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Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Kern County Fire Department engineer, Jimmy Watkins, will be competing in cycling at the 2012 Olympics in London.

LONDON -- In a little more than a week, Jimmy Watkins will take to the cycling track in the race of his life.

With Olympic glory at stake, the velodrome in London's Olympic Park will be packed, millions of television viewers will be watching around the world, and all competitors will have years of training come down to a competition that lasts merely seconds.

All that may be true, admits Watkins, but his key to success will be to convince himself otherwise.

"You've got to block out all those thoughts -- just take it as another bike race," explained the full-time engineer with the Kern County Fire Department, shortly before leaving for London to compete in the Olympic Games. "You're not going to do anything different than you've done before. You just do your own routine, try not to let it get the better of you, not be nervous about it being the Olympics. Just treat it like a normal race and try not to get too pumped up about it."

The 29-year-old added he's as prepared as he can possibly be, last week completing the rigors of an intensive training program in Los