Part of NICA’s mission is to not just get #morekidsonbikes but to build strong cycling communities and create lifelong cyclists. While NICA programs are designed for student-athletes in grades 6-12, there are many post-secondary cycling opportunities for all NICA alumni. There are an increasing number of universities and colleges across the country that offer varsity programs for competitive elite athletes, many of which are well-known in the cycling community. What may not be as well known, is that even more universities and colleges offer cycling as a club sport, where students can continue to participate in a cycling team, but not necessarily race and train at an elite level.
We recently caught up with SoCal League alumna, Sidra Aghababian, who now is riding with Colorado State University Cycling - a Collegiate Club Team, and wants to help spread the word to other NICA alumni and current-student athletes who want to continue cycling through college. Sidra gave us the scoop on Colorado State University’s team, as well as how collegiate cycling clubs are a great opportunity for NICA alumni looking to continue their involvement with cycling.
Sidra with her SoCal League NICA teammates from Calabasas High School. Both Sidra and Mason Firth (red helmet) are now racing with collegiate clubs.
The CSU team celebrates winning 2nd overall at the 2018 Mountain Bike Nationals in Missoula, Montana.
Colorado State University is the #1 USAC ranked Collegiate Club Team in the nation. This is due to our team accumulating the most points over every discipline. This includes mountain biking, track, road and cyclocross. We compete in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference (RMCCC) along with other schools in Colorado, Wyoming and Arizona. Collegiate club teams can compete the same as the varsity teams, but are student-run, less well-known and tend to be student-funded.
The team at CSU is all about getting students to continue their passion for bikes and getting more people involved with cycling. Due to the team not being a varsity sport, it opens the doors for anyone to join the club and participate (inclusive!). Many of CSU’s current team members are NICA alumni who were able to find the team through some online digging. There are a lot of NICA alumni that still want to compete in cycling but may not want to commit to a varsity school. CSU gives them the best of both worlds by being a large state university with great academics as well as having a cycling team that people can join just for the love of cycling!
My experience with collegiate club cycling has been one of pure enjoyment. NICA got me extremely involved in cycling and I wanted to be able to continue this love, but I wanted to attend a larger university with a nationally ranked academic program. Luckily, due to the collegiate cycling club program, I was able to find a university that gave me the best of both worlds.
The collegiate races are all about fun for me. Varsity schools do take racing more seriously and have formal training programs, but some collegiate clubs have elite athletes that race as well. Personally, I am more focused on my academics, so I only race during the collegiate season which runs from August to October. Our school participates in about 5-6 collegiate mountain bike races a season.
If you’re interested in CSU’s Collegiate Club team - check them out on Instagram - @csucycling or contact them directly at CSURamsCycling@googlegroups.com.
Just like in NICA teams - collegiate cycling clubs are fun, inclusive and have a spot for everyone to join and try new types of cycling!