Cycling nationals was ‘almost poetic’


Amy Floyd, finance freshman, turns a corner during her race at Nationals in Colorado. Photo contributed by Josh Buchel

Kara McIntyre

Amy Floyd, accounting junior, turns a corner during her race at Nationals in Colorado. Photo contributed by Josh Buchel
While most students were camping out in the library, cracking open textbooks — sometimes for the first time this semester — and cramming for finals this weekend, the cycling team jetted off to Grand Junction, Colorado for the U.S.A. Cycling Collegiate and Para Road Nationals.

The team has been preparing all year for Nationals. Some cyclists, such as exercise physiology grad student Brissia Montalvo, would train at least two hours per day.

“Training was busy. I was trying to get at least two hours of riding a day, then we had Team Time Trial every Wednesday, which was never easy,” Montalvo said. “I knew that Nationals was going to have climbing, so during spring break I made sure I was climbing every day.”

Montalvo started cycling in 2010 as a form of cross-training to help her with running, but she started racing competitively in 2013 after she earned her undergraduate degree. Montalvo said this was her first time at Nationals, and she was excited about the experience.

“Nationals was definitely exciting and nerve-wracking, really a whole wave of emotions. It’s an experience for the books,” Montalvo said. “Cyclists from all over the world share your same passion; it’s almost poetic seeing so many riders out there at once that share that passion.”

Josh Buchel, finance sophomore and team captain, started racing when he was 15 years old as a form of losing weight. Despite his severe cycling crash last month, he said that racing in Nationals is still “the best feeling in the world.”

“You can feel your heart in your throat when you’re standing on the starting line. You know that the riders around you are all fast and everyone is good. You tend to feel everything in your body. Every twitch, every slight pain. You constantly trying to rest so that you feel stronger in the race,” Buchel said. “It’s the best feeling in the world. It’s even better when your race goes well and you win or get on the podium and it feels like the world was lifted off your shoulders — all that hard work paid off.”

Buchel said there was some pressure leading up to the big race, but not for him.

“For myself there wasn’t much pressure because I am still trying to recover from the crash. For the other riders there was, of course, a lot of pressure,” Buchel said. “We always want to have MSU on the podium. This year was no exception — we had a lot of setbacks and we didn’t go to Nationals as strong and fast as we wanted to, but riders like Bill Ash and Pablo Cruz rode with such heart to get us on the podium. It was beautiful to see them ride, it’s like poetry.”

Montalvo also said there was pressure on the team because of its reputation.

“There was pressure for Nationals and then there also wasn’t. The pressure came from Team Time Trial which Amy [Floyd], Maxyna [Cottam] and myself trained for every week. I didn’t want to let the team down,” Montalvo said. “There was also pressure because MSU is known for having a successful cycling program. This was my first road Nationals, therefore I didn’t know what to expect exactly, other than there wasn’t going to be any mercy. I just wanted to go out there and compete, be safe and have fun.”

Despite the team being stricken with crashes and illnesses, Buchel and Montalvo are optimistic about the future for the team.

“This [crashes and illnesses] disturbed our training a lot, which affected our performance. Next year, hopefully we are a little bit luckier and can get that top spot for the university.”

You can see the complete list of results here.