Despite less than ideal conditions, Mines Club Cycling Team placed second at the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships on Oct. 21-23. The team was lead by captain Laura Leonard.
“[the team] experienced rain, snow, mud, wind, and freezing conditions,” Leonard explained. “But, instead of giving up, they put on every layer they had, duct taped their shoes for extra water resistance, stuck hand warmers in their gloves, and put everything they had into completing each race. They have trained very hard to make it to USA Cycling National Champions, and their hard efforts are clear in the results.”
Nationals consists of three races: short track (20 minute sprint laps on a 0.7 mile loop through the ski resort), cross country (A 4.3 mile loop to be raced 3 laps by the women and 4 by the men. Due to weather conditions, the men raced 2.5 laps, and women 2 laps), and team a team relay (a 1.7 mile loop raced once through each by two men and two female racers). Notable finishes from the vent were Jake Wands, Dan McMahon, Abby Lestina, and Madeleine Hanley taking fourth place in the medley race, McMahon taking eleventh and Wands taking thirteenth in men’s club cross country, and Lestina earning fourteenth in women’s club short track.
“I think that it’s really cool that a school known for its academics can also get on a national podium for athletics.” Jon Wells commented. “It really speaks to how well the team can balance school and cycling by how much all our athletes excel in both.”
The race was especially significant since it was the first time at Nationals for many of the Mine’s athletes.
“Three out of six team members were at nationals for their first time and they all did really well,” MacMahon explained. “This is the most number of new riders we’ve had at this competition probably ever and it shows a lot of promise for the team, especially since we have tons of new riders who have just started racing and are getting to move up to the next level.”