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OLYMPIC PROFILE: DEREK HORTON

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By Patrick Lujan

It took 12 years, but Derek Horton is going back to the Olympic Games as a mountain bike rider. (courtesy photo)

Olympic cyclist Derek Horton is accomplishing two things rarely done on such a high level of competition.

Horton will be competing at a well-done age of 39 and will be entering his second Olympiad, but first since the 2000 Games in Sydney.

GSPN chats with Horton, who’s currently in Manchester, England preparing for the London Games.

…on his international experience.

– Most of my international competition consists of a handful of Oceania Championships, one previous Olympics, Sydney 2000, Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California in ’03 and a scattering of road and mountain races in Asia.  Most of my racing has been in Australia and New Zealand.

… on qualifying for the London Games.

– I actually qualified at the 2012 Oceania Mountain Bike Championships in Rotorua, New Zealand in March. I finished 13th out of the 15 or 16 pros that entered.  Because of the large number of UCI points on offer, it was a must finish race.  I received 55 points from that placing, which at that time ranked me 415th in the world, and the highest rider outside of Australia and New zealand. So, I qualified through continental points and rankings.

… on the feeling of getting selected.

– When I found out about getting the slot, excitement was coupled with anxiety.  This is what we had hoped for, but this meant I really had to step up my training.  Balancing a bigger training load with working 45-50 hours a week and taking care of my family proved to be extremely difficult.  I couldn’t have done it without my wife, Nes, supporting me and friends like my sponsor Frank Guerrero at Km Universal who provided me with my bike last year with the hope of doing well at Oceania and possibly going to the Olympics.  Everybody’s words of encouragement helped sustain me.

Horton’s main drive is to make the island proud by is performance. (courtesy photo)

…on what he wants to get out of the Games.

– All I truely want from this experience is to be able to perform at my very best. To say I gave everything at the Olympics and to have everyone proud of that accomplishment.http://www.bankofguam.com/personal-banking/savings/Pacific-Express-Visa-debit-card.html

…on his training.

– I’ve been putting in about 10-15 hours a week on the road bike, just for fitness.  I had been raining so much that I hadn’t been able to hit the dirt. It was difficult to stick to a training schedule, being tired from work and having limited daylight.  Some nights, I would ride til 7 or 8 p.m. with lights just to do my workouts. But, I did what I had to do.

…on life without a bike.

– Since I’ve always worked on bikes, it’s difficult to picture life without them. My wife loves bikes and riding as much as I do, maybe even more sometimes.  I do know one thing for sure, I would not be where I am today without them.  And that is living a truly blessed life with family and friends who love and support me for who I am and not just what I do.  I could never picture my life without bicycles.

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It includes kids books, supplies and backpacks in hopes of promoting children’s reading in Mangilao.

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