Very few people have the chance to represent their country at a major sporting event.
Simsbury High School junior Austin Vincent will do just that as part of the juniors men squad at the CycloCross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Holland, which takes place Feb. 1 and 2.
“I’m really excited,” Vincent said. "It's an honor to be selected."
In the past several years Vincent has made a splash in both Cyclocross and road cycling disciplines. His many accomplishments include third place in the US CycloCross Junior 17/18 National Championships in Boulder, CO last month and first place in the 15-16 Jr. Men’s category at the 2012 Cyclocross National Championships.
In the road category his numerous wins include first place in the 2013 New England Time Trial Championships for 17-18 Jr. men and top honors in the same category for the 2012 Tour of the Battenkill Road race.
Several years ago, Vincent began racing at Foothills BMX in Torrington. It sparked a passion.
Vincent’s family has also been supportive as have others in the sport. One is Jan Bolland Tanner of Benidorm Bikes in Canton.
Tanner, who also runs Bike FitCT, is a past world champion, perhaps most notably in the 1992 Women's 50K Team Time Trial, in Benidorm, Spain.
Tanner's been able to help Vincent in many ways, including with proper gear, alignment and fitting, which can be critical for safety. She’s also been able to mentor the younger rider about competing at such a level.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity but it takes a lot of discipline and lot of sacrifice,” she said.
advice has been crucial, Vincent said.
been through it all,” he said. “She can help calm me down before a big race.”
Tanner feels Vincent has shown great maturity and discipline in balancing race pressure, keeping up with school work and much more that comes with it. Despite time away from the classroom Vincent has kept up with the work and obtained first-quarter honors.
Tanner’s also just had fun watching Vincent grow up from a kid who could barely reach the pedals of a BMX bike to today, where she feels he could make a career of cycling if he chooses.
Vincent said he’s not sure just how far he will go but he definitely hopes to race for a collegiate team and study business.
“We’ll see where it takes me,” Vincent said.