January Collegiate Cycling Update


Hi all,

Back when I was in college (uphill both ways, six feet of snow, no shoes, etc.) my club cycling team received a meager stipend from our school to cover some entry fees, and none of us could afford to actually do too much racing. It was a situation that isn’t unheard of in collegiate cycling, and that’s tragic. It is character building, but no one would disagree that it’s also less than ideal. Given those circumstances, at least three or four times a year the grand and lofty idea of attaining varsity status came up at meetings. We didn’t really know what it meant, but certainly it meant more money.

This last month there’s been a lot of internet talk of varsity cycling teams and what they mean to the future of collegiate cycling. Several opinions can be found below, as well as in last month’s issue. Some of the discussion turned into a bit of a varsi-Tea Party, and minor concerns have snowballed to Death Panel proportions. I’d like to put a few rumors to rest, clarify collegiate cycling’s direction, and make a couple comments of my own.

Please read on here.

-Jeffrey Hansen, USA Cycling Collegiate Program Manager

Team News

Club Team Opinions on "Varsity Cycling"

Joey Iuliano, Purdue University: To me, I don't see much of a problem with varsity cycling as it stands. Purdue will never jump into that boat so we'll always be a club team. Plus, where would the MWCCC be without, as some of us at Purdue call them, the Evil Empire (Marian)? While fielding a team of 10+ guys in the A's field might be seen as unfair, I think it drives up the level of competition as everyone wants to beat these guys. No race was more intense than Regionals last year at OSU when everyone watched, prayed, and tried to help Will Nowak win the Men's Individual Overall away from Marian. Even though he lost in the final crit, the battle showcased everything great about collegiate cycling. And, while it’s all in good fun, the trash talking about trying to take them down in races drives us (at Purdue anyway, since we had a member/friend transfer to Marian) to no end during sessions on the turbos. Plus, if Marian, LWC, Lindenwood, etc didn't have cycling programs not many would hear of them. I never knew those schools existed until I started cycling.

Anna McLoon, Harvard University: While I'm glad that varsity programs are often able to provide financial help to cyclists who might otherwise struggle with the expense of getting an education, I sincerely worry that the growing abundance of varsity programs will have a negative effect on collegiate cycling.  So many aspects of this sport are focused on the money, the pro contracts, the fame.  Collegiate cycling is the sport stripped down to its essence; what draws us out on a 40 degree rainy day in March is the love of the challenge, the love of the community, the love of all things bad@$$.  Because of this, people in clubs all across the country are willing to devote hours and hours to organizing races, to teaching complete novices how to corner their bikes, and to pedal with every ounce of strength for that cookie prime or conference point.  Varsity teams CAN have that same sense of closeness and community, but the need to perform to keep that scholarship can turn our sport into a duty instead of a joy, and I would fear that if this trend grows, it will diminish some of the aspects of collegiate cycling that make it so unique and so important for our sport as a whole.

Stephanie Rynas, University of Tennessee - Chattanooga: I would really like to see more varsity teams out there.  I have been a part of a varsity program and am now a part of a club program.  Having seen the different sides, I think it is much more beneficial to the riders and the school to work towards a varsity program.  Students often have to work their way through school and on top of classes there is not much time to train, with the encouragement of scholarship it really gives students a goal and a means to train more(this is the main reason my team is so small).  It is also very helpful because with a varsity team there is a coach, and with that coach, hopefully, there will be someone to take care of all the busy work and leave the riders to only worry about riding.  Just look at the top schools now, how many are varsity? I think varsity should and will start to take over.

Read more club team opinions on Varsity Cycling here.

Marian University: 2009 Collegiate Club of the Year

USA Cycling chose Marian University (Indianapolis, Ind.) as Collegiate Club of the Year. The 31-member squad sent riders to Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals for the first time ever in 2009, proving its commitment to be competitive in all four disciplines of collegiate cycling. From a hosting and promoting standpoint, the squad was involved with the 13th annual Midwest Cycling Classic, the first-ever MWCCC Track Regional Championships, and a November cyclo-cross race. The school club also offered seven power booster classes at the Marian University Cycling Center while community work included being involvement with the Major Taylor Velodrome Clean-up, Indiana Bicycle Summit, Pedal for Peace, and the Indiana Corporate Challenge Time Trial. For more on Marian’s cycling program, click here.

Club Name's Not on the List? Here's Why

Many collegiate riders are finding that when they renew their licenses for 2010, many collegiate clubs are missing from the drop-down list. Why is that?

There are three possible reasons:

1. Club license is about to expire or has already: Until your club renews its club license, you can't renew your individual license, either. Team presidents should either complete this form and send it in via fax or mail, or contact Jeffrey Hansen to be added as a club contact, so you can fill out the first part online. You'll still need to send in this form, via fax or mail, however.

2. Waiting on Collegiate Eligibility Form: If the club's already renewed its license, it's possible that we haven't received this form yet. Check with your team president to make sure it's been filled out by a school official and sent in to us.

3. Delinquent Event: If you've hosted an event in the past, it is possible you haven't sent in all the post-event paperwork or payments, so call your USA Cycling Membership Services Coordinator. You can find out who that is by clicking on your state here and scrolling down.

If none of these options is a possibility, contact Jeffrey Hansen, the USA Cycling Collegiate Program Manager.

This is a space to learn from each other and get a peek into the operations of teams you might not otherwise encounter. So start sharing. Submit stories to collegiateupdate@usacycling.org.

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Conference News

ECCC Welcomes Newest Assistant Director

After doing an astounding job organizing the ECCC's 2009 mountain season, UVM alum Ian Sullivan has become the conference's newest Assistant Director. Ian brings years of experience and an unrivaled passion for collegiate cycling to help Director Joe Kopena and Assistant Director Caitlin Thompson move the largest collegiate cycling conference onward and upward. We all look forward to working with Sully in the years to come. Look for an interview with Ian next month.

RMCCC Looking for New Assistant Director

After the departure of RMCCC Director Anne Spalding, and the ascension from Co-Director to Director of Spencer Powlison, the Rocky Mountain Conference is in the process of finding a new Assistant Director. The position will handle many of the logistical and technical aspects of the job, including scoring and ranking, website maintenance, and volunteer coordination. See a full job description and instructions for application here.

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National News

The NCCA No More

Those with a particularly keen attention to detail may have noticed recently that the collegiate webpage is no longer usacycling.org/ncca but is now usacycling.org/collegiate. Why the change? What’s the difference? And why don’t you see too many references to the NCCA anymore in the first place? Well, the short answer is that the NCCA doesn’t exist any longer. And discounting its legal name for the board, it hasn’t since 2004. Collegiate cycling is USA Cycling Collegiate.

A bit of history: founded in 1985, the National Collegiate Cycling Association was originally a standing committee of USA Cycling (less official than an association and without a board of trustees). It was a legal entity under the purview of the United States Cycling Federation until 2004, when it was voted by the Board of Directors that it become a full Association of USA Cycling. At that point in time, all associations of USA Cycling, such as USCF and NORBA were ushered under the larger umbrella of USA Cycling. Now, instead of referring to collegiate cycling or its governance as NCCA, the title of collegiate cycling is officially USA Cycling Collegiate.

So what’s the difference? Isn’t it just semantics, anyway you look at it? Well for one, uniting everything under one title makes for a much clearer organizational concept. How USA Cycling, USCF, NORBA, and the NCCA all related to one another was confusing and complicatedthings more than they needed to be. The consolidation also alleviates any confusion with theNCAA, which has no affiliation with USA Cycling or collegiate cycling. As time goes by, you will see fewer and fewer references to the NCCA on the website, and unless you’re writing a legal document regarding collegiate cycling for some strange reason, it’s plain and simple: USA Cycling Collegiate.

USA Cycling Introduces My USAC iPhone App

If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, and you've found yourself longing for an easier way to stay up to date on the latest collegiate cycling news while on the go, long no more! USA Cycling has introduced the My USAC app allowing users to check up on the latest news from all disciplines of cycling in the U.S.

USACDF Awards 4 Collegiate Cycling Scholarships

USA Cycling has recognized four outstanding student-athletes; two as recipients of the annual John Stenner Collegiate Cycling Scholarship and two as winners of the Joshua Kuck Memorial Scholarship Fund. Winners of the Stenner Scholarship, Kay Sherwood (Colorado Springs, Colo.) of Colorado College and Nicholas Reinert (Mertztown, Pa.) of University of Pittsburgh were each granted scholarships based on academic achievements, athletic accomplishments and service to the community with an emphasis on collegiate team involvement and leadership. The annual scholarship program is funded by donations to the USA Cycling Development Foundation in the name of John Stenner, one of the founders of collegiate cycling. The Kuck Memorial Scholarship winners, Union College’s Rachel Millsop (Springdale, Ark.) and Oscar Clark (Atlanta, Ga.) of Georgia State University, will receive a scholarship based on outstanding achievements in the areas of cycling safety, advocacy and education. The program is funded through the USA Cycling Development Foundation by directed donations from the friends and family of Joshua Kuck, a University of South Florida collegiate cyclist who was killed on his bike in 2007.

Read all about this year's winners here

FLC and App State Claim CX Titles

USA Cycling Collegiate individual and team titles were decided for both Division I and Division II. After losing last year’s cyclo-cross omnium title to rival Lees-McRae College (Banner Elk, N.C.) in a heart-breaking tie breaker Fort Lewis College (Durango, Colo.) displayed their dominance in the 2009 competition. The Colorado mountain school grabbed first, third and fifth places in the DI women’s race along with second, fourth, ninth and tenth in the men's to rack up 188 total points.

For the second year in a row, Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) claimed the Division II team championship, ahead of last year’s winner, Western Washington University (Bellingham, Wash.). The competition was close however, as Appalachian State claimed 159 total points ahead of Western Washington’s 138. Perennial division II stalwarts Massachusetts Institute of Technology claimed the third place on the podium. 

Read the rest of the story here, including post-race interviews and photos from the podiums. Check out the complete list of omnium totals here.

FLC and Mesa State Top National Rankings Post-CX

While Mesa State College of Grand Junction, CO, the only Division II school to have participated in all three national championships so far this academic year, maintains a comfortable lead over its second place rival, MIT, the Division I race to be the best collegiate cycling team in the country is still wide open. Only 15 points separate 4th place Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO) from 1st place Fort Lewis College (Durango, CO), well within the 20 possible points allotted to the winner of each national championship.

The rankings will remain unchanged until after USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships, May 7-9 in Madison, WI, when a final leader will emerge.

Division I National Collegiate Team Rankings
1 Fort Lewis College 58
2 Lees-McRae College 53
3 Lindsey Wilson College 49
4 Colorado State University 43
5 Marian University 36
6 University of Colorado - Boulder 32
7 University of California - Davis 28
8 Pennyslvania State University 24
9 University of Washington - Seattle 17
10 California Tech - San Luis Obispo 17
See Full Rankings Here

Division II National Collegiate Team Rankings
1 Mesa State College 51
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 38
3 Appalachian State University 32
4 Western Washington University 30
5 Colby College 21
6 Brevard College 20
7 Union College- KY 19
8 Warren Wilson College 18
9 Kutztown University of Pennsylvania 18
10 Colorado College 18
See Full Rankings Here

WANTED: 55 Riders for Week-Long Charity Ride

Nine USA Cycling members have already signed up for the Wheels for Wells Relay across America. If you're looking for a good excuse to go on a week-long bike ride with some beautiful scenery, the deadline to register is March 15. The journey will raise funds and create awareness for the water crisis in Africa, beginning in Long Beach, Calif. on June 27 and ending in Ocean City, NJ on August 7. A total of 90 riders will complete six week-long legs of the trip, and each rider can choose which leg they'd like to participate in. Click here for more information or contact Chris Carr at (484) 459-3280

Be Sure to Check out Collegiate Cycling in the News!

Click here for all the latest stories in the press about collegiate cycling.

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The Explainer

How is the Omnium Scored?

If you just examined the national rankings, you probably asked yourself exactly how those seemingly random points are arrived at. Take it from us, it's not an easy process. But each layer of calculations (and there are a few) is there for a reason, acting as a series of checks and balances to ensure total fairness. We broke down the process into a (relatively) simple document below. Cyclocross was used as an example, because of its simplicity (there is only one event per gender per division), but multiply this by each event at each national chamnpionship, and you'll understand why there's usually a few minutes' delay between the conclusion of the racing and the podiums! Read how it all works here.

Results of the MTB Omnium Poll

Two months ago we asked your opinion on the current individual omnium at USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships. Some had raised concerns regarding safety of riders, as well as the logic behind an event for which only a handful of riders competed. The final results were that 58% of respondents want to see a change, while 42% were against it. Of those that wished to change things, 60% wanted to see separate endurance and gravity omniums. Thanks for participating everyone! The Collegiate Board of Trustees has looked at this information and will consider it for future rule changes. At this point, no formal proposals have been made.

One misconception was common among participants in the poll, however, as many were under the impression that some events are weighted more than others (i.e. cross country worth more points than downhill). This is untrue, however, as all mountain events follow the same points scale, found on page 268 of the 2010 rulebook. Feel free to send any other suggestions or ideas to collegiaterules@usacycling.org.

Why Can't I Wear Non-Collegiate Clothes in a Race?

This little-known rule (7I3) caught a few riders off guard at the 2009 USA Cycling Collegiate Cyclocross National Championships, and they went home with fines (but they could have just as easily been sent packing with disqualifications). It may seem a bit strange, but the idea behind the rule (it applies to jerseys as well) is in the basic spirit of collegiate cycling. There are a good number of pros that race in the collegiate ranks, but if they were to race in their trade team kits, would they really be racing for their colleges? In the same vein, it's not fair to those pros to allow non-pros to wear whatever jersey or shorts they want. Summarized and paraphrased, the rule states that any jersey and shorts worn in a collegiate race must either be blank or display the school name (or initials) as the largest item on the kit. The official rule can be found on pages 179-80 of the 2010 rulebook. The fine is $20 or disqualification if caught during a race.

Submit any questions you have about collegiate cycling to collegiateupdate@usacycling.org

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Team of the Month

Marian University

Essay by Dean Peterson, Head Coach

In 1992 Marian University (then Marian College) had a colossal idea to add cycling to its menu of varsity sports. For a school that had no cyclists at the time, it was a bold move that was triggered by the proximity of the Major Taylor Velodrome only a quarter mile away. Although collegiate cycling was already on the move, Marian was one of the first schools to think about and utilize its cycling community resources to build and support a varsity cycling team.  18 years later the cycling team is thriving and has become an important part of the Marian University culture. By the end of 2009-2010, the team of 25 riders of all levels will compete in track, mountain, cross and road events while achieving an average grade point average above a 3.0 with an emphasis on service in the community and team building events. Marian cyclists make a commitment to school and community first before committing to the cycling team, which has been part of the recipe of building a strong team of people who support each other on and off the bike. 
Over the past three years Marian cyclists have worked together to support numerous organizations and events: The Davis Phinney Foundation, Indiana Sports Corporation, Pedal for Peace, Major Taylor Velodrome, The Marian University Time Trial Series, The Midwest Cycling Classic, Hoosier Cross training series, USA Cycling

Development Track Camp, Brookside  Cyclocross Race, and many others.  The team also plans and leads spin classes on campus in the Marian University cycling center for the Marian faculty, staff and student body. The cycling center is another important element that has given the team a home base similar to a gym for a basketball team or a field for a soccer team. The cycling center serves as a place for the team to meet, train, service bikes, consult with coaches, and socialize between classes.  The coaches use the center to teach training techniques and to periodically test the performance of the riders.
Marian has committed to building a caring and competitive team of student cyclists who will earn a valuable degree and have the option to ride recreationally or professionally after graduation. Marian believes in collegiate cycling as one of the best opportunities for young cyclists to develop on and off the bike and takes great pride in knowing that after graduation students have options as athletes and young professionals in the work force.

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Meet the Conference Directors

Nancy Ellis, SWCCC Director

How did you first get involved with cycling? My husband Scott started racing before we were married, and it took about six months of his teammates asking me to watch their keys/kids/dogs etc. before I got sick of that and started racing (and officiating)!  That was many years ago (24+). What about collegiate cycling? As both promoters and officials, we worked with collegiate riders back East.  When we both went back to school at the University of Arizona for advanced degrees, we both competed at NCCA races.

How long have you been conference director? Officially since 2007

Describe a typical race weekend; what do you do? On race weekends in AZ, most of the time I am officiating in addition to addressing any conference director issues, so I am probably running around like crazy.  When it is an out-of-AZ race, I get to relax a bit, just dealing with any collegiate issues that arise; I also like to score the riders myself so they can get an “unofficial” view of the points right after the race.

Do you ride very often?   5-6 days a week (depends on what race is coming up and how my coach wants to torture me), plus I run half marathons. Race?  Yes, as long as I have been riding (I’m a Cat 2 now).  Because there aren’t too many USAC officials in AZ, I work the majority of the races, so a lot of time I jump off the judges’ stand and try to race without a warmup, which doesn’t help my performance at all! Road or mountain?  Road  (ended up with too many injuries during mtb races!)

What kind of bike(s) do you have?  Road (several); TT; track; mtb & a commuter

What’s your favorite part of the job? I really enjoy working with the collegiate riders, especially those just starting out.  I love seeing them progress through the ranks, and become more successful in both collegiate cycling as well as other USAC cycling events on local, regional, and the national scales.  I also appreciate the ones whom not only are collegiate cyclists, but who are interested in other aspects of cycling, including coaching, promoting and officiating. Least favorite? Riders who think their attendance at Nationals is a “given” drive me nuts.  The sponsored pros/semipros/etc. who can’t be bothered to show up for any collegiate events and then demand spots for Nationals over riders who have made collegiate cycling a priority leave a bad taste in my mouth.

What are some of the unique challenges of running the Southwest conference? It is the smallest conference, and several of the schools only compete in one discipline (mtb or road), so the fields are relatively small each season; the conference does not have any collegiate-only events.   As a result, the conference only has 3-4 events per season, including the championships.  The SWCCC has only had CX events sporadically over the last several years, and the closest track is in San Diego.    

Why do you keep doing it? When I first moved here, the collegiate cycling programs in the conference were much larger, and collegiate racers had an opportunity to race every weekend.   I would like to help build up these numbers again within the conference, but it will take time.   With last year’s re-alignment and the increasing attendance at mtb events this fall,  I think we have made good progress so far.

What is special about collegiate cycling? Honestly, I think it is how a college attendee who maybe hasn’t ridden a bike since he/she was a pre-teen gets on a bike again and then makes the effort to train and put in lots of miles and has the desire to try racing.  It’s not an easy sport to succeed in, and yet these men and women keep training and keep coming back.  And probably for every one that makes it to the A level, there are 3 or 4 that stay in the Bs or Cs and try their hardest to support their clubs, whether it is through racing or by standing on a corner all day as a marshal.  I love seeing the dedication each race weekend. 

What is your paying job? I’m a multimodal planner for a local city, which basically means that I plan and implement all bike routes and facilities, pedestrian amenities and trails.  On some days, it means that I actually get paid to go out and ride my bike or to go hiking!

Tell me three things about yourself that don’t involve cycling. I am an award-winning cross stitcher. I have a business designing jewelry and conducting genealogy research. I am a huge football (Buffalo Bills, don’t laugh) and hockey fan.

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Meet the Board of trustees

Emma Bast

How did you first get involved with cycling? I have been aware of cycling my whole life: my mom used to tell me stories of when she raced back in the day, sharing tales of such classic epics as the Mt. Washington Hill Climb and the Red Zinger/Coors Classic. I myself didn't get involved with cycling until the end of my sophomore year at Mt. Holyoke, when I quit the crew team and took up cycling instead. What about collegiate cycling? Collegiate cycling at Mount Holyoke College was my first introduction and experience with the sport. It was love at first ride.

How long have you been on the Board? I have been on the Board since the fall of 2008.

What motivated you to run for the Board? I wanted a way to give back to collegiate cycling, and to help guide it's future in the best directions possible.

Do you ride very often? Every day, except for rest days. Race? Yes! Road and cross. I don't know what I'll do in March without Collegiate. Possibly some track this summer as well, if all goes according to plan.

What kind of bike(s) do you have? I have my road bike (Lemond Alpe D'Huez), cross (Spooky Supertouch), and a recently acquired vintage 70's racing bike (Windsor) with Campy 5-speed components that I plan on using for riding around.

What’s your favorite part of being on the board? Making really positive changes that most cyclists will never see, but enjoy anyway because we find ways to improve collegiate cycling. Also, of course, I always enjoy a well-worded letter to the Board with solid arguments for a case. It's great to hear from everyone out there.

What do you hope to change and/or accomplish while on the board of trustees? Generally, I want to make sure that collegiate cycling continues to grow and head in positive directions. I specifically want to find ways to try to bring more women into the sport- I think it's a systemic problem that no one has quite figured out yet, but we're working on it. Also, Intro to Bicycle Racing is totally rad, a great way to get people into the sport, and I'm hoping to see that program grow as well.

What is special about collegiate cycling? It's a totallydifferent attitude from other racing I've encountered. The closest thing would probably be the cyclocrossscene in New England, but even that is a little less crazy than Collegiate. It is, after all, one big (slightly dysfunctional) family.

What is your real job? Job-hunting.

Tell me three things about yourself that don’t involve cycling. There have been grumblings in the past about this question. Three whole things that don't involve cycling? I would like to go ahead and second those grumblings, and possibly move to get myself exempted from this question. No?

  1. I love to cook and bake and am constantly looking for people to eat the things I make, so that I don't do it all by myself.
  2. My family and I make maple syrup every year. This is not particularly special in Vermont, but is a delicious hobby.
  3. When I get bored I try to learn a new skill. Most recently, I have switched my keyboard format from QWERTY to Colemak, and am currently re-learning how to touchtype.

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Race Calendar

UC San Diego / San Diego State
NC State
Wake Forest
Florida State
Arizona State
Cal Poly SLO
Metropolitan State
Texas Tech
Georgia Southern
New Mexico
William and Mary
Texas A&M
New Mexico State
UC Santa Barbara
Columbia / Stevens
Colorado / Northern Colorado
Dallas / Fort Worth
Georgia Tech
Virginia / Virginia Commonwealth
Philly Phlyer
Colorado State
Princeton / Stevens
Kansas State
Mesa State
Texas State
Appalachian State
(Utah State)
Nebraska* (TTT)
UCLA / Nevada Reno
West Virginia
Minnesota* (RR)
Colorado College
Midwestern State
Alabama Huntsville
CS San Marcos / Stanford
Virginia Tech*
(Utah State)
North Dakota* (Crit)
Air Force
Mars Hill
UC Davis
Utah Valley*
Fort Lewis*
UC Santa Cruz*
USA Cycling Collegiate National Road Championships - Madison, WI


Blue = Road, Purple = Cyclocross, Bold* = Conference championships

Conferences not listed here do not have events scheduled yet in this time period.

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The Collegiate Cycling Monthly Update appears at the beginning of the first full week of each month. If you know any collegiate rider that doesn't receive this newsletter, he or she can sign up for it by checking the box in his or her USAC account e-mail opt-in preferences.

Send questions, comments, story ideas, or photos to collegiateupdate@usacycling.org.

This Article Published January 11, 2010 For more information contact: