Although UC Santa Cruz isn’t recognized as an athletic powerhouse, UCSC’s cycling club is quickly turning heads. The team has been on an absolute tear as of late, recently clinching its third straight Division I mountain biking championship.
The 2015 mountain biking season ended on a high note as the team hosted Santa Cruz’s first officially-sanctioned race — the “Shreditation Retreat” at DeLaveaga Park last November. Cycling team members Sandy Floren, Sam Anderson-Moxley and Mark Tingwald finished first, second and third in the race, respectively.
“The mountain bike team successfully defended its California State Mountain Bike Championships,” said Kevin “Skippy” Givens, UCSC’s competitive sports supervisor. “It has quickly become a premier mountain biking team in the state.”
The cycling team is composed of two groups that compete throughout the year — mountain biking season in fall and road cycling during winter and spring quarters. The team was established in the early 1980s and operates as one of UCSC’s 20 competitive sports clubs, meaning the organization has no connection to NCAA Division III sports.
The mountain biking team participates in six to eight races each quarter. It finished in the top rankings of each competition, accruing enough points to qualify for this year’s conference championship. The team is one of 31 members of the Western Collegiate Cycling Conference, which includes schools across California and Nevada.
“Unlike some of the other sports where you charge for admission, an amazing thing about cycling is that it doesn’t cost anything to go out and watch,” said UCSC cycling president Anderson-Moxley. “One of the best aspects of cycling at UCSC is the city of Santa Cruz itself as such a wonderful biking community.”
The cycling club is open to bike-owners who are willing to attend team events and races. New members are charged an additional $100 to help cover the cost of race entry fees. Space is not limited and cyclers of all skills are encouraged to join.
“Most people fail to see that cycling goes beyond pedaling,” said former UCSC cycling president Tingwald. “It’s always fun to do well and win races, but being out on the trail on a nice day with your teammates, there is nothing better than that.”
Now, the club is gearing up for road season starting with this year’s main event “Slugapalooza” on Feb. 20-21. The race is open and costs $25 to participate.
Riders can expect to complete 12 to 20 2.6 mile laps, depending on their category. Categories range from A-D, each representing a different number of laps required around campus. The laps begin with a 400-foot climb up Hagar Drive, followed by a left turn up McLaughlin Drive and back to the East Remote parking lot for checkpoint.
Races are scheduled throughout the day with a few beginning as early as 7:30 a.m. and some as late as 3:30 p.m. Last year’s event brought over 200 people to campus. The team is hoping for an even greater turnout this year.
“[Slugapalooza] really provides an opportunity for the team to get involved with the city of Santa Cruz,” Anderson-Moxley said. “Most of the time, we are on the road and away from UCSC. Just knowing that this is a big biking community, we want to make sure we give back to the community as much as we can.