Some folks might object to being labeled as a "Clydesdale." Not Keith Hart.
The 33-year-old Gardnerville man is actually proud of the distinction, and for good reason, after riding to victory in the Clydesdale Expert Class at the National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA) National Championships on Saturday at Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
Hart, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 225 pounds, endured Mammoth's 7,000-foot altitude and powered his bike to first-place by a narrow margin over a three-loop, 16-mile course. Not bad for a Clydesdale.
"It's a national championship. I'll take it," Hart said, flashing a smile.
Winning the race itself was a noteworthy achievement.
"The course was pretty technical and there were some pretty good athletes in the field," Hart said. "I beat the second-place guy by 11 seconds and the third-place guy by 40 seconds, so it was pretty close.
"I really wasn't aware of where anyone was. I took off from the gun and never looked back."
Hart and three other local cyclists -- Randy Chitwood, Scott Roby and Jeff Rudd -- also combined to finish fourth overall at the 24-Hour Snowshoe last month in West Virginia. The four-man team plans to enter another 24-hour race in August at Lake Tahoe.
Hart is obviously in good shape. The best shape of his life, maybe?
"I wouldn't go that far," said Hart, who formerly played football at the University of Nevada. "But I have been training pretty hard the last couple of months. I feel good about where I am right now."