Local cyclist, 9, wins 4 silver medals at national meet

Natalie Wang, age 9, a fourth-grader at Carmel Del Mar Elementary, does not back off in the face of fierce competition. She won the Carmel Valley 5K two years in a row in her age division, and recently won four silver medals on the national stage at the USA Cycling Elite and Junior Track National Championships.

Natalie competes regularly in youth triathlons and uses track cycling for her bike training. Track cycling is a bicycle racing sport held on specially built banked tracks or velodromes. The sport has been around since at least 1870 and has been featured in all of the modern Olympics Games with the exception of the 1912 Olympics. Track bikes have no brakes and have one fixed gear (meaning the bikes cannot coast), and therefore, require laser focus while riding.

Track cycling is particularly popular in Europe, where it is often used as off-season training for road bike racers. Natalie trains with the San Diego Velodrome Youth Team, which offers free training for new youth riders on Mondays.