2010 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships Preview

2010 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships Preview

The crown jewel of collegiate cycling is fast approaching, as Madison, Wisconsin quickly prepares for the arrival of the 2010 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships on May 7th. Every tidbit of possible detail you could ever need to know about the event can be found in the technical guide, but we've prepared a preview of the most important basics for you to start getting amped for the big weekend. 

Registration: While this may not sound like the most exciting of topics, this event bears witness to a major game-changer for USA Cycling national events: integrated online registration on the USA Cycling website. You can now register for the event directly from your USA Cycling account page, where all your contact information, team info, category data, and everything else needed for the event are already stored. You don't have to create another profile, all the data is up-to-date (so results are more accurate!), it knows if you're qualified, and here's the best part: fees are greatly reduced from 2009! It's super-easy to use, especially if you're registering an entire team, and you can read all about it here.

Road Race: So let's leave the assumptions at the door. Just because we're headed to the Midwest doesn't mean this is the American terrain equivalent of the spring classics. The words "pancake flat" will not be on anyone's tongues come Friday May 7th. While we've come down in altitude from Fort Collins, the hills have followed us, and brought with them 8,000 vertical feet of climbing in the men's race, and 6,000 in the women's. The race will feature a neutral start down the wall of a finishing straight in Blue Mounds State Park, and then the racing will take off down the descent out into rural Wisconsin. Two medium climbs will open up everyone's legs on the first lap and shed a few off the back, while the close of each lap will feature a grueling kick up through the feed zone, rising over 600 feet in about 1.5 miles. Grades will top out at around 10%, and average around 7.5%. At the race's finish, however, rather than turning left down the descent as riders started, they will continue on straight up the hill to the team parking area, adding another 300 feet of altitude in under a mile. Check out the men's course and the women's course at www.trainingpeaks.com. USA Cycling National Events Director Micah Rice has promised USAC staff a round of brews if anyone finishes within a bike length of one another. So in other words, a nice easy start to the weekend.

Criterium: Saturday afternoon we'll head downtown, for what looks on the map to be a pretty basic 4-corner crit. A little kicker between corners 3 & 4, but nothing too dramatic. Just another downtown crit. On paper, anyway. In reality, the setting for the event couldn't be more beautiful, ringing Capitol Square where the state capitol of Wisconsin sits surrounded by greenery, shops, and crowds. The race will kick off immediately following the local farmer's market, so expect plenty of spectators and new fans for collegiate cycling. A favorite course of the Midwest cycling scene among collegiate, pros, and amateurs, what the course lacks in technical chicanes and crazy climbs, it makes up for in prestige, energy, atmosphere and environment. The short 1km course will not only be super-spectator friendly, but should make for some exciting race dynamics as riders will try to make use of every turn and every meter of real estate on the tight course.

Team Time Trial: Just as the Tour finishes with a race against the clock, so will Collegiate Road Nationals. Within each division and gender, teams will go off in reverse order of their current Team Omnium standings, so suspense will be tight down to the last team. The course itself will feature several tight turns and some not-insignificant little climbs (1,000 ft of climbing overall with a few 5% grade rollers), starting and ending at Trek World Headquarters and Factory in Waterloo, Wisconsin. After the race, the final awards ceremony will be held in the Trek entryway, with the Grand Tour winning bikes of Lance, Alberto, and Paolo in the background.

Other Excitement: Hosted in the beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace right on the lakefront, the annual Collegiate Road Nationals Awards Banquet will feature entertainment by Trek, and a choice of risotto-stuffed chicken breast or fresh vegetables wrapped in phyllo dough. Also, as you can read below, the USAC Collegiate Board of Trustees will be holding its annual meetings in Madison over the weekend, so be sure to attend and have your voice heard. In addition to all of this, there will be a steeply discounted Coaching Clinic on Race Psychology that will include a continental breakfast on Saturday morning. USA Cycling Coaching Education Manager and Dr. Kristen Dieffenbach will present on the subject for about 2 hours, providing a wealth of information for coaches and riders alike. More information can be found in the Race Tech Guide, on the collegiate page of USA Cycling, and on the coaching page.

Event Benefits: In addition to the ability of all USA Cycling members to book flights through United Airlines and save up to 15% on flights (that's $45 on a $300 ticket!), several local sponsors have stepped up to make the event as affordable as possible for collegiate cyclists. The Madison Concourse Hotel & Governor's Club, a luxurious hotel by any standard, is offering a discounted rate to collegiate cyclists of $89/night for a 4-person room; that's over half-off! Plus, the official host hotel is right on the crit course, and a few blocks away from the Monona Terrace, so not only is it nice, but it's cheap, and centrally located! Also, to save money on those devilish airline fees, the Madison Concourse Hotel is offering an affordable bike shipping service. For $20, they will receive and store your bike prior to your arrival in Madison. Just think: $400 on an airplane or $100 via Fedex... Which would you choose? Finally, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, which has a rental desk right in the Dane County Regional Airport terminal, is offering a discount to all collegiate cyclists heading to road nationals (although you can even use the discount at any Enterprise location!): the Under-Age driver fee is waived, the multiple driver fee is waived, and every car's daily rate is reduced by 5%. This means that for a minivan for that weekend booked now, you would save $60 on the rental. Looking to share a car or hotel room because you’re a one person show? Check out this Google Group for ride and room shares at the event.

This Article Published April 27, 2010 For more information contact: