UNCG Nutrition’s Emily Shields is a national champion in cycling.
The second-year graduate student won the Women’s Collegiate Club National Championship title at the 2017 Cyclocross Nationals in Hartford, CT, on Jan. 4.
“This specific discipline is called cyclocross,” she told UNCG Campus Weekly in an email interview. “Cyclocross is a 1-2 mile loop, kind of like the terrain on a cross country running course. The race is 45-60 minutes and the number of laps you do depends on how fast the leaders’ lap times are.”
UNCG Cycling is a student club at UNCG. As their Facebook page notes, the club is free to join although members are responsible for their own equipment.
CW asked how she secured her bikes, equipment and uniform. “I race professionally for Ken’s Bike Shop, so I already have my own bikes and equipment – so I just had to purchase the UNCG uniform.”
How long has she competed? “I have been racing cyclocross for 13 years. I began at a cyclocross race my dad was promoting that was part of the North Carolina Cyclocross Series – and fell in love with the sport then. I also race road and mountain bikes but cyclocross is definitely my favorite.”
So how do you train for a national title while being a graduate student? “It does take a lot of energy and it is difficult being in grad school, but I love it so it is worth it. You just have to have good time management skills and motivation to race and train while being in school. The North Carolina Cyclocross Series is a really good way to train for the bigger races.”
In addition to racing in college level races, she also races throughout the country in professional races, she added.
By Mike Harris
Photos from the race by Alan Garvick, courtesy Emily Shields.