by Craig Distl
The nation’s top college mountain bikers will converge on Beech Mountainfor USA Cycling’s Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships.
This is the second straight year Beech Mountain has hosted the championships, which feature more than 70 schools and 300 riders battling for national titles in six disciplines.
Fort Lewis College of Colorado returns as defending team champion in Division I and Brevard College returns as defending champion in Division II. Local teams expected to contend in Division I are Lees-McRae College and Appalachian State.
“It’s a great opportunity for fans who enjoy competition, who enjoy cycling, to watch some of the best riders compete in mountain biking,” said Lees-McRae head coach Tim Hall, whose team finished third a year ago. “It’s not like any other race during the year. You’ve got the best riders and the best teams going for the most coveted prize.”
Holding the championships two straight years is quite an honor for Beech Mountain. The town and the ski resort have invested significantly in their mountain biking trail systems in recent years, giving the area two quality mountain bike parks.
“It’s our intention to be among the best mountain biking destination on the East Coast, and getting selected to host the collegiate national championships is a good indication of how far we’ve come,” said Talia Freeman, event coordinator for Beech Mountain Resort. “It allows us to showcase the beauty and incredible terrain Beech Mountain has to offer.”
Reams will begin arriving in Beech Mountain during the week, with open practices and a riders meeting on.
The first races will be held betweenmorning. races take place between , while races begin at and last until early afternoon. All races are free and open to the public.
“This is a very exciting event to watch, and one of the most fun events I’ve ever produced,” Freeman said. “ It is family-friendly and spectator-friendly.”
For details and race schedules, visit: www.usacycling.org/2014/
Lodging and other visitor info is available by calling (800) 468-5506.