On May 9, UC Davis club cycling pedaled into Fort Collins, Colo. as underdogs once again, looking for a little respect.
And the Aggies certainly earned it.
At the U.S.A. Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships, UC Davis finished in fourth place overall in Division I after finishing in second and first the previous two years, respectively.
“We’re always coming in as the underdogs even though we’ve been on the podium for three years in a row,” said Tyler Dibble, club president and treasurer. “Hopefully now we’ve earned a little bit more respect.“
After winning the first event, the team time trial (TTT), the Aggies were in a position to earn more than respect, they had a shot at the title.
“For me personally,” Dibble said, “I’ve wanted to win the event (TTT) since I joined the team four years ago. I’m a big fan of that event because it’s all about working well together.“
The men posted a time of 23:18.490 on the final day to take home the D-I crown in the 21-team TTT. The four Aggie riders –Dibble, Paul Mach, Philip Mooney and Shawn Rosenthal – averaged 32 mph, which is just 1 mph slower than the speed professional riders clock in at, Dibble said.
The Aggie women finished in fourth place overall in the TTT after clocking in at 28:48.280, but with both scores combined, the UC Davis cycling team finished way ahead of the competition with 158 team points after the first day.
Finishing in a distant second was Fort Lewis College with 139 points, and Stanford checked in at third with 132.
In the next event, the Road Race, the Aggie men were second to Fort Lewis College while the Aggie women placed seventh.
The finishes put UC Davis in contention for the title heading into the third and final leg of the Omnium, the criterium.
It was then that the Aggies‘ hopes of earning their second national championship in three years took a fall.
“Half of our men’s team crashed on the final day,” Dibble said. “Yeah, we were a little upset about that.“
The Aggie men only managed nine points in the criterium, giving them a 22nd place finish, while the women struggled through some crashes of their own but finished in eighth place to help salvage the overall team placement.
The rough finish at the criterium dropped UC Davis three spots to fourth place, behind Lees-McRae College (first place), Fort Lewis College (second), and Colorado State University (third).
This was the final race for seniors Rosenthal, Amy Encalada, Marisa McAlder and Dibble, who have been with the club for four straight years and have actively served as officers throughout the cycling team’s accomplishments.
Unlike the Aggie cycling team, the top three teams at Nationals are all funded by their respective schools and provide scholarships to their cyclists.
Scholarships or not, the cycling team always finds a way to be competitive at the national level, not to mention ride around in those snazzy blue and yellow bike uniforms.
The cycling team is always interested in new members and for any interested mountain bike, road, or track riders, contact Dibble at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the team website at http://sportclubs.ucdavis.edu/cycling/index.php.
MATT MILLER can be reached at email@example.com.