Mechanical engineering student Chad Young won the Men’s A category and received 2nd place as part of the Mines Cycling Team in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Road Race Championships April 20 in Grand Junction, Colo.
When did you start cycling?
I got my first road bike at the end of 6th grade and rode it recreationally for a couple years until I outgrew it. I began cycling like I do today at the beginning of 2010, when my high school started a cycling club.
When did you know you wanted to compete?
The high school club was a part of the "New England Prep School Cycling League." Lots of schools in the area organized races, and being a part of the club involved going to the races. I suppose I always intended to do these low-key high school races, but I had no intention at that point of racing amateur and professional cycling events like I do now.
The first year I trained regularly, 2010, I just had a good time and got used to riding a bike daily. After that initial year was over, I decided to get involved with junior racing. I figured my fitness was good enough at that point to compete. Junior racing is for anyone less than 18 years old. I was relatively successful in my first few races, and I was hooked.
What did you have to do as part of the competition?
The Maverick Classic Race, hosted by Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, involved a team time trial, a criterium and a road race. The team time trial is a timed course with a set distance. Up to four teammates complete the course as quickly as possible by using drafting techniques.
The criterium is a fast, downtown circuit race, which typically lasts 60 minutes.
The road race was a 24-mile circuit around Palisade, CO. The Men's A race lasted four laps, or 96 miles.
How did you prepare?
I train about 15 hours a week (which ends up being around 250 miles), with long rides on the weekends, usually less than 80 miles if there are no local races. Weekdays I tend to do shorter, more intense rides. This helps me maximize available time and get both long, endurance rides, and short interval training rides.
What did you win?
This particular race was the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Road Race Championships. I raced the Men's A category, which is the highest category. In addition to a great experience, I got a small medal for my effort. The Mines Cycling Team got second place in the Division 2 category for the collective success of the team over the course of the season.
How do you balance cycling and schoolwork at Mines?
Having an intense training and studying schedule is actually a bit of a benefit when it comes to managing obligations. With so little free time, I am forced to make the most out of what I have available. Thankfully, cycling is a huge stress release for me, so the 15 hours I spend each week on the bike help balance a rigorous course load.
What's next for you in cycling?
For now, I will continue what I am doing. I race for a regional elite team in Massachusetts called CCB Racing. The support is great and my teammates are a great bunch to be around. In the future, I'd like to explore U23 specific development teams, to get a taste for higher level racing in the United States and abroad. However, at only 18 years old I have a little ways to go until I am competitive with those in their early 20s. Between now and then, I will stay in college. If I do gain enough fitness to be competitive on an international scale, I would consider postponing my schooling to travel the world and feel like a professional bike racer for a while.
Ultimately, I'd like to take a trip with the National U23 Cycling Team. I spent a month with the National Junior Team in Europe in 2012, and ever since coming home, I have wanted to represent the country again.
What advice do you have for aspiring cyclists?
Since day one, I had been told by my elders and mentors that the most important thing in the development of a young rider is that they were having a good time. Having fun is essential. If I thought that a five-hour ride in the winter months in Colorado was drudgery, I would be a truly miserable person. Thankfully, spending long hours outside on the bike is my definition of a good time.
Why did you choose Mines?
I chose Mines for its engineering prestige and its proximity to the mountains. New England had good schools, but the weather left something to be desired. Colorado offered a great degree, unrivaled training grounds, and altitude training, all for less than a typical New England school.
A huge factor was continuing my development as a cyclist, and Mines has been able to accommodate that.