Campus Recreation spoke with junior civil engineering major, Nathan Cox, about his recent cycling accomplishments as well as the SIUE Cycling Club. Most recently, Cox finished in first place in the Men’s Category 4 bracket in the Edwardsville Criterium. When he’s not busy cycling in races or building jet engines with the Air National Guard, he and his brother have been working to begin SIUE’s first Cycling and Mountain Biking Club.
Q: When did you start cycling?
I got into cycling three years ago and decided that I wanted to race that year. Halfway through the season, I broke my collarbone after another cyclist rolled his tire into my bike at 35 mph. After that, I took a break from cycling. A year later, I decided it was too much fun and couldn’t hold back from cycling. I connected with a cycling coach who put me on a schedule and I’ve been training all season so I could start competing again.
Q: What made you want to start competing?
In high school I played lots of sports, but wasn’t very competitive. I like that cycling is about how hard you train and less about [athletic ability]. I decided that I enjoyed cycling and pushing myself hard, so it made sense to compete and found joy in it.
Q: Tell us what the Edwardsville Criterium is.
It is a bike race about one kilometer long in downtown Edwardsville. (The amount of laps you do depends on your category.) Basically, it’s a really big festival with thousands of people, food, entertainment and cycling.
Q: By you winning, did you move up “levels?”
The more races you win, you are eligible to upgrade classes. If people keep building their way up, they could eventually go pro. I am competing in Category 4 and if I place in a couple more races, I can upgrade. I plan to reach Category 3 by March of this year.
Q: When did you get involved with the Cycling Club here at SIUE?
It was my brother’s idea and he talked to Phil, the Club Sports Coordinator, and Phil got really excited about it. We are also a joint club with mountain biking for students interested in that aspect of cycling.
After winning the race in Edwardsville, I thought it would be really cool to race and represent SIUE, as opposed to another team that doesn’t mean as much to me. Having “SIUE” on my shirt and representing the club would be awesome. Right now we have about 15 people coming out to practices.
Q: What do the practices look like?
Until next year [the racing season starts in February and runs until September], we will be doing recreational rides. About 15 to 20 miles once or twice a week.
[Interviewer] That’s great for people who have never cycled before!
They will be slower rides to start off because we want lots of people to come out. Cycling Club is the perfect opportunity for students to meet and get to know each other. Sometimes when my dad, brother, and I go out for a ride we’re talking the entire time from when we leave to the time we get back.You really get to know people that way!
Q: What is the time commitment?
I would say at least one ride a week, so about an hour to an hour and a half. If you’re really committed, I would say about four hours a week.
Q: Are you planning on competing as a Club?
Yes, I want to have everything set for next year with jerseys. It would be great to send four or five team members out to races every weekend.
Q: What if people don’t have their own bike?
Students can rent bikes from the office of Sustainability. [Club members] can also help students find great deals on bikes! Just come to us and we’ll help you out!
[Interviewer] What’s your favorite type of bike?
Colnago’s. I like to say it’s the Ferrari of bikes because, for one, it’s Italian and it’s also my favorite bike.
Interview took place September 14, 2016.