If he wasn’t a professional bike racer, David Herman would be a student, he says. In recent interviews, the Free Agent/Rockstar BMX pro disclosed that he plans on studying physical therapy after the Olympics in the hopes of one day working with athletes at the Olympic Training Center.
At the 2012 UCI BMX World Championships, which took place in Birmingham, U.K., a fifth place finish ensured Herman the first spot on the United States’ 2012 Olympic BMX race team.
He told BMXNews.com at the time: "Crossing the finish line in the finals, I looked up and I got fifth, and I knew that I had won the points. It wasn't that I didn't believe it—it was a weird feeling that I couldn't explain.”
About.com caught up with the Olympic BMX racer to discuss his greatest biking accomplishments, the 2012 London Olympics, how he copes with racing stress and more.
Name: David “The Hermanator” Herman
Team: Free Agent/Rockstar
About.com: What are your very first memories of BMX biking?
Herman: I got my start riding BMX when I was seven years old, riding around dreaming that my BMX bike was motor cross.
About.com: How was it that you got hooked specifically on BMX riding?
Herman: Ever since my oldest brother took me out to the Arvada track – that was when I was eight – BMX has been my life. Forget the motor part!
About.com: What do you feel has been your greatest biking accomplishment so far?
Herman: That’s a tie. When I placed 2nd at the USAC National Championships last year, that got me signed up with my team, Free Agent, as potential Olympic talent. Getting the automatic qualifier for the Olympics at the World Cup matches this year is getting me to the Olympics. Awesome!
About.com: How does it feel to be representing your country in the 2012 London Olympics?
Herman: It still hasn’t really sunk in that I’m the leader of the pack representing my country. But it’s not just the reach for Gold. Sometimes I think it's hard to portray how athletic the BMX sport is. Lots of people still think all we are doing is tricks. But BMX has really come far in people’s thinking since the first BMX Olympic races four years ago. Seeing us on the Olympic track has made them realize that we are really legitimate athletes.
About.com: Would you mind walking us through your typical training routine for the Olympics?
Herman: Because I already got the automatic qualifier at the World Cup races in Birmingham, I don’t have to compete at the qualifiers at Chula Vista. They’ve built a replica of the London track there, 450 meters long with an eight-meter high starting platform and a monster box jump. But I’m working out in the training zone, and my coaches are with me perfecting the amount of pedal strokes and holding my speed through the undulating roller section. In my usual routine, there’s a race every couple of weeks, keeping me at my level. Now, going two months without a race, it’s really a different feeling!
About.com: What do you do to deal with the physical and emotional stress of racing?
Herman: Keeping fit, eating the right foods, not overdoing, but “doing” every day. Taking things race by race. Being humble protects me from disappointment. Being consistent keeps me on track!
About.com: Do you have some advice for mountain bikers who might be just getting started?
Herman: Get out on the track. Bike parks are great places to build your skills and pit yourself up against others. Enter competitions. Above all, enjoy it. Have fun. And never forget why you started – for the love of it!!