, the team sprint where we just won a silver medal at the Pan American games.

how far we’ve gotten together in a year and a half. So I think having a great team and like a motivating factor is the Olympics in 2028 for me to keep going. Of course, like, I think about like, when do I start a family and all those other things. But, um, yeah, it’s just I’m doing the best that I can.

Right. That’s all you can do.

Alison: Talk for a minute about the type 1 diabetes because I don’t want to, I don’t want to miss that because that is probably the question

that you’re going to get a lot, unfortunately. But how does that play in and how does that make you more aware of what’s going on with your body?

Mandy Marquardt: Yeah, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 16. So it took me a few years to really get a grasp on how to control my blood sugars. I had no idea. What to do at first. I was actually living in Germany at the time because I have also German citizenship and my dad’s German, so I was, I moved from Florida to Germany, , to live with my father and race internationally because I wanted to get race experience in Germany.

And so it was there that I was diagnosed through some routine blood work and BO2 max testing. I didn’t even see it coming. I didn’t have any symptoms that I was aware of. And so then I went to the hospital for two weeks and they definitely diagnosed me with type one and I met with all the doctors and, had a doctor also tell me, , that I would never be able to compete at a high level in my sport.

And so, like mentally, that was just a really difficult time. , I knew that I enjoyed riding my bike and I was like, okay, I just want to ride my bike because exercise is great for type one diabetes, type two diabetes, like in general, it’s great. And yeah, I learned through the years, like, okay, maybe I can keep taking it up a notch a bit and race again.

And then I found Team Nova Nordisk back in 2010 and my whole perspective just changed. I’m like, Oh my God, there’s other athletes with type one diabetes. people understand like on the team, the directors, the managers. I’m like, this is so good. I’m learning from them.

And so, yeah, I was just being surrounded by other people with type one. and then endurance cycling, like how to ride like three hours without bonking basically. so there’s just been a lot of trial and error and it’s something I’m always continuing when you add in variables like time zones and just racing in South America where like , the nutrition is not always the greatest, like your availability to food.

but it’s made me more aware. Yeah, in general, like I know more athletes too, , they’re tracking their blood sugars, right? Like for their performance gains. Not that there’s much of a gain to me to be type one, but, , it’s definitely helped me become more aware of my body.

Jill: Does being on an all diabetic team, not just help you, but help you raise the lens of being an athlete who has diabetes to other people?

Mandy Marquardt: Absolutely. I think too. A part of this journey is I’ve met so many amazing athletes and just people who look up to the team who send us messages like, thank you for giving me that hope and inspiration to, you know, ride my bike. And, and it’s great to see other people also competing at this high level and, and being an inspiration and, showing the world what you can do with type one diabetes, like, thank you for being that example in that voice.

And I didn’t really understand when I was diagnosed, like the direction of my life or what would happen or that I even wanted to go to the Olympics, but I feel like there’s this calling, like it’s definitely been, just so fulfilling to be able To train and do what I love and be an inspiration for others But also like I’ve met a lot of type ones who inspire me and it’s just the community’s just grown because yeah, it’s important to have somebody to lean on and it’s not always easy, but At least you’re like, okay, like, yeah, my teammates are doing this today.

like they’re racing the tour of, you know, somewhere in the world, like the men’s pro team races all over the world. And so I’m happy to be able to do what I do on the track and reach a lot of people. , and yeah, I’ve been able to be successful with Type 1 Diabetes. I mean, I have 27 national titles.

And five American records and two Pan American games medals with type one diabetes. And I don’t credit exactly like all of my accomplishments, but it’s. To be able to be so disciplined to like able to accomplish these things where when I was told I couldn’t just makes it that much sweeter.

So,

Alison: I’m getting emotional. Don’t mind me. Oh, okay. No, because I’m thinking about the little, no, because I’m thinking about the little kid who’s going to hear you say that and she just got diagnosed and somebody told her she can’t do it. And she can say, look at Mandy. She did it.

Mandy Marquardt: I actually was on a call.

Actually was on a call with a mother and her daughter, about a week ago. And her, her mom has gotten involved in the JDRF , in Florida. And she saw that I was originally from Florida, just Googled like athletes type one diabetes because her daughter’s like very active. She’s seven years old. So I was FaceTiming with her and her mom and yeah, you could just see her like light up and talk about , her continuous glucose monitor and how her teacher has also diabetes.

And it’s, classmates like know if she needs to leave for a snack, like being able to. talk about it at that age, like that was inspiring to me. And like, it takes a village, like the family, the doctors, and so I was diagnosed at 16. So to see someone so young handle it so well, like, I’m like, Oh my God, you’re like a little superhero.

Jill: wHat does qualification look like for you?

Mandy Marquardt: Yes. So Olympic qualification is a bit condensed now since 2020. So actually going into 2020. it was me and another athlete who were going for the individual spots.

So the sprint and the Kieran spot, cause they have a team sprint event. It’s really confusing. , so you look at team sprint and it’s the top eight teams. So you look at the countries, you don’t qualify for the Olympics as an individual. You qualify as a nation. So you look at the top eight teams.

And the team sprint and then like the countries. then in the individual events, you take out those countries, like Germany, China, you take them out of the individual events, and then you look at the countries say like Belgium and Italy, who don’t have team sprint teams, , and you see where they’re ranked.

So going into the world championships in 2019. We were 7th or 6th or 7th in the Kirin who my teammate focused was more on the Kirin. And yeah, I had some races that we both of our races that season contributed like sprint Kirin to Olympic qualification. So then we were like focusing obviously on individual.

, then we kind of focused more on the sprint side. So going into the world championships, the United States was 5th. I had such a long season. Because other teams, other countries have like B riders, A riders, right? But we were going to everything. , we raced nationals, we raced UCI events in the summer.

so basically my season was June to March. I was fried. By the time I got to, to Worlds, I was like, Oh my God, I don’t know if I can hold on to my form. I was a bit scared. And, um, yeah, I didn’t do so great. And, , finished seventh for the United States. So we were like seventh, meaning like overall, like for the Olympic.

qualification, but if you look at continental quota spots, they take the top six, basically like they take top six because Africa gets this one of the sprint spots. I don’t understand why they can’t just add Africa to like as an additional. So like just take the, take top eight. Instead of top seven for sprint and Karen.

So basically in the sprint, I had to be top six and the United States had to be top six. So I, I missed out on the Olympics. I definitely like battled a bit too, for the caring spot, just because I did contribute to that. And I, there was like some results, , that there were races that I competed in, but.

the other rider had, she’d earned it too, but it was just hard cause I like wanted both of us to go. so it was just hard to miss out on the Olympics basically like by one spot. And then contribute to the Olympic qualification and have somebody else go to, even though like they also contributed.

So I was like, okay. And then, yeah, our program got a bit bigger. Like we got funding, we got a new coach. Because before it was just me and the other athlete kind of just hanging on like with the endurance team, like we’re sprinters just doing our own thing. So it was like financially and like logistically harder.

And now we have a program and I’m like, now we have support. Now we have a new CEO of USA cycling. We have a great track director, Craig Griffin. We have an awesome cycling coach, Aaron Hartwell. Like we have a program and it’s like, it takes time. But we’ve made like some pretty considerable gains in the last two years from meddling at the Pan American championships, which is part of Olympic qualification, to the Pan American games doesn’t hold any Olympic qualification for us, but it’s just helps with funding, , and just.

Opportunities for our program. And so, right now, we have the team sprint, which is like a big focus for us, but. We’re still like a new team and there’s a couple of, , younger riders who are still developing. So speed wise, as a team, we’re not there yet, but for 2028, I think we would be for team sprint for sure.

We’ve made a lot of good gains in a short amount of time. And we’re still targeting these next couple of races as a team, but I think the focus might be more individual and that might be. We’re ranked better. The United States is ranked better right now on the sprint. Then the Karen, even though I do both races, , like I said, the sprints, one of my favorites, and right now we’re sitting seventh, but I’m okay with that because I have three more races I’m not counting myself. I’m saying the United States, cause I still have to then be selected. But, the goal is for me to be selected. And so the goal is to be kind of strategic about which races like we’re picking, cause we have three world cups coming up, but only two counts.

So then I’m like, talk to my coach. these are the two that I think I want to do because Pan Ams is like right in between, but , it’s better to hold my form for a month and try to carry it for like two, three months. yeah, it’s like strategic, but I feel like good about the direction. And so the goal is

Get into the top six. Cause that quota spot goes to Africa and which is an Egyptian rider who’s racing the sprint. It’s just how the Olympics works. It’s all continents, , are represented. So it’s sad that , , the colonel quota spot has to come from the sprint.

I don’t understand why it can’t be from the Kieran or why can it be added, but that’s just how it is. So, yeah, we’re sitting seventh right now in the sprint. We’re in it and it’s the process. , but three more races and I, I just want to get there. I want to get to Paris so badly.

Jill: well, you will have Shukla Stan cheering for you.

Mandy Marquardt: Thank you. It’s a slow and steady process. Kind of like the sprint tournament until things just happen really fast. Exactly.

Jill: Exactly. I know this has nothing to do with anything but one, one of our very burning questions.

jeans. You have very powerful thighs. , what jeans fit?

Mandy Marquardt: Uh, Lululemon tights. Oh,

Jill: yeah, really? Like, we won’t even go? I mean, really, we’ve talked to gymnasts about , how hard it is to wear a shirt, button down shirts.

You have the opposite problem with how hard is it to find jeans.

Mandy Marquardt: It’s super hard. I am so happy about this new trend. It’s like the baggy jean trend. I’m like, I’m in it. I’m like, this is, I’m all about it. And this is, I’m sticking with this trend. Yeah. I have found some good jeans at Target. yeah, I’m sometimes in between sizes.

Cause I’m like, my waist is smaller. But then my quads, it’s just tight around my quads. It’s the quads. Yeah. I mean, like, it’s just, it’s not comfortable. I feel like they’re suffocating my legs. Like jeans are not what I go for. , typically. Yeah. So I prefer the Lululemon vibe, but yeah, it’s the loose baggy jeans for me.

Alison: Yeah. I see. I see a post, , racing career for you and maybe a, um, a long track speed skater to come up with this clothing line. That fits small waist, bigger thighs.

Mandy Marquardt: Yes. Yeah. I love, I love clothes. I like Lululemon and Free People and all those things like comfortable, but stylish. I like it. all right.

Jill: Thank you so much, Mandy. We so appreciate this.

Mandy Marquardt: of course.

Jill: Thank you so much, Mandy. You can follow Mandy on Instagram and ex she is at my at Mandy Marquardt and at Timo Norden. You can follow Mandy on Instagram and X. She is at Mandy Marquardt and at Team Novo Nordisk on Facebook. She is Mandy Marquardt Cycling and her website is mandymarquardt. com. Mandy will be competing in three races between March and April and hopes of helping the U.

  1. earn quota spots for Paris 2024. Those will be March 15th through 17th. There is a UCI Nations Cup in Hong Kong, April. 3 through 7th, there will be the Pan American Track Championships in Carson, California. And April 12th through 14th will be another UCI Nations Cup in Milton, Canada. So best of luck to you, Mandy.

We’ll be cheering you on to get those quota spots.

Paris 2024 News

Jill: It is six months to go until the Paralympic Games, as of this taping. Do you know what that means? Well, it’s six months until the excitement, but the way you said that, it sounded a little like It’s so close. A little trepidation there.

Alison: Six months until I start stalking the wheelchair rugby players.

Jill: Hence the trepidation, but that should be on my end. I don’t know if I can get you out of French prison. My Duolingo does not. Go to those extremes. We know a guy. Anyway, , Inside the Games talked with Andrew Parsons, and he hopes that these Paralympics will attract large audiences. They did say that less than 1 million of the 2.

8 million tickets have been sold. But, Unlike the Olympics, ticket sales tend to go up closer to the games. I think the excitement builds for the Paralympics as people get closer. , on the broadcast side, they will be shown in 160 nations and territories, which is the largest reach ever for these games.

I’m excited about this because Paris is so close to the UK. And so I think we’ve said this before, how British audiences know the Paralympics a lot more than other audiences and get excited about it.

Alison: Our friends over at Anything But Footy have been talking about this and saying in many ways it is a home games for them.

They keep saying, you know, we can’t think of it that way, but they are. So the British fans are going to turn up, I think like they did for London 2012 and it’s going to be. Rip roaring in the athletic stadium.

Jill: Oh, yeah, definitely. since it’s six months to the Paralympics, it is less than 150 days to the Olympic opening ceremonies.

Also, that’s also a little scary to think about, to be quite honest.

Alison: Just keep going. Just keep swimming.

Jill: That’s right. but we’ve got some new details that we read about on frankshu. com. Thierry Ribble, who is the Paris 2024 Brand Creativity and Engagement Executive Director, went on RMC podcast and said that the opening ceremony is going to revolve around 12 paintings, and the Parade of Nations will pass through these paintings somehow. I was reading a translation of a report of a podcast. So I’m not quite sure, but we know that art is involved. As it should be. I am very curious what listeners think the paintings will be.

Alison: Right. Because it could be tableaus. It could be people reenacting paintings. It could be projections on the river.

Projections in the sky, drones setting up the paintings. There’s so many possibilities.

Jill: And so many famous French artists or paintings that are associated with Paris, which ones will they choose? If you have ideas, let us know or let us know on our Facebook group.

Speaking of the opening ceremonies, the French magazine, Telerama, had an interview with the director of the ceremonies, Thomas Jolie, and Franck Joux summarized some interesting notes. The speeches and flame will be at the Trocadero, across from the Eiffel Tower, and they’re running into some, Um, issues with stability of some of the areas along the river.

For example, the Bethune quay is too fragile to hang things from. So it’ll be interesting how they can do decorations along some of these areas of the Seine.

Alison: And we don’t want people falling into the Seine or falling off of balconies in related buildings. I mean, it feels like this is An accident waiting to happen.

Jill: It does, but maybe they can, knowing this ahead of time, it’s better than saying, Oh, let’s, let’s put all these heavy banners and have stuff hanging off of things. And then all of a sudden it falls into the river. Not, not a good look. So at least they know that now. Rehearsals for the ceremony will start in March in some large French city with a river like the Seine.

So speculation is that it could be Leon or Bordeaux.

Alison: I don’t think they’re going to be able to hide it for long.

Jill: No, they won’t. So if you find it, let us know.

On March 4th, Paris 2024 will release the official poster of the games and to celebrate there is going to be another ticket drop.

So this one will be focused on athletics and organizers say there will be tens of thousands of tickets available, all sessions and all categories. Morning sessions will be as low as 24 euros and evening sessions and every day is going to have finals in the evening. Those will be as low as 85 euros. The men’s 100 meter finals will be 125 euros as the lowest ticket price.

Tickets will be first come, first served at tickets. paris2024. org. We’ll have a link to that in the show notes.

Alison: I want Hanscom on his site mentioned, and that apparently there’s been some discussion about. Times and heat that some of these morning sessions are going to be moved earlier and some of these evening sessions are going to be moved later.

Oh, interesting. So if you are planning to do multiple sports or multiple sessions in a single day, keep in mind that times can change for some of these things if you’re going to outdoor events.

Jill: That’s going to be interesting. We have more information about the Team Ireland house. This will be located at O’Sullivan’s by the Mill.

Alison: Speaking of rip roaring.

Jill: they are promoting this as the party house to be at. The daytime, session will be free, but from 5 to 11 p. m. it will be 18 and over only, and it will be ticketed. Tickets will be twenty five, fifty euros, including taxes. They are now on sale at olympics. ie slash team dash Ireland dash house. We’ll have a link to that in the show notes. The activities they will have include 4K screens to watch Irish athletes.

They will have visits by Irish Olympic athletes. Live entertainment from top Irish talent, food and drink promotions, and the biggest party in Paris. So this will be interesting. Ireland will also have presences in two other places. There’s a family house at O’Sullivan’s Franklin D. Roosevelt, and then the Irish Cultural Center in Paris will have an events and an exhibition about the country’s Olympic participation from Paris 1924 through today.

Also, if you are playing the game, What Will the Media Blow Out of Proportion? Bingo, and had security as a box, check it off, because we had news that a bag containing security plans for Paris 2024, which included some USB drives and a computer, that bag was stolen off of a train. Now, Inside the Games said a man was attacked and the bag was stolen.

It had all these security plans on it. The Guardian later reported that no, this was a person who worked for City Hall. He had some traffic plans. They figured out, they did. do an examination of what he could possibly have. More seems like traffic related stuff than security related stuff, but they have taken the computer off of their system to, to prevent any hacking access.

And the bag had, he’d just gotten on the train and put the bag in the luggage rack above his seat and somebody stole it.

Alison: Right. The Inside the Games article made it seem like this man was targeted and his information was sought. Which, of course, is much more terrifying than the idea that some opportunistic pickpocket saw an unattended bag and just swiped it, which seems like that was more the case.

Of course, we don’t know. we will never know the intentions of the thief unless he is caught. Let’s be calm. It was not some high tech targeting of your traffic plans.

TKFLASTAN Update

Alison: to Shook Fla Stan.

Jill: Now is the time of the show where we check in with our team, Keep the Flame Alive. These are past guests and listeners of the show who make up our citizenship of our very own country, Shook Fla Stan. , first up.

Alison: Brie Walker finished fourth at the Manabob World Championships in Winterberg, Germany.

She competes in two women this weekend.

Jill: Yay! parachuter McKenna Geer is at the second of three U. S. Paralympic trials for shooting. At the first meet in the R4 10 meter air rifle standing mixed SH 2 class, she finished first and in the R5 10 meter air rifle prone SH 2 class, she finished second.

So things are looking good for McKenna having made a nice decision to come back.

Alison: Paul Valter, Katie Moon will be competing at the World Athletics World Championships in Glasgow on March 2nd.

And this is a name. Phil Andrews and his wife, welcome daughter, Renesmee, Lily, Grace, Meredith, Emily Andrews on December 4th.

Jill: You know, if she turns out to be a spitfire, there’s gonna be a, she could get just escape by the time they get out all of the middle names

Alison: and fill in his post talked about he’s she’s named after many important people in their

Jill: lives

Alison: so they couldn’t. Um, not include a name, so she’ll probably be known as Spike or something completely unrelated.

Jill: Congratulations, Phil and Mrs. Andrews. That will do it for this episode. Let us know what you think about track cycling.

Alison: You can connect with us on Xthreads and Instagram at flamealivepod. Email us at flamealivepod at gmail. com. Call or text us at 208 352 6348, that’s 208 FLAME IT. Be sure to join the Keep the Flame Alive podcast group on Facebook, and don’t forget to get our weekly newsletter filled with other fun stories about this week’s episode.

Sign up for that at flamealivepod.

Jill: com.

Next week is going to be a movie club, and we know a lot of you saw Boys in the Boat, so please let us know what you thought of it. We’ll be talking about that ahead of the Academy Awards. Not nominated, but maybe we’ll talk about why it should or shouldn’t have been. So in the meantime, thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!