College Cycling at Lees-McRae

April 11, 2008

This is the first journal for Cyclingnews, on college cycling here at Lees-McRae cycling. My name is Doug Owen and I am the head coach. Over the course of our journals we hope to introduce you to and inform you about college cycling.

College cycling is the fastest growing segment of the USA cycling programs. The excitement is growing; it seems with new clubs forming every week. So many cyclists are learning that while they are at college getting an education they can also be a part of an absolutely fantastic experience called college cycling. In college cycling everyone gets a chance to participate. Not like other sports, where you have a few starters and everyone else sits on the bench, in college cycling everyone gets a chance to race against riders of the same level of rider as they are. In college cycling you can have riders from beginners to professional riders. At the races you can race as many riders as you have on your team. The top four riders in each category score points for your team in their quest to winning a conference title.

Here at Lees-McRae we are blessed to have a school that has an understanding of the importance of cycling to the school and the community and has funded the program through school-offered scholarships and monies to run the program. We have two full time coaches, my assistant coach Brian Sheedy and myself. Our program is a model for new schools who want to also start up similar programs. The majority of programs are still clubs run by the students involved, with very limited funding from the school. This is also an important part of the college cycling experience. It gives many of the teams a since of ownership and camaraderie that is unmatched in any other college sport.

For a school where the sport is looked at as a varsity sport, we are very proud of what we have accomplished in seven short years. Seven team national titles, and 25 individual national titles. With these titles we have reached into three of the four major disciplines of college cycling. Three mountain Bike National titles, two TTT national titles and two cyclo cross national titles. We have grown our program to 60 riders over the last three years, which allows us to participate in every discipline. We attract riders who specialize in one discipline, but get a chance to race in any discipline they are interested in. This helps to build team camaraderie and helps every one to feel a part of this wonderful program.

Over the remaining weeks of the school year we will have our riders write journals to share their college experience and help to explain what it is like to train and race and still have time for their studies. I hope over the course of these journals, you will find these entries interesting and informative.

Doug Owen Head Coach,

Lees-McRae College

Below is a complete roster and racing schedule for this spring's team.

Lees McRae Team - Spring 2008

Mike Anderson, Preston Anderson, Aaron Bradford, Ed Burress, Thomas Cockerton, Sean Condron, Rebbecca Conklin, Chris Consorto, Ben Corbalis, Nick Dale, John Doyle, Gonzalo Escobar, Dane Garvik, Katie Getchell, Robert Hancock, Jesse Hayes, Kristi Henne, Kaylie Henne, Will Hoffarth, Kevin Holldber, Ben Hulse, Chloe Jackson, Scott Jackson, Sam Keesler, Wentworth Knipe, Kristine Koch, Randy Laprairie, Kacey Mandefield, Kristin Markham, Vincent Massey, Olivia Maurey, Sean Ross McCoy, PJ Noto, Matthew Owen, Brad Perley, Chris Pickerell, Diego Rameriz, Michael Rozelle, James Schaffernoth, Austin Simmons, Stephen Solt, Ally Stacher, Carla Swart, Andrew Talansky, Michael Talley, Eric Thompson, Hannah Trimble, Jacob Vigneault, Carson Worts, Christian White.

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Lees-McRae supports one of the most successful collegiate cycling programs in the US. The squad has earned two consecutive cyclo-cross national championship titles in 2006 and 2007 and it finished second to Fort Lewis College at the 2007 collegiate mountain bike national championships. An amazing almost 10% of its small student body of about 600, are members of the college's cycling team. The Lees-McRae team is in its seventh year, making it one of the newer collegiate programs in the country. Despite its small school population, the team has been competing as a Division I school since the 2006-2007 school year. Follow the school's riders, under Coach Doug Owen, as they race toward success in road, mountain bike, track and cyclo-cross in 2008.