From Cherry Niel:
The University of Arizona Cycling Team just returned from 2016 Collegiate Road Nationals in Marshall, North Carolina with some of the best results our team has ever had! Our 8-person team trained for months specifically for this incredible event, and each of us put our heart into the races against the top collegiate teams in the nation.
Driving to and from Marshall was a long journey, but the team bonded over being stuck in a car together for 36 hours of traveling and also improved our Tetris-like skills when packing the trailer. With only a small trailer hauled by a Suburban, we somehow fit in 9 bikes, 28 wheels, 3 trainers, 2 work stands, and everyone’s bags. We encountered rain, humidity, and trees everywhere immediately when we arrived in Marshall – not quite the climate we are used to in Tucson!
The road race on Friday began with a rainy start for the women, but soon cleared up and UA’s Erica Clevenger placed 5th overall. The men’s race was much warmer, and Kyle Trudeau placed 15th, narrowly avoiding a gnarly crash that occurred only seconds past the finish line. On Saturday, we headed to Burnsville for the collegiate criteriums. With a steep downhill into a 150° left turn and an immediate uphill, the course was exciting to watch, but also an invitation for crashes. Both UA riders David Greif and Kyle Trudeau were involved in crashes; Kyle was issued a temporary bike from the support pit, but David’s crash unfortunately separated him too much from the main group to catch back on. Kyle finished 16th and David 21st out of a huge field of 100 men. During the women’s crit, Erica Clevenger rode her way to 17th place. At the Team Time Trial on Saturday, the women placed 9th and the men 6th. Additionally, Erica Clevenger came in 7th in the Individual Time Trial and Josh Pratt-Ferguson placed 8th.
As a relatively new competitor in cycling, it was an incredible experience just to attend collegiate nationals. When I first came to college, I would never have expected to visit so many places and race bikes with such amazing teammates. Watching my teammates score victories always reminds me that all it takes to get there is hard work, and seeing their results at nationals really reinforces that idea.
Finally, without our sponsors and contributors, this trip would never have happened. Even though we are not a varsity team, we still compete and place amongst their riders. Our sponsors give us the means to do so and without them, we could not have traveled this season (or beat ASU). Thank you to everyone who has supported us in any capacity this season!”
You can also find some photos and videos of the weekend on our Facebook page.