Collegiate Mountain Biking
Collegiate Mountain Bike Team
Membership to the Racing Team is open to all Prescott College students. Prescott College is a Division II affiliate of USA Cycling. Prescott College Bike Club operates under USA Cycling guidelines and rules. Membership to the Bike Club is open to staff and faculty members as well.
Beginning in 1987, collegiate cycling was represented by a standing committee (the National Collegiate Cycling Association, or NCCA), under the umbrella of the official national governing body of cycling in the United States, USA Cycling (USAC). In 2003 the USA Cycling Board of Directors voted to recognize collegiate cycling as an official division of USAC, with Board representation and voting rights in USAC matters, transforming the NCCA into the NCCA Board of Trustees. In 2006, the Collegiate Cycling Program Manager position was created to oversee the collegiate cycling program nationwide.
Today collegiate cycling is a fully integrated division of USA Cycling, with specific licenses available to collegiate athletes for exclusive use in collegiate races. USA Cycling provides racing opportunities for collegiate riders in track, mountain biking, cyclocross, BMX, and road disciplines in 11 conferences nationwide, with national championships occurring once a year for each discipline.
The mountain bike season spans from August to October and is divided up into two categories: Gravity and Endurance. Gravity races are technically challenging and rely on the forces of, yes, gravity for speed while challenging the reflexes and courage of each rider. Endurance events, on the other hand, depend more on the athletic abilities of their competitors as they traverse all types of terrain, both uphill and down. Collegiate cycling is unique in that it rewards the most versatile of riders: for those who manage to succeed in both endurance and gravity events, the Individual Omnium prize awaits them at the end of the season, and at USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships. A typical race weekend will comprise numerous events. Below are the types of races that occur at these weekends and that are contested at Nationals:
Cross Country (endurance): This mass-start event lasts as much as 1.5-2.5 hours, covering a large loop of singletrack with plenty of elevation gain and descending every lap.
Short Track (endurance): Another mass-start event, this race takes place on a short loop with lap times in the 2-5 minute range. Races are short, around 30 minutes, but very intense.
Downhill (gravity): One rider at a time descends a long stretch of treacherous terrain as fast as he or she possibly can.
Dual Slalom (gravity): Two riders on two parallel and similar courses race downhill, weaving around gates set up throughout the course. (Think ski racing on two wheels.)
Four Cross (gravity): Four riders per heat descend a course that challenges their athletic, strategic, and technical abilities. The top two riders advance from each round to the next. (Note: either Dual Slalom or Four Cross are contested at Nationals, but not both.)
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