|A sight from Pearblossom, California, at the UCLA road race.|
On the contrary, while not elevated to the same level as professional cycling, collegiate road racing is injecting cycling with a sense of lightheartedness. In Southern California, discussions of Belgian speculoos crushing the Americanized, Trader Joe's equivalent, talk of Lachlan Morton, and not taking sport so seriously whistled through the air. For men and women who are simultaneously balancing a course load, practice program, part-time work, and some sort of social life, cycling provides a sense of relief.
|Cal Poly Cycling's Sean Bird, in the Men's A UCLA road race.Credit: Paul Schmidt.|
Plenty of competition, especially from a load of talented cyclists, caused the Collegiate Men's A field to become splintered when the pace was inflated on lap three. With University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) driving the pace, it wasn't long before I was dispatched, settling for 14th position. Meanwhile, Cal Poly Cycling's Colin Patterson proceeded trading punches with the front group, finishing the day in fourth place. Between all collegiate fields, Cal Poly Cycling contributed 12 athletes to the UCLA road race, tallying three top-five finishes.
While it is easy to oversimplify, collegiate road cyclists seem to represent a relaxed crowd, all while maintaining a balance. With this bunch, as I discovered in the Collegiate Men's A field at UCLA road race, when it comes time to nod the head, flick the elbow, and throw down the gauntlet, collegiate road racing is doing just fine.