cycling team cruises to national title
6 June 2002
D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs
was a banner season for Cal's sports program, with the
rugby, softball and crew teams all bringing home national
championships. Amid the media blitz and hoopla, though,
was another compelling victory that didn't draw much attention:
Cal's cycling team also clinched a national collegiate
a self-supporting team, the group usually doesn't get
much press attention. But last month the cyclists scored
a first for Berkeley: they won the overall team title
and several individual titles at the National Collegiate
Cycling Road Race in Vermont.
quite a feat, given the group's self-sufficiency. Unlike
Cal's football, basketball, or swimming programs, they
receive no financial support from the university.
members paid for the trip to the finals out of their own
pockets, made hotel and transportation arrangements, and
relied on each other for advice and motivation, since
they can't afford a coach.
was tough to stay focused on the race," said environmental
engineering major Kate Maher, "because we had to
take care of all these details ourselves."
rag-tag bunch went wheel-to-wheel with schools boasting
fully funded programs, high-tech equipment, coaching staff,
administrative support, scouts and scholarships.
three grueling days, the Berkeley riders sprinted around
tight corners, trudged up steep inclines and pedaled long
distances over treacherous terrain. The threat of flat
tires, stripped gears, injuries, accidents and exhaustion
hung over them throughout the race; but a little luck
and expert preparation pulled them through.
received a map of the course in January and saw a hill
that looked a lot like one here, up above the campus,"
said Lance Doherty, a graduate electrical engineering
student. "So we decided then we'd climb it three
times a week to get ready."
they first started, Doherty said they could barely reach
the peak. But by early May, the group was cruising uphill
members devote anywhere from 10 to 20 hours a week training,"
said Maher. "We have to be out there every day, even
if it's cold and rainy, to stay in top shape."
many were surprised by Cal's accomplishment - Berkeley's
last appearance at the finals was in 1991 - team members
never wavered in their commitment to win the title.
I set a goal, I write it on a post-it note and tack it
to my bathroom mirror," Doherty said. "I decided
last year that we were going to win this spring, so I
put it on the mirror and looked at it everyday for inspiration."
year, we had to sit back and watch as UC Davis cruised
the winners lap in their championship jerseys," said
Anya Hinkle, an integrative biology major. "I think
that made us hungry."
appetite for victory made for an impressive showing at
the tournament, which consists of three races: the Criterium,
a fast-paced, 50-minute sprint around city blocks; the
Road Race, a 65-mile endurance test; and the Team Time
Trial, where four riders work together to come up with
the fastest group time.
combined points of Berkeley's men's and women's squads,
each with five members, put them at the head of the pack.
And then it was Cal's turn to don the championship jerseys
for the winners lap.
the team is still basking in the glow of the victory,
they're already steering toward the future.
hope this title will encourage new talent to come to Berkeley,"
said Maher. "We want to continue this tradition of
Cal cycling team in action during the National Collegiate
Cycling Road Race in Vermont