Track Cyclist of the Day: Jimmy Watkins

12 Oct

It’s been our quite a while since our last post for this segment, and we think it’s about time we feature an American cyclist. Moreover, the timing couldn’t have been any better what with the recently concluded USA Elite Nationals. During our review of the videos sent to us by our very good friend back home, we noticed something pleasantly surprising. The return of Jimmy Watkins to the track. It’s been awhile since he raced and this major event marks his return to the track after battling with back problems. And oh did he perform spectacularly even though a lot of people expected him to perform better. The thing with the track cycling sport in America, as we have pointed out already in previous articles, is that the athlete community is small, accessible and very close. Just by visiting the velodrome you’ll come to know a lot about the athletes. Case in point, We’ve seen Jimmy Watkins a couple of times in the track and while we’re not with their team, we have come to know almost everything there is to know about him and the sport. It’s this sense of collegiality and community that brings a lot of people to the sport of track cycling. Everyone just helps out.

So, Jimmy Watkins is the big guy in the sport. We have only seen very few athletes who have a more imposing (and rather intimidating) physique than Jimmy. He weighs almost 100kg and stands tall at 6’1″ so it’s really hard to reach even his shoulder for those vertically challenged. And that body actually serves a purpose: Jimmy works as a full time firefighter which already doubles as a training regimen for his track cycling career. Here’s the thing, Jimmy is the new big guy in the sport, and for someone relatively new, his performance is certainly amazing. His career highlights include winning the Pan American Championships, as well as the US Elite Nats and a couple of other local races.

Having this kind of body really is advantageous for Jimmy. He is able to juggle both work and play anytime. His physique is definitely that of the mesomorphic type and his well developed muscles in the upper extremities complement those in the lower as well producing a very good combination of power and speed evident in his performance in the track. There’s something really good in the way he handles a bike ride and he certainly looks speedy and slick with the black skinsuit,

The mesomorphic features are quite evident in certain occupations such as among construction workers, heavy industries, and just like Jimmy, among firefighters. Even then, Jimmy has been an athletic person, having joined several sports events since his childhood. His build is definitely one for the athletes and he puts it to good use in the sport of track cycling. While he doesn’t possess massive thighs, his overall muscular and athletic build give him a very good combination of power and speed. And if you take note of his build, his upper extremities and his chest and torso happen to be more developed and muscular compared to his lower extremities. Some argue that can be quite advantageous to the athlete since this gives the athlete a fair amount of endurance while sacrificing little power. There are some studies to back this up, but overall, the results have been conflicting and recent training regimens still follow the traditional strength training regimens for sprinters. Jimmy may have developed this kind of physique based on his occupation and prior athletic experience.

Now for a little perspective, here’s Jimmy Watkins with other track cyclists. It’s easy to note that other cyclists have bigger thighs but Jimmy has a better athletic build profile that’s somewhat balanced that makes him suited for the sport. And it can’t be denied, he looks good in a skinsuit and not overly muscular or bulky.

Now here’s the admirable thing about Jimmy: he actually has a very noble job! Rarely do you see track cyclists who double as a firefighter. Well, we only know of Jimmy who can do that. Everyone in the velodrome actually look up to Jimmy for his admirable work as a firefighter. He’s definitely a hero both in the velodrome and in the firetruck, plus he’s got an amazing body to boot. And on another note, he is very friendly and approachable with a very loving and supportive wife. He may look quite intimidating at first with his large hulking body looming over you but he’s actually very kind and is eager to talk to anyone firefighter style. Here’s the other podium appearances of Jimmy:

Well, again for perspective, compare Jimmy’s body with the other cyclists and you may notice Jimmy has smaller legs compared to the others who have very developed calves. And here’s another bonus photo of Jimmy undergoing post-race therapy. We have to tell you though that is the kind of job that we have. Lovely isn’t it? (And mind you, it’s not easy and can in fact be very tiring.. after all you’re left to wrestle with more than 70-90kg of muscle mass)

We actually can’t wait to go back home so we can join in the action of our local velodrome races and see familiar faces. It’s been awhile since we stepped foot in a velodrome, and after watching the US Elite Nats and Commonwealth Games, we’re dying to see a track cycling event live.


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