Brevard, N.C. - The Brevard College Cycling Team will compete in the National Championships at the Northstar at Tahoe Resort near Truckee, California October 16-18. The Tornados have improved each of the last two years, finishing eighth in the event in 2007 and fourth as a team in 2008.
The National Championships are out west after a two-year stint in North Carolina. The Tornados will arrive in Sacramento on Wednesday.
Eight Tornado men and four Tornado women will compete in the three day event, which begins with the Cross Country Race Friday Morning.
“After nationals last year the team set the goal of winning this year’s national championship,” Coach Thad Walker said.
Brevard’s Tristan Cowie is the defending National Champion in both the Short Track Cross Country and Cross Country Races and sees pressure and opportunity this weekend. “I’m excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to California. I’ve raced in Sonoma before, but I look forward to the challenge of a new terrain. There is some pressure,” Cowie continued, “when you are going to a place with higher elevation it’s best to get there either 10 days before or the day before competition,”
Cowie expects the soil to be a loose, rocky, composition that is different from the Carolinas, Coach Walker says that rain is called for toward the end of the week and that should make for great conditions on the course.
The team will get to pre-ride the Cross Country Course Thursday which is critical to making adjustments to the bike as well as choosing the right tires to race with. The Men will complete three laps of the 7.5 mile loop and the women will go around the course twice.
Matt St. Marie, Matthew Wells, and Corry Rimmer will join Cowie in the short track and cross country events, which together comprise the endurance section of Nationals.
Danny Cesare coming off his victory at the SECCC Championship in the Dual Slalom in Clemson two weeks ago will ride in the men’s Four Cross and Downhill on Sunday and he will be joined by Jacob Roland, Park Baker, and Tripp Bagnel. Rimmer will also compete try to take home the Omnium title for the men.
Joh Tuttle, Julia Tellman, Sarah Duncan, and Alexis Decosimo will race for the Women’s team. Tuttle won the Slalom and Omnium national titles in 2008. To qualify for the Omnium a rider must compete in three of the four events, which this weekend include both endurance events, as well as the Four-Cross and Downhill races, which together are known as the Gravity Events.
While Tuttle and Tellman have led the team this year, Coach Walker sees great improvement out of Duncan and Decosimo.
“I expect them to have a solid race. It has been fun to see their progression. Without their points this year we would not have won the conference.”
All four Tornado women will try for the omnium title.
"I'm excited about the possibility of a second omnium title,” said Tuttle, “I feel some pressure, but I still want to enjoy myself."
The Tornados raced for six straight weeks before getting two weeks off between the Conference Championships and Nationals.
Coach Walker said the break came at a good time, and his team tapered down their intensity in individual workouts to recharge in time for the biggest weekend of the season.
He finished by praising his team’s motivation and camaraderie saying, “They see the importance of contributing on and off the bike. They work hard but they have fun and everyone has a great passion for cycling. I’m here to handle the logistics, but it’s their team.”