The Chula Vista Olympic Training Center (CVOTC) is the first United States Olympic Committee (USOC) training facility to be master-planned from the ground up and is dedicated to the development of America’s future Olympic and Paralympic athletes. The year-round, warm-weather facility in Chula Vista, California, was a gift to the United States Olympic Committee from the San Diego National Sports Training Foundation, a group of dedicated business and community leaders, and volunteers who raised the funds to build the Center.
The Chula Vista Olympic Training Center rests on a 155-acre complex adjacent to Lower Otay Reservoir in San Diego County. The Center has sport venues and support facilities for archery, beach volleyball, BMX, canoe/kayak, cycling, field hockey, rowing, rugby, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, triathlon, and cross-training abilities for various winter sports. Athletes are selected to train at the CVOTC by their respective sport federation or National Governing Body (NGB). The CVOTC offers support to athletes including housing, dining, training facilities, local transportation, recreational facilities, athlete services and professional development programs.
For the sport of BMX, The Chula Vista Olympic Training Center features two Supercross tracks including a replica of the Beijing 2008 Olympic track and a newer duplication of the London 2012 Olympic track. There is also a development BMX track, which is used for future BMX athlete training and competitions. The Chula Vista Olympic Training Center has benefited thousands of Olympic hopefuls, numerous community groups, and countless visitors from around the globe. For more information, please visit: www.teamusa.org.
U.S. Olympic Training
Center, Chula Vista
2800 Olympic Parkway
Chula Vista, CA 91915-6000
Coming off of the BMX trials to see who would represent the United States at the Olympic games in London, Health Beauty Life Magazine had a chance to chat with two of the finalists – Meet 2012 Women’s Supercross BMX Olympians Arielle Martin and Alise Post.
How did the interest in a career in BMX all start for you?
I have been aspiring to this since I was a little girl. I started racing when I was 5. My dad was racing in the ’80s and I grew up at the BMX track watching him. I don’t remember NOT being on a bike. I can’t remember my first race. So that’s how long it’s been, and how much a part of my life it’s been. It’s been an incredible journey to devote my 21 years to it. Men, for the most part, have dominated the sport of BMX.
Is it becoming more popular for women? And have you had a hard time with it, being female?
Yes, it is becoming more popular for women. It’s also really cool to be a woman in a sport that can be characterized as male-dominant. I personally never felt cheated growing up or being female in the sport. I raced with boys sometimes and their dads had a harder time with it than they did. Most of the guys think it’s pretty cool what we do out there and they are really supportive of us.
I know that you are not from here, but do you think Southern California is a great place to train?
I grew up in Utah. It’s a great state and I love it. It’s my home and there are a lot of big, beautiful mountains. But in the winter, it’s difficult to train with a lot of snow all around. Being here at the training center, it’s been four years now. It’s a wonderful opportunity. We get 72 degrees and sunny 99% of the year and there really is no better place to train. This is an actual duplicate track for what will be in the London games.
How has it been to train here?
Every course is different for BMX and it’s huge for us to have a replica. It’s as close as possible for us to train on, you know, it’s dirt and all and it’s not going to be perfect. It’s hard to make things exact but I think when we show up in London that we’ll be ready and confident.
Are you doing anything special with your nutrition or your training methods?
The training is all over the place really, but there is a lot involved. There are a lot of people helping me. I work with a nutritionist, a sports psychologist, and a physical therapist to make sure my body is in and that everything is working right.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me starts pretty early; I’m up and on my bike by 7:00, 7:30 am, just doing a little spin to shake\ the legs out…kind of wake up. If it’s a big track day like today, it’s a couple of hours and we’re working on starts, corners, or straight-aways and we kind of break it down. To supplement that, we spend some time in the gym and doing some sprint work as well. Core is also very important; I work on core about 4-5 times a week.
How does someone get involved with BMX?
When I was younger, we started on basic dirt ramps and that’s what you’ll still find around the country. There’s a great development program and it’s easy to find a track near you. You just go on the Internet and you type in USA BMX, and you find one.
What’s it like training at this facility?
The five us that have made the Olympic team, three boys and two girls, are all training together and it does get pretty intense. Up until a few weeks ago, this place was pretty busy with a lot of riders who thought they were going to the games. And it’s sort of been narrowed down since.
When you start here at this track, you are going down quite a steep incline and I notice that you pedal all the way through the take off. It looks intense. Tell us about it.
The start here is unique to this world cup format we call Supercross BMX and it is a full sprint all the way down to the bottom. This is really like the cream of the crop having this huge start ramp. It makes it very spectator friendly. It’s exciting to watch and we’re going so much faster over bigger jumps.
How did you get started in this sport? I started when I was 6 years old. My brother, who was 14 at the time, decided to get started with some friends at school. He saw other girls at the track and told our parents that was what I should do. So I was not a wimp of a little sister.
What was your first race like? I actually chickened out of my first race. I was only 6 and it was just way too scary. I got up to the hill and figured that it was just too big and turned around and went back down. It’s pretty ironic now, seeing what we’re doing!
What’s the hardest part of the course for you? What do you take into it? It’s different for everybody. I love going down the start ramp and going head to head. That’s when everyone is the closest and I think that’s probably one the hardest spots as everyone is rallying for position at that point. That’s definitely one of the places that people can get intimidated. If you don’t get out quick, it’s hard to come back from that. There are a lot of jumps on this track and a lot of tight corners.
Is it a good thing to get air to get distance or to avoid air? What’s the best way to go? You want to get around the track as fast as possible. You see lots of kids going for big air all of the time and obviously that’s fun and that’s fine in practice. We generally have to jump things to get through it, but in competition, we try to go as low and fast as possible…. speed jumping!
There are two women and three men on the US Olympic BMX team. Do you train together at the track at the same time? We have scheduled track times to use the facility and usually all five of us are out here at the same time. I actually train with one of the guys; he’s my training partner. His name is Connor Fields and we have the same coach and do every bit of training together.
Where are you from originally and how does Southern California compare for you? I’m from St. Cloud Minnesota and Southern California is definitely a lot different from home. We’re known for our crazy winters, but the summer is nice. My parents run a local track. So I was always able to have a good facility at home to train at during the summer months but during the winter months, it was pretty hard. It’s really nice to be out here full time and to be able to ride all year round.
How would you rate your training out here in Southern California? The training out here is awesome; there really isn’t a better place in the world to train. USA Cycling and the USOC have put together this amazing facility here in Chula Vista. We’ve got multiple international Supercross world cup level tracks and there’s also a small BMX introductory level course on the other side. We get to see it all here and I’m very thankful for that.
When you are going down that first ramp, it’s got to be a little scary. What are you thinking at the time? I’m an adrenaline rush junky, as much as my first story said otherwise! When I’m going down that start ramp, I’m just thinking about getting out front. I’ve always been known for being a quick starter, and I really like that!
Was this the first time BMX has been in the Olympics? Beijing in ‘08 was the inaugural year for BMX in the Olympics. I was too young, being only 17 at the time. I think it should be really great this year with a lot more hype around it!
When you witnessed the Olympics in Beijing and you saw your sport, what was it like for you? I wanted to be there. I turned pro at 15 and won American championships at 15 and 16, so I’m thinking, “I’m 17. Why can’t I go?” I was really jealous and said “I’ve got to be up there in a couple of years.” So I put all of my effort forward to be there this time!
We want to wish you both the best of luck in going for the gold in London. We’re proud to have you represent us! Go Team USA!