by Forest Romm, staff writer
Warren Wilson’s Mountain Biking Team has been competing in an excellent season, having recently come in first place in the Southeastern Conference Championships, and is potentially on its way to national glory in Angel Fire, New Mexico.
The Mountain Bike Team consists of two sub-teams: a men’s team and women’s team. They train together, travel together and compete together, and all over campus students are being taken out of class to travel the country and ride in mountain biking competitions. If it sounds like a strenuous commitment for a college student to make, that is because it is.
“They have worked so hard, put in so much time in the saddle, given up almost every weekend since school has started in order to race for Warren Wilson, cracked their textbooks in between races and late nights in hotel rooms while we were traveling, juggled work and practice, homework, social lives and bike racing—and done it all with huge smiles on their faces,” Head Coach Adena Wygmans said.
The passion and desire to race is what has driven the Mountain Biking team to success this season, according to the coach.
“Some other teams are made up of really solid athletes who train really hard, but in my opinion, don’t seem to have as much fun on their bikes as our folks do,” Wygmans said. “We ride for the love of it and you can tell by all of the hooting and hollering in the woods when we hit some sweet single track. I’m not saying that we don’t put in the time with some seriously intense workouts, we do plenty of that, but when it comes down to it, we just love riding. That’s what gives us the advantage.”
The Mountain Biking Team will leave Oct. 19 for Angel Fire, New Mexico, an unknown terrain in an unknown climate, in order to compete in the Mountain Bike Nationals.
“New Mexico is a completely different world than what we live in out here,” Wygmans said. “The base of the mountain at Angel Fire is 8,000 feet and the cross-country course that our endurance riders will race on Friday climbs up to almost 10,000 feet. That’s quite the adjustment since we live at about 2,200 feet and our last race (last weekend) was at sea level. So we will be doing some serious adjusting to the elevation not to mention all of the unknown factors out there such as weather.”
Although taking home a national title would be the ultimate way to end the season, Coach Wygmans already recognizes and appreciates how much effort and passion the team has put into their training.
“At the beginning of the season we started out as a team that was worried about being able to qualify for Nationals,” she said. “And then we ended up winning the Southeastern Conference Championship… one of the strongest Conferences in the Nation. Pretty awesome for a little old Farm School!”