Athlete Profile: Cyclist Shreds on Hill Country trails

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Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 10:45 pm

Last fall, senior Jenna Emerick started mountain and road cycling because of her twin sister, who cycles at Texas State University. She wanted to bring the sport to St. Edward’s University and start cycling competitively. With the help of Student Life and Andy Lemons, the director of Campus Recreation, Emerick re-founded the cycling club on campus as a group for students to cycle socially and competitively. Until this weekend, Emerick was the only member to compete through the South Central Collegiate Cycling Conference, but competitive membership tripled this past weekend in the University of Texas at Austin Mountain Bike Weekend 2012 at Flat Rock Ranch in Comfort, Texas.

What is training like and how often do you do it?

I bike at the Barton Creek Greenbelt several times a week, but I especially love riding at Madrone Trail at Canyon Lake. I have a relaxed attitude about riding and prefer to do so socially. In between rides, I like to run a couple miles on the treadmill if I can. Lately, I have been trying to work out my arms more, because that is where I begin to fatigue first on long rides. It takes a surprising amount of upper body strength to control and maneuver the bike.

What events do you do?

For each race weekend, there are three events, two of which are always the same format. Those are the short-track and the cross-country. The short track is a three to five minute loop with a little bit of everything (climbing, straightaways and some technical single-track) that is raced for a set amount of time. The cross country is an endurance race of about 15 miles and includes lots of technical sections. The other event is whatever the hosting team decides to do. So far this season, we have had a downhill race and a hill climb. The downhill race was extremely fun.

If you could cycle in one specific place in the world, where would you choose and why?

Although I absolutely love mountain biking on Texas Hill Country's limestone, I would like to see what the trails are like in the Rockies or in Moab, Utah. I have always been really curious about downhill riding in British Colombia, although it seems a little too dangerous for me.

What is the most difficult trail you have ever ridden?

It would definitely be the cross country course at Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals in Angel Fire, New Mexico last October. It had just snowed, making the trails slushy and frozen, it included a 2 mile long 1400 ft climb, and my body was not used to the elevation change.

I saw that you are majoring in biology and have worked at Baylor doing medical research. Do you have future plans related to medicine?

This summer I worked at the Children's Nutrition Research Center conducting plant physiology research. That lab is also affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. Confusing, I know. I loved working with plants. I am still exploring my career interests, but I am keeping an open mind right now.

Do you plan on continuing cycling after college?

Definitely. It is my all-time favorite hobby, and it motivates me to become stronger and more fit. I plan to continue racing through Texas Mountain Bike Racing Association as long as I live in Texas. The people I have met through mountain biking are some of the coolest and nicest people. I want to continue being a part of that community.

If you were a type of bike, what bike would you want to be and why?

I would be a full-suspension 29er because they are the most fun and are well suited for a variety trail types.

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