Collegiate Racing: Motivation and Community
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The places we ride, the people we meet, the memories created. What motivates you to complete millions of pedal revolutions and endure plenty of fatigue, all while pressing forward?
Words, images and video: Sean Bird
As a third-year student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, the collegiate cycling scene is no mystery. After receiving exposure in high school, before processing tales in college, collegiate cycling is a place for plenty of laughs, a plethora of smiles and memories.
With a revived interest in racing, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo student-athletes ventured south at the beginning of March, while competing in a University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) hosted event. Looking ahead, for the next seven weekends, Cal Poly will be represented across California, before landing in Grand Junction, Colorado.
On March 4, UCSB hosted “A Bicycle Race!” that quickly became a race of attrition for the Collegiate Men’s A field. Fortunately, Cal Poly lined up eight men for the event. For the weekend of road and criterium racing, 18 competitors entered 27 events, with one win and eight top-five finishes. Along the Central Coast, the stoke was alive and well.
During Saturday’s road race, with eight men to control the Collegiate Men’s A field, high hopes were present. Early, Cal Poly’s Tim Mabray entered a break, relieving some pressure. Eventually, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) elevated the pace, while controlling the front for multiple laps throughout a five-lap, 70-mile ordeal.
After frequent flyers and consistent sprints early on, the pace had settled. Unfortunately, while sitting comfortably, I was struck with a front puncture, day done for me. “Carry on, men, air support is headed home,” I joked with teammates, bummed about my poor fortune.
Continuing on, with evening hours approaching, final-lap fireworks caused an implosion. At the finish, Christopher Blevins (Cal Poly) and Samuel Boardman (UCLA) finished clear of the splintered pack, jostling for position, before Blevins nudged a victory.
With racing complete for the day, a sense of community continued to spread. Slowly, very slowly, competitors left the race venue. There was little sense of urgency. With plenty of sprite individuals, all gathered on a Saturday, conversation and jubilation kept everyone in place.
With this crowd, at the end of the day, competition is memorable, laughs and smiles are cherished, pedal revolutions and fatigue are accepted, all for the joy of two wheels. Plus, a post-race In-N-Out Burger tradition never hurts.
What motivates you? Whatever it may be, carry on.