For the Love of the Bike

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Apr 012002
 
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It’s not every day that the average person finds his or her name prominently displayed on a prestigious Web site. But then again, Leah Trapp isn’t your average person.

While surfing the Internet recently, CSU graduate student Leah Trapp visited the USA Cycling Web site. Being on the CSU cycling club herself, Trapp was interested in any news about her sport and team. When she saw her own name in an article on the Web site, she was surprised. But the real shocker was when she realized it was under a listing of All-American cyclists.

“I just clicked on it and my name was there,” Trapp said. “I didn’t even realize (the award) existed.”

Trapp was named to the Division I Omnium Mountain team after a stellar season in 2001, an amazing accomplishment considering she is only in her fifth season of competitive cycling. Originally from Council Bluffs, Iowa, Trapp is a junior in the veterinary medicine program and began cycling as a hobby shortly after she moved to Fort Collins.

“At first it was something I did a lot by myself just recreationally,” Trapp said. “And then I started cycling with a friend of a friend and we hit it off. It was a lucky coincidence, and we became close friends and started training with each other.”

As she began to cycle more, Trapp entered competitive races and quickly started to get more involved in the sport. She began to ride with the CSU club team last spring in a few races and after receiving encouragement to return to the team, she joined the club for the 2001 season and participated in the mountain races in the fall.

“I worked my way up and started riding more and a lot better,” Trapp said. “It was something that I thought ‘What the heck? I’ll give it a try.’ My social life began to change and it soon revolved around cycling.”

Now Trapp competes almost every weekend and trains at least 10-12 hours per week. Trapp says she most enjoys the camaraderie, the people and the grassroots community of collegiate cycling. Her least favorite aspects of the sport are the costs required to travel to the various competitions around the mountain region.

“We get nickel-and-dimed to death,” she said. “All the little stuff adds up in the end.”

In the mountain omnium section Trapp competes in, there are four categories of races in which the cyclists can earn points: short track, cross-country, downhill and dual slalom races. Trapp began by racing cross-country and short track races and just recently started participating in the downhill and dual slalom competitions.

“I really enjoy the races, the atmosphere and the social aspect of the sport,” Trapp said. “I’m going do it as long as I still like to race.”

Trapp’s performance at the 2001 Collegiate National Mountain Bike Championships in Plattekill, N.Y., proved that she is among the best in her sport and a welcome addition to the CSU club team. She describes the club as fun, supportive and full of great people.

“The club has been great,” she said. “It’s not like the football team where you have to try out. Anyone can join and compete or just have fun.”

Trapp plans to continue racing competitively and obtain her degree while living in Denver. She is proof that some of the best athletes on the CSU campus participate in the lesser-known sports and continue to perform under the radar of mainstream attention. n

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