Over the weekend of September 8th, the Fort Lewis College cycling team competed at Nationals in Colorado Springs where James Hilyer took first place and the rest of the cycling team took third place.
The FLC cycling team is registered with USA Cycling and category three riders or higher are eligible to participate, said Missy Thompson, part-time coach for the cycling team.
“When you start off you race as a category five,” said James Hilyer, a cyclist for the college.
“Each upgrade to a lower category requires a certain number of points accumulated from results in race.”
Hilyer is a category one which means that he is able to race professionally as he did over the summer, said Hilyer.
A lot of expectations were placed on Hilyer during this race because he was riding well, said Ian Burnett, assistant coach for the cycling team.
“There was definitely a whole lot of pressure the last month,” Hilyer said.
The first 45 laps of the 90 lap race, Hilyer was feeling the nerves of the race. But by dialing in and focusing helped him get through and win the National title, he said.
“He just took advantage of when it was hard and capitalized on every opportunity he was given,” said Burnett.
In addition to Hilyer claiming the National Title, the entire cycling team put on a performance and ended up taking third place.
“I’ve never heard our name called so many times by the announcers,” Burnett said.
A couple of the freshman that came in this year made a statement during the race by putting up times that placed them in the top 10.
“Keeping the riders focused and present in the moment helps them stay focused on the task at hand rather than getting wrapped up in the expectations that have been set for them by previous teams,” Thompson said.