Brevard, N.C. – The Brevard College cycling team’s top mountain bike racer, Tristian Cowie, took second this past weekend at the Collegiate National Mountain Bike Championships on an extremely muddy and challenging course.
As one of the pre-race favorites for a podium finish, Cowie said,“I knew that I would do well, but didn’t expect to get second. I’m really happy with this result.”
The field featured top level national caliber riders, and last year’s winner, Colin Cares, was again present this year, and heavily favored for the win. Cowie was able to keep Cares, the eventual winner, close throughout the race, and out-performed over 50 other riders for almost two and a half hours.
The course was a rain soaked 5 miles of steep climbs and technical descents, a course style that favors riders who are familiar with the riding on the trails in Transylvania County. Rain over the past several days made much of the course un-ridable for all but the most skilled racers. This race is the yearly culmination of collegiate mountain bike racing, and the top teams from across the nation send their best riders to compete for the national title.
BC’s Matt St. Marie gained the team’s next highest finish, placing in 14th, and said that the muddy conditions took a toll.
The rest of the Brevard College team did well in the cross country events, with another solid finish from Gattis Tyler in the men’s race. Joanne Tuttle got 14th in the women’s race and Nan Pugh added a 17th place finish.
On Saturday’s short course races, both Cowie and St. Marie had sub-par performances, placing 9th and 14th, respectively. Tyler placed 25th, a solid result for the Brevard senior. Tuttle and Pugh placed 10th and 14th, respectively. The course was once again rain soaked and muddy, and challenged competitors with very slippery conditions.
In the program’s first full year of racing, the Brevard College cycling team raced extremely well throughout the season to qualify for the race. Only the best schools in the country get invited to race, and Brevard is looking forward to being able to build their team over the next year in order to compete for the overall team title in the coming years.
Coach Thad Walker has worked this season to get the team to where it is, and was key in supporting the team before and during the race. Brevard is currently ranked third in the country in the ratio of students to cycling team members. This is only the beginning of things to come, which says a lot for the support that they have received from both the College and the community.