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Cycling takes first shot at BMX nationals

FLC cyclists Phil Cowan, Zack Graveson, and Adam Digby practice their BMX skills with a mountain backdrop.

FLC cyclists Phil Cowan, Zack Graveson, and Adam Digby practice their BMX skills with a mountain backdrop.

The #1 ranked Fort Lewis College Cycling team will vie for its first-ever BMX title this Saturday, March 2, when the team heads to Phoenix to compete in the 2013 USA Cycling BMX National Championships. 

This will be the second year that USA Cycling has held a national championship for collegiate athletes in the popular discipline of BMX. But this is the first year that the points from the race count toward USA Cycling's end-of-season collegiate team omnium ranking. FLC Cycling has ended the past three seasons as the #1 ranked team in nation.

“BMX is action-packed and easy to watch, and it brings a whole new breed of athlete to collegiate cycling,” says FLC Cycling Director Dave Hagen.

BMX – short for “bicycle motocross” – is popular for spectators because it provides fast and furious competition on a closed track that is loaded with bumps, sharp turns, and jumps. BMX's unique bikes are customized for better handling and performance, meaning riders also throw in tricks and dynamic moves.

“BMX racing is fun because it's an all-out adrenaline-filled sprint over jumps, berms, and rollers where you are trying to beat seven other riders,” says Phil Cowan, a Senior Geology from Colorado Springs. Cowan is also one of the team's best candidates to earn an individual national title the event.

The addition of the discipline to the collegiate cycling schedule -- joining track, mountain bike, cyclocross, and road -- means that the collegiate circuit now features the same events as the Olympics. BMX made its Olympic debut at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, in Beijing, China. Freestyle BMX has long been a staple at the annual Summer X Games Extreme Sports competition.

With that popularity, this year's national championships will draw collegiate BMXers from across the country to race for both individual and team titles.

“It's a full contact sport and is a battle to the finish at times,” says Cowan. “I am excited to represent FLC at our first BMX nationals, and also being able to race with some of the best collegiate riders in the nation.”

Learn more about FLC Cycling and follow daily race coverage all weekend at FLC Cycling's race blog.

**3/4/13 UPDATE: FLC Cycling took 3rd place in Collegiate BMX Nationals.

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