While mountain biking has been a flourishing component of Mountain Sports since the program’s inception in 2012, most riders tend to hang their bikes up when the snow begins to fly. Sophomore Ryan Trimble, a Business Marketing major from Seattle, WA, decided to break that mold and race in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference (RMCCC) road biking circuit as the only representative from Western when he was a freshman.
“I slept in my car and raced alone all season,” Trimble said.
Trimble, who is also a cross-country mountain bike racer, was greeted with excitement from other mountain bikers on the team who also wanted to road race in the spring. On easy days, Trimble and crew would occasionally dash off on their road bikes while the rest of the team hit the dirt. The prospect of a road team was in the air.
Snow presents the greatest difficulty when training for the spring road season. Those who want to perform well once the season starts in early March must put in base miles during the heart of winter.
“I remind myself that if I put in the hard work [in the winter], I won’t have to worry about getting into shape once the road season comes around the corner,” said sophomore Aspen Wallace, an Exercise & Sport Science major from the Dominican Republic.
The addition of even just a few riders has made the training and racing experience far more enjoyable than when Trimble was going about it alone.
“We can all support each other now,” Trimble said.
This mutual support has kept the team focused and together despite not having an official coach yet.
“We are one family and it feels so great to be part of such a close team,” Wallace said. “There is constant encouragement in the team and everyone is so open to giving advice and helping out.”
Mountain Sports has increased its funding for the team to now to cover all food, travel, race fees and lodging expenses—a big upgrade from sleeping in a car.
“[Mountain Sports’] willingness to support the team means a lot,” Trimble said. “It makes it easy to focus on racing.”
All the other schools in the RMCCC—who the mountain bikers compete against in the fall—are excited to see Western join in on the road scene.
“We love going to races and having people say they are happy to see us out on the road,” said sophomore Grant Gipson, a Business Marketing major from Leadville, Colo. “We are proud to be the first road team that Mountain Sports has had.”
Gipson, Trimble and Wallace plan to compete at the USA Cycling Collegiate National Road Championships in Grand Junction, Colo., starting April 27.
Story by Peter Noon. Photos by Ming Goetz.