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So I am starting to apply to colleges and I am going to email the cycling presidents of several Colorado colleges but I first wanted some opionons from people, not just the presidents of the cycling teams. My goal is to leave college at the highest possible cycling leval (pro semi pro....) and I know some colleges are better then others but is there a huge difference between them? I am primarly looking at Denver Univeristy. I know their cycling is only club. Would it make a huge difference in my after college cycling career if I went to a club school instead of a division school? I am most interested in DU, CC, Boulder, and CSU. So in terms of cycling where is the best place to go and why? I would love to hear of some other good cycling colleges around the country as well.

Thanks for all of your help!
 

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i dunno about out west......

east coast powerhouses:
UNH
UVM
Penn State
MIT, dartmouth, yale, harvard, upenn, bucknell (top 10 at easterns)
really though, unh, uvm, penn state.

most of those teams have at least a few guys who are semi pro or pro. i think all of them are teams, and they are all really good and big teams.
 

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Look beyond collegiate cycling

I would recomend going some where the racing scene outside of college is worthwhile. I raced for DU several years ago, in fact it is how I got started racing bikes. However I found that real progress started when I raced USCF or NORBA races. Colorado has an excellent USCF scene as does NorCal and the northeast. Don't know if it exists anymore but DU had a silly rule that you had to take a special defensive driving course if you were driving to any club affiliated event. So even though it was my car, gas, entry fee etc going to a bike race, I was in DU's jersey and had to take the course.
 

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CC09 said:
i dunno about out west......

east coast powerhouses:
UNH
UVM
Penn State
MIT, dartmouth, yale, harvard, upenn, bucknell (top 10 at easterns)
really though, unh, uvm, penn state.

most of those teams have at least a few guys who are semi pro or pro. i think all of them are teams, and they are all really good and big teams.

Don't forget the guy that had the yellow! He went to Princeton! Princeton also had the first guy that was the first collegiate national champ in road AND mountain.

Penn State rocks at everything. During the winter, if you beat ONE of Penn State's A team skiiers, you were doing well.

Really though, a lot of schools have the resources to make an elite cyclist. You just have to tap it.

If not the school, then the surrounding area... Getting involved and checking out the local racing scene really helps.
 

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dealex said:
So I am starting to apply to colleges and I am going to email the cycling presidents of several Colorado colleges but I first wanted some opionons from people, not just the presidents of the cycling teams. My goal is to leave college at the highest possible cycling leval (pro semi pro....) and I know some colleges are better then others but is there a huge difference between them? I am primarly looking at Denver Univeristy. I know their cycling is only club. Would it make a huge difference in my after college cycling career if I went to a club school instead of a division school? I am most interested in DU, CC, Boulder, and CSU. So in terms of cycling where is the best place to go and why? I would love to hear of some other good cycling colleges around the country as well.

Thanks for all of your help!

Also, in 2 weeks check out

http://www.kucycling.com/index_content.html

KU is hosting nationals this year. Just look at the results. They should be self explainatory.
 

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I recently spoke to someone on the DU team and it really sounds like more of a club group. As in, only a few guys race. CU boulder has an amazing team. Lots of resources, plenty of diffrent riders to work with in every level of racing. CSU has also been looking pretty impressive this season but i'm not familiar with their program or size. They do offer a cycling scholarship though...

Look at other resources. What racing is going on localy besides for the College hosted events. Boulder is pretty central for months of great races. But put your education first. What school has the programs you are intrested? Really, you can get a good education anywhere if you apply yourself.
 

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Cruzer2424 said:
Don't forget the guy that had the yellow! He went to Princeton! Princeton also had the first guy that was the first collegiate national champ in road AND mountain.

Penn State rocks at everything. During the winter, if you beat ONE of Penn State's A team skiiers, you were doing well.

Really though, a lot of schools have the resources to make an elite cyclist. You just have to tap it.

If not the school, then the surrounding area... Getting involved and checking out the local racing scene really helps.
yea princeton had the guy in yellow (points leader) but he is one guy, their team is good, but they got beaten by all the other teams i listed. one guy could go to any school, but to develop into a good cyclist a safer bet would be to go to a school with a good team, not just one good rider. but yea, fine, princeton
 

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CC09 said:
i dunno about out west......

east coast powerhouses:
UNH
UVM
Penn State
MIT, dartmouth, yale, harvard, upenn, bucknell (top 10 at easterns)
really though, unh, uvm, penn state.

most of those teams have at least a few guys who are semi pro or pro. i think all of them are teams, and they are all really good and big teams.

I think the notion that any of those teams are structured in such a way as to develop riders into professionals is a little absurd. Also, the divisional rankings are esentially meaningless in terms of figuring out what teams will be able to do that.

Over the past 5 or so years that I've been acquainted with the ECCC, there have been a handful of riders who went from one of those schools to race on a pro or semipro team. But I can only think of two or three who are racing on major US teams or internationally. Even when you look at guys who are racing on a regional P/1/2 team, maybe getting a free bike and a few thousand dollars a year, the schools that they came from are pretty disparate. There's not a whole lot of consistency from year to year as to which schools are in the top-10, because it only takes one or two guys who can consistently place in an A race to get you there. And getting points in an A race is quite a ways from developing into a professional rider - I don't think there is any collegiate team with a large, strong A squad that could actually employ tactics in the way that they are employed in a professional bike race.

Even when you look at teams that are perenially good, like UVM or UNH or Penn State, they have nowhere near the resources for cycling that would be given to a major sport, like football, basketball, etc. No scholarships, very few amenities for the riders, etc.

The best you can really hope for is consistency and experience in coaching (which is a basic element that many of those schools you listed don't even have) and maybe one or two guys who you can train with. I can only think of one or two schools in the country where things like scholarships are afforded to cyclists.

Anyway, the bottom line is this:

I don't think that any school in the northeast, and probably only a couple in the country, have teams that would really mold anyone into anything resembling a professional. However, there are a number of schools that have sent riders to the lower levels of the professional ranks, primarily thanks to the strong motivation of an individual rider. And when you think about it, given that many collegiate racers didn't race seriously, if at all, before college, how likely is it that he's going to decide that making an effort to be a pro rider is really a wise move?
 

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dealex said:
So I am starting to apply to colleges and I am going to email the cycling presidents of several Colorado colleges but I first wanted some opionons from people, not just the presidents of the cycling teams. My goal is to leave college at the highest possible cycling leval (pro semi pro....) and I know some colleges are better then others but is there a huge difference between them? I am primarly looking at Denver Univeristy. I know their cycling is only club. Would it make a huge difference in my after college cycling career if I went to a club school instead of a division school? I am most interested in DU, CC, Boulder, and CSU. So in terms of cycling where is the best place to go and why? I would love to hear of some other good cycling colleges around the country as well.

Thanks for all of your help!
Why go to college to become a pro cyclist? It's a bit like going to college to become a cowboy or a mine worker. One really has nothing to do with the other.

Sure, some teams have consistently done well in collegiate cycling, as CC09 points out, but very few riders go onto become pros.

If you want to become a pro cyclist, impress in some big junior races and get sent off to Belgium with the U-23 team. If you want to have a lot of fun and develop as a cyclist, any school with an existing club will probably be fine.

Silas
 

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the riding in the DEN.Boulderarea is quite poor IMHO. Rediculous quantities of traffic, limited number of rides, and more traffic that you can imagine.

+1 for UW Madison - easily the best riding I've ever done - zero traffic (literally) once you get 45 min out of town and enough power hills to hurt anyone. Infinite rides, lots of varried terrain ('cept climbs more than 12 minutes) and the secondary roads are in great shape.
 

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Weather? Mentoring? Mountains?

I agree that the traffic around Denver and Boulder has reached silly proportions. But there's a reason that Baldwin, Moniger, Tyler, Vaughters, TIAA/CREF, Stockberger, Zirbel, Grabowski, Baker, Baj, Phinney, Keifel, Schmatz, etc. live around here. The reason is that despite the traffic on the busy roads, you find roads that are not busy at all. And that's where you train and do 45 minute to 1 hour long climbs. Add to that the weather in CO versus WI, 300 days of sunshine a year versus whatever it is there, probably about 250. And then if you check the average temps through the winter there's no comparison. The list of names above is a good reason to be in this area if you want to move up to the pro ranks. There are so many former pros here that finding somebody that rode in the Tour and maybe even won a stage is not only possible but probable. And those are the guys that you look to for mentoring and coaching. A lot of times I am afraid to race in the old guys category because Eddy Gragus, Norm Alvis, Mike Carter and Danny Sullivan are going to be there throwing down. Then if I go to the 3s I have to deal with Tyler Phinney (or the junior du jour) who has his old man's talent. And I really don't want to move up because then I would regularly race against Moniger, Baldwin, Baker, and the Vitamin Cottage team. If you want to be a Pro, on the other hand, those are exactly the types of people you want to be around, race with, get to know and learn from.

Go to CU if you can, not only a great academic school but a great team. CSU is probably second.
Or skip school for a couple of years and dedicate yourself to racing. Get as far as you can. You can always go to college but you can't always race.
 

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triple shot espresso said:
Or skip school for a couple of years and dedicate yourself to racing. Get as far as you can. You can always go to college but you can't always race.
Bad advice. Few people go back for an education after they have been making money in the real world. You just can't afford it/can't give up your lifestyle to do it.

If you are dedicated, you will have plenty of time in college to train. I'm only in class 4-5hrs a day and there is sunshine over 12 hrs a day...you can make time if you need to.
 

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ebroil said:
I think the notion that any of those teams are structured in such a way as to develop riders into professionals is a little absurd. Also, the divisional rankings are esentially meaningless in terms of figuring out what teams will be able to do that.

...

I don't think that any school in the northeast, and probably only a couple in the country, have teams that would really mold anyone into anything resembling a professional.
I originally interpreted the OP's "pro/semi-pro" notion as an MTB category- not as "I want to go to college to become a professional cyclist."

Anyways- There have been, and there will continue to be people to come from collegiate cycling that will continue onto professional ranks.

Tom Danielson (one of the Disco boys) came from Ft. Lewis' cycling team. Tyler Wren came from Princeton (Colavita- rode for Motorola I think when he was a student) and was that guy that won the mtn and road collegiate national championships in one year. Sarah Uhl goes to Penn State (women's national road race champion... I think she came from UVM before Penn State). During the banquet at one of the races someone pointed out to me another (really hot... blonde hair... some guy proclaimed his love to her on the mic there... it was kinda funny... i think he got a hug... but thats another story in itself) Penn State rider that was a sponsored pro. Kristen Danielson (one of the pro Bellas) went to Ft. Lewis as well. Kyle Gritters (Health Net) goes to San Diego State University. There are few other Health Net riders riding for their colleges... Roman Kilun and Berkeley- 3 time collegiate TT champ. Garrett Peltonen (yet another Health Net rider) went to University of Wisconson.

Need I go on?

Anyways... my point is the same as above. SO MANY schools have the resources to make a student into a pro cyclist. But as with anything, resources need to be tapped in order to be taken advantage of. So if you want to leave as a pro- go for it. At least you'll have a degree to fall back on.
 

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Cruzer2424 said:
Anyways... my point is the same as above. SO MANY schools have the resources to make a student into a pro cyclist. But as with anything, resources need to be tapped in order to be taken advantage of. So if you want to leave as a pro- go for it. At least you'll have a degree to fall back on.
I certainly don't disagree that you can become a pro cyclist coming from a collegiate program. All I mean is that collegiate programs by and large, are not designed to mold you into a professional cyclist (nor should they be, I think). If you want that, you'd be much better off on a U-23 team or a developmental team or something of that nature. (Of course, they aren't mutually exclusive.) There just aren't a lot of collegiate teams that have had consistency in producing pro- level riders, which is fine. (Penn State, as you point out, is a notable exception on the east coast.)

I agree completely that there are many schools where you could develop into a pro rider, but there will be a lot of other influences in that development outside of your collegiate team (specifically, the team you ride for the 9.5 months a year when there isn't any collegiate racing), so I wouldn't base my choice of schools very heavily on the cycling program.
 

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Depends

Most people that go out and get a job rarely return but if you're going out and living in a basement, making crap wages at some bike shop and training as much as possible, it's not that much of a lifestyle change. I would argue that college is much easier than trying to make it into the pro ranks in terms of lifestyle luxuries. The list of pro or failed pro racers that went back to school is probably just as long as the opposite. In fact I know of more former pros that went on to be doctors then doctors that went on to be pros.
 

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Almost no schools have resources to MAKE a cyclist go pro.
Beyond Sarah Uhl and Bobby Lee who are the riders that Penn State made go pro? And they didn't make them go pro anyway. Sarah was already winning world championships on the track as a junior. Bobby lea was a junior national champ multiple time, junior worlds team, espoir national champ, etc. They would have both been pros had they attended community college. This is how it is with most all the schools. Sure some schools have good teams and a lot of pros but these people were going to be pros anyway.

The only way that a college racing (anywhere) would make you go pro was when TIAA-CREF was signing the top U-23 rider at collegiate nats, and I am not even sure if they are doing that anymore.

So go to college at a school you like, if you want to race find one with a "team" and race. But dont expect that to be what makes you a pro cyclist. Sure it will help mold you into a better rider but if you aren't racing in the pro,1,2 events within a year or two it is time to except that a career as a cyclist is not for you.
 

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Friedman on TIAA-CREF is from Penn State, I think. Possibly one or two more I can't recall right now, but 3 riders over 5 years is about as good as anyone.

And, yeah, I agree with you totally on all your other points.
 

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WampaOne said:
The only way that a college racing (anywhere) would make you go pro was when TIAA-CREF was signing the top U-23 rider at collegiate nats, and I am not even sure if they are doing that anymore.
TIAA-CREF was never signing riders at the collegiate nats. Last year, they took the 13th place rider in the road race and had them ride as a domestique for one race. Of course, they gave him a full kit/bike and stuff, but never "signed" him. I think the whole idea was "lucky 13" or something...

Disco is doing something like that too. Google "race 2 replace."
 
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