When the 2012 Olympic Games kick off this month, Victory Brewing Company will be part of the competition… sort of.

Back in the day (2002-2006) we sponsored the Victory Brewing Company Women’s Professional Cycling Team. Those women wore our logo with pride and made us true to our name by winning numerous honors. One woman in particular brought home countless victories (and we’re not just talking about beers), including winning the Liberty Classic for her age group and the National Road Championship as well. This summer, we’re confident that former Victory Brewing Company racer Lauren Tamayo will be bringing Victory to team USA at the Olympic Games.

We asked Lauren a few questions to learn about cycling, her journey to the Olympics and, of course, beer. Get to know Lauren…

Q: What events will you be competing in during the 2012 Summer Olympics?
A: I will be competing in the Women’s Team Pursuit, at the Velodrome in London.

Q: How did you get in to the sport of cycling?
A: I grew up just outside of Trexlertown, PA, and it was right around the time of the ’96 Olympics in Atlanta. So, the Velodrome in T-Town was getting a lot of press. They offered a free program sponsored by Air Products to teach people of any age how to ride the track. They provided the coaches and the bikes so all I had to do was show up. My dad and I both decided to try it. I really haven’t looked back since.

Q: How old were you?
A: 12

Q: When did you discover it would be a career for you?
A: I would say my sophomore year of high school. I decided to train more and focus more on cycling and I quit playing other school sports. But when I decided to choose this path as my career, I was 18 and it was my last year of junior cycling. So it was either make this work or start thinking about what I wanted next.

Q: How did cycling for the Victory Brewing Company team prepare you for the Olympics?
A: My years on the Victory Team are some of my fondest memories. We had such a great group of women, some who are still my best friends even though we are all at different points in our lives now. But I also learned what it meant to be a teammate and to truly sacrifice everything you have for someone else. I learned the true meaning of the word TEAM.

Q: What was different about being part of that team vs. the teams you’ve been on since?
A: On Victory the girls were so excited to be have a part in winning the race, even if it was a teammate who won. We always had so much fun on and off the bike. More recently I have switched my focus back to the track in preparation for the Olympics, so it has required a lot more focus and has definitely been a more stressful road.

Q: Do you drink beer while you are training? Or is there a no-alcohol diet?
A: No there is not a no alcohol diet. We can enjoy ourselves from time to time within moderation of course.

Q: What does your current training schedule look like?
A: Currently I am in Mallorca, Spain training with my 3 other teammates. We will be staying in Spain right up until we leave for London the end of July

Q: What advice would you give to a young cyclist hoping to compete in the Olympics?

A: There is always so much advice you can give a young cyclist. I would think the biggest is to never give up. It has taken me 17 years to get here, but I am having my dream come true.

Q: As a professional cyclist, how have you noticed the intersection of craft beer and cycling grow over the past years?
A: Cyclists love their coffee and beer. We travel a lot and we are always looking to try out local brews when we are on the road.

Q: Where is the most interesting place you’ve traveled through your cycling adventures?
A: I have traveled a lot of cool places. I would say one that ranks pretty high on the list was actually Cuba. I was a teenager when I had the opportunity to go and race there, and for me it wasn’t as much about the racing as it was a learning experience in life. Right now though, I have to say Mallorca is ranking pretty high on my list. I have been living here for a few weeks now and still have quite a few to go. The training is amazing and the people are so friendly. It doesn’t hurt that I have an amazing view of the ocean everyday when I leave my apartment.

Q: In your opinion, what is the best beer city in the world?
A: Well I am going to be a bit partial to where I live, Asheville, NC. I know it is always a battle between us and a few other cities. I love Asheville for the community, it’s an amazing city.