Many students may be unaware of the fact that Salt Lake Community College has a very successful cycling program and is open to anyone with a bicycle. The club was recognized by the school in fall of 2011 and began their first season of competitive racing in 2012.
The focus of the SLCC Cycling Club is to help promote and grow collegiate cycling at the racing level in the Inter-Mountain Conference. By offering a collegiate cycling program to aspiring young cyclists, it gives them the opportunity to pursue a career in cycling while obtaining an education.
“SLCC Cycling Club is for any student, faculty or supporter of the community college who is interested in riding bicycles,” says Mike Trussell, President of the SLCC Cycling Club. “Our goal is to provide opportunities for riders interested in racing competitively and for those who simply enjoy riding.”
Most college cycling clubs are student-funded; only a few universities give out scholarships for cycling.
Collegiate cycling is overseen by USA Cycling and comprised of 12 geographically divided conferences with over 300 clubs and roughly 4,700 licensed riders.
“There were a lot of students here who were interested in racing on a collegiate level but they needed a club in order to do so,” says Trussell. “The focus was to introduce collegiate racing here at SLCC and I think over the next few years collegiate cycling is just going to explode.”
Cycling clubs are split into several different divisions based on the amount of students enrolled. Division I is for schools with at least 15,000 students, and Division II is for schools with less than 15,000 students. Despite being new to collegiate racing, SLCC has already seen success against the competition in their first full year of racing.
“In 2012 we killed it! We did really well, [and] we had several riders qualify for Nationals,” says Trussell. “We were biking against schools that have big enough cycling programs that they give out scholarships for it.”
The cycling club is not just about racing as it encourages riders of all skill levels to join the club and have opportunities to ride with other students and faculty.
Some of the most exciting benefits of the club, according to Trussell, are being able to stay in shape and receive discounts on cycling equipment.
“Cycling is such a healthy way to live your life; it has definitely changed the way I view fitness and gave me a purpose for waking up in the morning to train,” continues Trussell. “A lot of students don’t have much money to spend on equipment and we have sponsors in local companies that give discounts to students in our club.”
During the cycling season, which begins in March, the club generally meets on Fridays for group rides and during the winter will host spinning classes to stay in shape for the racing seasons. The club also helps with training beginner cyclists to become ready to race on the collegiate level and train for century rides, which are 100-mile bike rides.
“A lot of our new members are nervous about doing their first century ride, and they are worried about cramping up and not making it,” says Trussell. “My first century ride was a terrible experience—it took me thirteen hours to finish, but our club provides mentors and training partners who have been there before and can help you prepare.”
For those students who want to join the club and race at the collegiate level, there are some specific qualifications.
Students need to have the proper cycling equipment, be in good standing with the school and maintain a 2.5 GPA. There is a yearly fee of $20 which helps fund SLCC cycling races and will give club members access to the bike shop and supplier discounts.
“Cycling is known as a reclusive sport, but if you have a club to ride with it gives you additional motivation and adds a social aspect as well,” adds Trussell. “Our club provides opportunities to ride with other cyclists, and anyone is invited—whether you’re a lead rider or beginning rider. We want you to come out and share our wisdom and experience.”