Ragin Cajun Cycling
Climbs to National
Level Claire Salinas
The Ragin’ Cajun Cycling team just completed a stellar Fall season of Cyclocross, and is heading into its Spring road race season. This season, the two year old team competed in roughly ten races, had two people qualify for Cyclocross Nationals and had at least one person on the podium in five of their regular season races. This season, the team traveled to competitions in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas and North Carolina. Team founder Allan Brambila, explained, “Cyclocross is a mix between mountain biking and road biking. It’s a very full body experience because you have to jump off the bike and jump back on it just to get through the course.” This type of cycling is typically done off-road and riders can expect to encounter grass, dirt, sand and various other terrains throughout a race. Courses also contain off-camber sections and wooden barriers that riders have to leap over or bunny hop over with their bikes. The success of the team this race season didn’t happen by accident though, 18
in fact they followed a strict training schedule. “While we’re in-season we train like we’re racing every time we ride. We do an intense speed, like 20-25 miles per hour on average, at 20- 40 miles per hour or more, depending on how much time we have,” Brambila said. Current president, 22-year-old Reece Merryman, feels the success of the team stems from their ability to stay consistent with their training. “The intensity and duration of our daily workouts differ according to our racing schedule. Unlike many of the sports at UL, many of our athletes race year round, so it’s important to understand how to pace your training so you don’t peak early” Merryman said. The team incorporates interval training into their routine in order to increase their speed as well as weight training, since Merryman says, “It’s not just about how fast you can peddle but it’s about your overall strength and endurance.” Despite the fact that there are no local Cyclocross facilities to train at, two cyclists from the team qualified for
and competed in Cyclocross Nationals in North Carolina. Brambila said, “The fact that this is our second year and we’ve already got to the point where we’re competing on a national level with schools who have been around far longer us is impressive.” This spring the team will be competing in road races around the country, where they believe their training pay off. “Everyone has been riding everyday during the break, so we’re definitely prepared and it should give us an edge,” Brambila said. “Our goal is to compete at road nationals this spring.” For Merryman, Cyclocross provides a challenge he keeps coming back to. Merryman said, “It’s fun because it’s fast and requires a lot of bike handling skills. Cyclocross also helps us keep up with our racing edge during the off-season. It’s another way to prepare us for our main season, road racing, in the spring.”
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