From Oct. 20-22, the Mines Cycling Team was working hard in Missoula, Montana, at the USA Cycling Collegiate MTB National Championships. Mines sent six men and one woman to the Championship, including Caleb Reese, who led the men, and Laura Leonard, who represented Mines in the women’s races.
Leonard, President of the Mines Cycling Team, shared some information about the Championship. “The championships consisted of several races throughout the week broken into two disciplines,” said Leonard, “Cross Country and Gravity.” Cross Country mountain biking consists of a short track race, a long track race, and a team relay. Gravity racing is a single downhill course.
“The race consisted of very steep pitches and a few technical features,” shared Leonard, adding that “There were tight sweeping corners at high speeds.”
Jack Doherty and Colin McIllece placed 22nd and 28th respectively in the gravity race.
For the Cross Country long track, Leonard placed 21st, and Reese placed 11th, while they finished 13th and 10th respectively in the short track race.
Leonard and Reese also competed in the team relay, along with Charlie Koch. “Usually in the relay there are two men and two women,” said Leonard. As she was the only woman representing Mines, she ended up taking two laps for the team relay! Even despite that, Leonard performed so well that the relay team took 6th place. “Relay is an all-out sprint and one of the most intense and fun races to watch and compete in,” she said.
At the end of the Championship, Mines came out 2nd in the DII club rankings, and 5th in the overall club rankings, out of 40 total club teams!
“I am proud of the improvement I have seen in all our racers and their performance,” exclaimed Leonard, “Because that is what got us on the podium at the end of the day.” Leonard continued, saying “We are very thankful for the opportunity provided by USA Cycling to race in Missoula, and all the support from our team members who did not attend Nationals, our local sponsors, and the School of Mines.” This support allowed the Cycling Team to finish on the podium!