By Coach Nate Keck
Marian University is one of the top ranked collegiate cycling teams in the country, and to maintain that ranking, the rest of the coaching staff and I do our best to be sure that each athlete, regardless of their level of experience, has access to high-quality training, adequate rest and recovery, top-notch equipment, and the best fuels and supplements we can get our hands on. In the spring of 2013 we teamed up with Hammer Nutrition as sponsor in preparation for Nationals to help make proper fueling and recovery a reality.
The collegiate cycling season starts in August and culminates in early May, with five seasons and national championships in between: track, mountain bike, cyclocross, BMX, and road. With a team of 40 athletes, some racing three, four, or even all disciplines, there is always some activity on the team’s schedule. Teams compete for individual podiums, but the goal is the title of Overall Team Omnium Champion (a culminating award factoring in all five disciplines of cycling across the whole year).
We came to the 2013 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in Ogden, UT, with 15 athletes, prepared to compete at the highest collegiate level across three days, each racer with their own individual fueling strategy and plan. Each athlete had spent three to four months in conference races, experimenting with fueling strategies to figure out exactly what worked best for them. For many, this included the use of Hammer Bars and Hammer Gel during the longer road race day, and Hammer Gel for the shorter crits and team time trial efforts. Everyone used HEED or Perpetuem during races, as well as Recoverite afterward.
The first day of racing was team time trials, which Marian has traditionally been very strong in. Marian had a men’s and women’s team in the TTT, and both won national titles—a great way to start a long weekend of racing.
After victories in the TTT, we knew we would have targets on our backs. The crit men’s and women’s races were both highly contested with 130+ starters in the men’s and 70+ starters in the women’s, but Marian athletes were extremely aggressive all day. We captured 1st and 2nd places in both events, with Colton Barrett winning the men’s race and Adam Leibovitz in second, and Coryn Rivera winning the women’s race with Kaitie Antonneau right behind her.
A grueling road race ended the three-day event. Kaitie took top honors and Coryn placed 2nd out of nearly 80 starters. Adam took 2nd place (out of 165 riders) for the second day in a row, sealing up his individual omnium win. When all was said and done, Hammer Nutritionsponsored Marian University Cycling had secured the title of Overall Team Omnium Champions!