Bird lighter and ready to fly to top
Alex Bird will compete in Mexico this weekend. Photo: John Veage
Alex Bird has dropped four kilograms in his desperate bid to make the Australian track cycling team.
Bird and fellow Canberra rider Rebecca Wiasak will compete in Mexico at the weekend in the qualifying event for next month's world track cycling championship in Belarus.
Bird, Australia's reigning individual sprint champion, made last year's Olympic team as a back-up rider, and while his contribution in London was made helping gold-medallist Anna Meares with her training, the experience left him in no doubt of the sacrifices needed to get to the top.
"There's the whole tactical and skill development thing that Anna and I sort of went through and that's helped a great deal, but I think for me the biggest part was … experiencing the absolute highest level," he said.
"Now to come back and do the more normal events, you get a little bit less stressed and a little bit less nervous and I haven't felt quite as much pressure this year as I have in the past … I just feel much more calm in my racing.
"I've been a bit better in areas like self-control … I'm just a better athlete for the whole Olympic experience I think."
Bird made a number of changes, including a strict diet to improve his power-to-weight ratio, as he strives to become "world class" in the team sprint.
"The way the selection works, with team sprint being the primary selection and everything else working off that - if you're not in the team sprint, you're not going to get selected just for the sprint or whatever else, so for me it's been about getting to a world-class level in the team sprint,'' he said.
Bird is confident his performance in Mexico will guarantee selection for the world championship.
"This is for me my primary method of obtaining selection, because we get back and we've only got about four days before we head over to national championships in Sydney and I think we're going to be pretty cooked by the time we get there,'' he said.
"I've been training pretty hard since the Games … I'm very comfortable with where I'm at."