Riders reach podium at cycling national championship

Max Friend

Marcus Segedin may have been 750 miles from Larkspur, nine miles into his race, and more than 6,400 feet above the familiarity of sea level, but as he pedaled over the apex of his final climb, he could not have been any more in his element.

Two miles of descent later, a finish bordered by hundreds of fans from the East, West, and everywhere in between roared with excitement. Segedin threw his arms in the air, expressing the international symbol for victory, and rolled his way to a cross country mountain biking national championship.

Segedin however, was not alone, but rather one of six Redwood students to race at the USA cycling mountain bike national championships in Sun Valley, Idaho, during the first week of July.

Top finishers include Segedin, a junior, who took first place in the category one age 15-16 men’s race, senior Josie Nordrum, who took fourth place in the category one age 17-18 women’s race, and Junior Sarah Ogden, who finished ninth in category one age 17-18 women’s.

Category one racing is the highest level available to non professional athletes. At USA cycling events, Nordrum Ogden, and Segedin race for their club team, Whole Athlete-Specialized.

“The pressure is tremendous, because after you’ve put in all of these hours of training, this is the one race that everybody is going to look at and ask, ‘How good is this rider?’” Nordrum said. “It’s the culmination of your training. It’s that simple.”

Segedin said the course at Sun Valley, which consists of multiple laps of a difficult half mile, 600 vertical foot, climb followed by two miles of downhill riding, played a role in his success at nationals.

“I’m a strong climber, and I love that course from a results standpoint,” Segedin said. “Some of my teammates may have had a chance at beating me if the course was flatter. We’re all relatively close and on the same level, we train very similarly, and at times the course can make a difference.”

Nordrum and Segedin both said that much of their competition comes from within their team. Both ride for Whole Athlete-Specialized. Four of the top ten finishers in both Nordrum’s and Segedin’s races were from this team.

“You might say sometimes it gets a little over-competitive, but as long as you don’t let that get you too much, it’s motivating for a rider to do the best he or she can,” Segedin said.

Segedin’s national championship capped off what his teammates and coach described as a tough yet very progressive season. For two and a half months during his season, he rode a stationary bike because of a shoulder injury.

“He worked really hard to come back in time,” said Whole Athlete coach Dario Fredrick, who himself took first place in the category one age 40 and over men’s race. “I think that’s also what made him a little bit of an underdog.”

Fredrick also said that Marcus displayed total dedication to his training, despite his injury.

“He’s the kind of athlete that tries to do everything right, and in doing so he became a national champion,” Fredrick said.

Fredrick said that his program is about developing well rounded athletes rather than simply strong cyclists.

“Whole Athlete: the name really defines what the company is about, what our philosophy is about, being a whole athlete. It’s not just the physical training, it’s about what you do off the bike,” Fredrick said.