What does an Olympic champion do to replace hurtling down the side of a mountain in a tight-fitting metal missile?
Well, in the case of Sylvan Lake’s Lyndon Rush, you take up the sport of BMX racing.
“My oldest daughter Olivia, she got involved. This will be her third season doing it. I just thought it would be a good sport for her,” he said.
In fact, it’s a great sport for the entire Rush family as his five-year-old and two-year-old daughter are on the track with their older sister and of course, dad.
Rush said when he was growing up in Humboldt, Saskatchewan he and his buddies would spend most of the summer on their bikes, building their own jumps, turning a pile of dirt into their own BMX track.
He spent plenty of time watching Olivia race around the track and wanted to give it shot. “I went out and tried it one afternoon and I just fell in love with it,” he said.
Rush said there are some things which translate well from his bobsleigh racing days into his new passion of BMX.
“They’re both sprinter sports. The most important part of a bobsleigh race and a BMX race is the start. So getting that fast start is all about transferring power to the ground. It’s different because it’s on a bike instead of running on ice.”
He says while you need a little more stamina in BMX they are also sports where you really need to be more explosive.
He says as a driver of the bobsleigh you needed to be very aggressive on the push bar at the start but once he was in the sled he was more calm and focused on piloting the sled safely and quickly down the hill.
“BMX is sort of like that. It has both the aspects of being a push athlete or a peddler and also the tactics of taking lines, what’s the fastest line.”
He says there is an aspect of BMX racing which bobsleigh could never supply which is the wheel to wheel start of a race.
“You’re racing against people which has been a lot of fun for me. In bobsleigh it’s always the clock you’re racing against and it’s so much fun to race against other people and trying to set them up for passes or trying to not allow them to pass you.”
He races within the 30- to 39-year-old class which gets together every Tuesday and Thursday down at Great West Adventure Park in Red Deer.
“We usually have five to eight guys in my group,” he said. “It’s been fun getting to know those guys and have a little friendly rivalry. It’s been a blast.”
He admits this racing is a perfect outlet for him to burn off some energy now that he isn’t using the summer to train for bobsleigh.
“BMX has been good for me because I wouldn’t know what to do with myself and now I’ve got this. The competition side of it is just a bonus.”
He wants to stay involved in the sport and has applied to be a trainer for the local BMX club but during the winter he will be involved in development coaching for Bobsleigh Canada down in Calgary with beginners.
“I think it’s coaching something (BMX) that I can do for a long time and then I have a summer and winter sport which can keep me busy all year-round.”