KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As hundreds of cyclists enter Knoxville for the USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships, the race is on to see who will be deemed a winner. However, it’s not a guaranteed smooth ride according to Dr. Kevin Spouse, a Knoxville specialist in sports and exercise medicine.

“These are athletes that go through amazing pain and discomfort in a four to six hour race day,” he said. “Sometimes they crash going very fast and sustain pretty impressive injuries and then get back on the bike.”

Dr. Kevin Sprouse has seen it all when it comes to elite cycling races like the Pro Road National Championships.

He has a background in exercise physiology and biomechanics, and after medical school he trained in the specialties of emergency and sports medicine. This led him to work with a large range of pro cyclists.

“These are not recreational that are showing up for this event, they are truly the best of the best in the U.S.,” Dr. Sprouse said. “Very few of them have jobs outside of cycling, and so it is a dedication to the sport, a dedication to training, many of them will train 20-30 hours a week on the bike and also in the gym.”

With that much commitment, Dr. Sprouse said these riders are fit and capable of competing, but he does have a final reminder.

“Be ready for the heat. Those who have raced it before will be familiar but those who are just showing up are potentially in for a rude awakening. It is always a hot event, which just adds to the competitive nature of it and makes it all the harder to predict who might come out on top,” he added.

For more information on the USA Cycling events and competitions, find it here.