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Competitive Cyclist and MPTV Student Promotes Academy Cycling Club

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“I always train to be faster; I race with a lot of good athletes out there. What makes me unique is that I’m an athlete, and I am an artist,” said School of Motion Pictures and Television student Victor Tort. Photo by Neil Laxamana.

World-class competitive athlete and Academy of Art University School of Motion Pictures and Television M.F.A. student Victor Tort is eager to share his love of cycling with his fellow students. By creating the Academy’s first cycling club last year, Tort hopes to build interest, support and sponsorships for the club and lead students in a sport that he is truly passionate about.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Tort started cycling when he was a teenager on the island. He also excels at just about every other sport you can name and has dedicated his life to athletics and helping people.

“I had been doing a lot of sports, volleyball, baseball, track and field running, triathlon, but I find a passion in cycling,” said Tort. “I’ve been racing bikes for more than 10 years, also doing a lot of bike rides for different foundations and raising a lot of money for HIV, multiple sclerosis and cancer.”

Tort is also a personal trainer and specializes in developing training programs for people with HIV, multiple sclerosis and cancer. “As a personal trainer, I build some exercise programs to help people who live with health problems,” said Tort. “I decided to be part of the society that helps this population.”

Tort also has an interest in cinematography and film production, in particular he wants to make videos for action sports and it’s why he sought out the Academy’s School of Motion Pictures and Television.

“The programs they offer, you learn a little bit of everything, directing producing, lighting and sound,” said Tort. “It’s nice you have a lot of choices to decide what you want to develop.”

Tort is currently working on a project with athletes and coaches from the U.S. cycling team. 

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Tort shared, “Always good to take a selfie at the top of the mountain and then get ready to descend.” Courtesy of Victor Tort.

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“At the starting line, you always try to keep your heartbeat down while you focus on the race,” said Tort. Photo by Neil Laxamana.

“We’re developing our own online library about coaching for track cycling and also doing documentary and digital portfolios for different cyclists.”

Though Tort competes in almost every type of cycling including road, mountain bike and triathlon, his main focus is now on track cycling.

“Because I’m in school right now my time frame is limited, so I decided to start competing on the track because you have to spend less time than if you train for a road bike,” he said.

When he’s not studying for his master’s or personal training, you’ll likely find Tort training at San Jose’s Hellyer Velodrome with his coach Lee Povey of Performance Cycle Coaching.

Track cycling is a speed sport in which athletes compete on a track in either sprint or endurance races. Sprinters usually compete in time trials at various distances including 200 meters, 500 meters; one, two and three kilometers; also team sprint and keirin, which is Tort’s “favorite.” The endurance format is omnium, scratch race, individual pursuit, elimination race, team pursuit and points race. Tort competes in both formats, sprint and endurance.

“If I do omnium races that means I do all the endurance races,” said Tort, who is a member of the International Cycling Union or UCI, which governs international cycling and the United States Olympic Committee. “This year I’ve been very successful, and my coach is helping me a lot to get stronger and faster on my bike.”

Though this is his first year competing as a track cyclist, Tort placed second recently in San Jose’s Harry Lee Memorial in CAT 4/5 keirin race, and this year, he is doing an event in Los Angeles called South Bay Wheelmen Time Trial Cup every month until September in an indoor Olympic wooden track. Every month he is getting better results on his races.

“My cycling goal is going to be to go to as many competitions as I can,” said Tort, who wants to get to the Masters Track National Championships in South Carolina in July, the Junior and Elite Track Nationals in Los Angeles, the Masters World Championships in Manchester, England and the Pan American Games in November in Puerto Rico, his hometown.

Throughout his competitions Tort has loyally been wearing the Academy’s logo.

“This year I decided to jump on it and try to drive myself and promote the school in different competitions, so the Academy knows that we’re out there,” said Tort, who plans to promote monthly rides for the Cycling Club that he will lead around the Bay Area.

“My expectation is so that the school can get [closer] to this sport and develop athletes because I know there are a lot of people out there who would love to be part of this but they need the support,” said Tort. “I do this because I love it, because it’s for fun, but it’s not a cheap sport.”