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Collegiate Cycling Nationals: Rolling into Cheeseland
 
By Imelda March
Date: 5/5/2011
Collegiate Cycling Nationals: Rolling into Cheeseland
 
The University of Wisconsin Badgers is putting the final touches on hosting the 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships on May 6, 7 and 8 in the City of Madison.

According to USA Cycling Collegiate, in 2010 there were 295 teams and 4,834 license holders, 904 of which were women collegiate racers. All these compete in 11 U.S.-sanctioned collegiate bike racing conferences. By early March of this year there were already 3,500 collegiate license holders.

With all roads leading to the Dairy State, U.S.-recognized collegiate cycling programs are dreaming of netting the “big cheese” this race has become, including several women’s teams that have done well within their regions.

All eyes will be on the 14-time national champion–Marian University of Indianapolis, IN who will be looking for title number 15 in Madison, this weekend in an event that will feature a time trial, road race, and criterium. In spite of this powerhouse, many of the other programs have come on strong and finished their seasons with conference championships and accolades. But Marian University has a strong roster with collegiate, international, and U.S. National Team racing expertise that will prove difficult to match by other conference riders.


Image Credit: Clint Thayer Focal Flame Photography Art That Moves You

STUDENTS READYING FOR THE RACE

As with other USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships, there will be favored and dark horse riders. We reached out to a number of students and coaches who shared their sentiments about the upcoming championships.

The 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships is expected to draw over 500 total riders from around the U.S. What does it mean for you to compete in this race?

Kelley Hess, University of Wisconsin-Madison
PhD Student
Major: Astronomy
Events: criterium and road race

The 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National is the culmination of a winter and spring of hard training in less than ideal conditions. It's awesome to host and participate in the national event in Madison as spring is blossoming in Wisconsin!


Lindsey Durst, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Senior (Graduating December 2011)
Major: Psychology
Events: criterium and road race

Collegiate racing means everything to me. The UW Cycling team has introduced me to the world of cycling and, as a result, to many of my closest friends and for that I am eternally grateful. It is an honor to represent UW Madison at nationals, and the fact that we are hosting the event makes it that much more special. This is the perfect way to end my collegiate cycling career.

Additionally, being the Sponsorship Coordinator for the UW cycling team and being able to work on the 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships has been a life-changing experience. It has helped me realize that after graduation I want to work in the cycling industry. Working with Tom Schuler and Jack Hirt from Team Sports Inc has been an amazing learning experience. Tom and Jack are excellent mentors who helped me understand all of the background work that goes into putting on a major event like nationals.

Being the sponsorship coordinator and full time student while training and racing full time has definitely tested my multitasking abilities, but despite all of the late nights and a constant sense of being overwhelmed, I wouldn't trade my experiences this last year for the world!


Jackie Kurth, Marian University
Sophomore
Major: Sports Performance/ Psychology
Events: road race, team time trial (TTT), and criterium

Competing at collegiate nationals is unlike any other national competition in that it is so team oriented. I am grateful to be competing and to be part of such an amazing team at Marian University.


Kaitlin Antonneau, Marian University
Freshman
Major: Sports Performance
Events: road race, TTT, and criterium.

I'm excited about the opportunity to race in my home state at collegiate nationals. I'm looking forward to participating and helping my team achieve our goal.


COACHES WEIGH IN

We reached out to a number of coaches for their insights on notable female athletes who should not be discounted at this national event.

“I think you can never count out Ashley James of Appalachian State. Last year she won the U-23 in cyclocross, and this year she dropped everybody for the collegiate title. So she came out of cross season with incredible form and since then I am not aware of a single road race that she has lost. I might be a little biased being her former coach, but Ashley James is my call for the collegiate title.”

Coach Dave Grigsby, Lindsey Wilson Cycling (LWC), Columbia, KY

“Rachel Warner (current pursuit national champion) is a candidate for sure, as well as Erica Zaveta. Rachel had a 45-second gap with 3 miles to go last year before flatting and having to settle for top ten. She is riding very well. Also, Erica Zaveta is the defending DI Cross-Country Mountain Bike national champion and will be strong as well.”

Luke Winger, Head Cycling Coach, Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, NC


“We have a number of strong women in the Southeastern Collegiate Conference (SECCC) who are reigning national champions in other disciplines and seem on track for success at road nationals. In D1, the women from Lees-McRae are riding very well.

Look for Rachel Warner to avenge the flat tire she got in the road race in the 2010 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships when leading on the last lap. Erica Zaveta will be a threat in any of the events. Cynthia Lehner's sprint is dangerous in the criterium, too.

In D2, Kimberly Flynn (current cyclocross national champion) from University of Tennessee-Chattanooga is on good form for the road race. Lauren DeCrescenzo from Emory has been riding strong, too. Our women at Mars Hill, especially Stephanie Bunnett and Klara Rossouw, have a good shot at podiums, and we like our chances in the TTT as well.”

Hugh Moran, Head Coach, Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, NC


“Both Jackie Kurth and Kaitie Antonneau are doing well and both will be strong at nationals.

There are others from the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference (MWCCC) to watch, however. The University of Wisconsin-Madison will bring a strong trio of women to nationals with Kelly Hess, Holly Mathews and Lindsay Durst. All three have raced well throughout the season and I expect they'll be better on their home turf in May. Hess will be good in all races, but I expect she'll be looking for the podium in the criterium on Sunday. Everyone should respect her strength and craftiness.

Although she did not race much during the regular season, Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Robin Bauer has a nose for the line and the strength to drive a break from the field. She'll be good.

Northwestern's Axie Navas is not to be underestimated in the road race. She has clearly trained hard over the winter and will be with the top women on day one for sure.

Marian's Anna Young was a quiet 4th in the conference standings, but she will be strong in May as well.”

Dean Peterson, Cycling Coach, Marian University, Indianapolis, IN


“Things are going great on our end--we just finished our SECCC conference finals with many individual victories and the conference title as a team.

From our conference, Southeastern Collegiate Conference (SECCC), I would like to brag about two girls from our team, Rachel Warner and Erica Zaveta. On the DII side of things, Kimberly Flynn from University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (UTC Chattanooga) could pose a threat.

From the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference (ACCC), don’t forget Appalachian State University’s (D1) Ashley James from Dousman, WI who beat Katie for the collegiate 2010 USA Cycling Collegiate Cyclo-cross title in Bend, OR. Appalachian State is a DI school.”

Robert Jameson, Assistant Cycling Coach, Lees-McRae, Banner Elk, NC


“I don't anticipate any surprises in the road race. The well-known favorites or women from areas with a lot of climbing are those I anticipate will perform well in the road race.

The criterium will be much harder to predict in comparison to last year's course. I was quite confident that the "top 5" would be almost exactly who I had predicted in advance for both the men and the women (and they were very close). This year there is less guarantee of a field sprint finish. When I lived in the Midwest, I watched this race finish in both field sprints and in breakaways. Only twice had I seen the old course around the Capitol building finish with a breakaway, and those were both because the teams represented in the break were all content to control the field. It is no doubt that this year's winners will have to use their brain and their legs. Teams with four strong girls will have a huge advantage over the smaller teams, more so than with the criterium we saw around the Capitol building or its predecessor Nationals criterium course in Colorado.

A number of the favorites have had the advantage of racing multiple times on the criterium course for local spring races in the past. They will be able to draw from their historical knowledge of the event to help them make good decisions in the race.

Natalie Klemko (2008 USA Cycling Collegiate National Criterium Champion and Wisconsin native) is our top hope for the criterium, while Loren Eggenschwiler will be a threat in the breakaways, and Claire Routledge (our track sprinter) will be a threat in the sprint. We have a small conference in the Women's A department, so our women have been racing with the Men's B at a conference level. I think this will give them some advantages in the criterium.”

Julie Carter, Head Coach, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX.


AWARD CATEGORIES

Individual National Championship Categories
Men’s Division I Criterium
Men’s Division II Criterium
Men’s Division I Road Race
Men’s Division II Road Race
Men’s Division I Overall
Men’s Division II Overall
Women’s Division I Criterium
Women’s Division II Criterium
Women’s Division I Road Race
Women’s Division II Road Race
Women’s Division I Overall
Women’s Division II Overall

Team National Championship Categories
Men’s Division I Team Time Trial
Men’s Division II Team Time Trial
Women’s Division I Team Time Trial
Women’s Division II Team Time Trial
Division I Overall
Division II Overall

EVENT SCHEDULE

For a full list of events, dates, and times visit 2011 Collegiate Road Nationals Schedule.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND LIVE COVERAGE

We expect plenty of conversation about the 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate National Road Championships to take place through social media channels; however, at press time there was no information about a live stream of the event.

Many of the schools will be using social media to get the message out about individual team performances; however, to ensure you don’t miss a beat we invite you to follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #collnats.

PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS AND ATHLETES

Visit registered collegiate athletes to take a look at the schools represented in the 11 national conferences from around the nation.

RACE COURSES

Criterium

Road Race

Time Trial

Visit 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Road Championship to view the entire event schedule.


About the author: Imelda March lives in Chicago and is a member of Team Kenda. She is a frequent contributor to The Daily Peloton Cycling News team, reporting on women’s cycling issues and general peloton ramblings. Imelda is an experienced racer who also holds an MBA and is a marketing strategy expert.


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