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Choosing Cycling over College

Old 07-12-10, 02:07 PM
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7bmwm3gtr
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Choosing Cycling over College

Is there anybody here, or anybody who knows someone, who skipped college to become a full-time cyclist?

And another question, do you know if the Livestrong U23 riders get paid, or any other amateur level team like that?

I think you'd have to be really into the sport, to choose it over college, despite the low pay, if any at all.

Thanks.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:10 PM
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Alberto Contador dropped out of school at 15 to cycle, it worked out pretty well for him.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:10 PM
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Go to college if you have the opportunity. If you're not winning on a national level now chances are you won't.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:17 PM
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if your college opportunities will keep for a year or two, you should ride, imo. take advantage of opportunities to live an interesting novel exciting life when they arise. as you amass commitments and debt and stability, theyre harder to come by.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:22 PM
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I wanted to be a professional race car driver..I had started racing Formula Fords in SCCA just out of high school and was pretty competitive. I wanted to go to Europe and race and learn. I didn't. My dad was of the mind that the only path to success was to go to college etc. I'm nearly 50, and one thing I learned is that you'll be working for the better part of forever so if you can postpone college for few years and chase a dream do it. Starting college at 23 or 24 after some life experience isn't really such a bad thing.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:22 PM
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BTW if your parents asked where you got such a stupid idea it wasn't from me.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:24 PM
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"This guy named pcad said I should skip college to race bikes. He lives in this town called....."
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Old 07-12-10, 02:40 PM
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i know a local kid who would be in his first sem. of college had he not been one of the top cyclist in the nation and got picked up by trek livestrong u23. i know that when he was racing for usa cycling he would have to pay part of the trip to belgium. i know now that he does get paid by trek, gets free gear from the sponsors. i think he may have been getting paid a bit when he was with rock racing as well.

he is a really good cyclist, not tour level, and i am always wondering what if it just does not work out? what does someone who has there whole life invested in cycling do if you only make it 90% of the way? become a domestic pro and not get paid **** and have to worry about what team you will be on next year?

then again this kid is very smart as well so i have no worries for him in life and wish him the best.

edit* so no, if your not getting looked at by the time you should be in college, go to college. if you are really good, you can be in college and still win cat 1's. the guy i mentioned above maintained a 4.0 gpa, was QB for the high school, and still managed to find training time and placed in p/1/2.

Last edited by enjoi07; 07-12-10 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:41 PM
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I know a few guys (and a lady) who raced as pro's in the domestic circuit while earning their engineering degrees. One of them now works for C'dale and is up in New England, doing fairly well at his day job, and doing reasonably well racing. Another decided to forgo the job market, after finishing his degree, to spend a year or two trying to pursue his dream of being a full time pro cyclist (but he finished school first). The third is just finishing up her degree this year.

The point is get school out of the way so you have something to fall back on, unless of course you're extremely talented and everyone knows your name already.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:49 PM
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I'd say it's a pretty foolish choice for 99% of people. The other 1% know who they are.

Not that money is everything, but it's pretty important, especially if you have family to support. The minimum salary for a UCI pro tour rider is around the same as for a college graduate.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:50 PM
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There are starting to be more examples of kids racing Collegiate and turning pro after college. If you've got potential, there are even some Racing scholarships (Lees McRae for example.)

Unless you've already shown enough potential that someone wants to sign you up, for Garmin or Livestrong's under 23 team, or something similar, I'd definitely argue for going to College, and racing Collegiate.

If you really start tearing it up, and get an opportunity you can't pass up, then you could College on hold, or finish College and then try to turn Pro.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:52 PM
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If you have to ask if you should drop out of school to race full time don't go to Europe.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:53 PM
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Pretty dumb idea in my opinion if you aren't already crushing every race you do...

Go to college, join collegiate cycling team, and you can see if you are pro quality or not, and get an education at the same time.
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Old 07-12-10, 02:55 PM
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I look at CrimsonKarter and he's in Europe racing..he's getting his teeth kicked in on a daily basis yet even if he only does this for a year he'll have grown as person immensely. Then there is RTC who has his degree..his job and he can't pick out a pair of pant for work wear. When I was 20, 40 seemed old..because frankly when I was 20 40 year olds had heart attacks. Now at nearly 50 I'm in better shape than i was in HS and so are most of my same aged friends. Taking a couple of years to learn, grow and chase your dream isn't going to turn you into a street person. You graduate from college at 24 remember you'll be spending the next 40+ years working.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:01 PM
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Check out the Op's blog. He needs to stay in school.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
If you have to ask if you should drop out of school to race full time don't go to Europe.
was waiting for someone to post "don't go to europe"

a teammate of mine was on the U23 national team for track cycling. he did it for probably 4-5 years, until he decided that it was enough and came back to college. the kid has even got genetics on his side as his dad was a former olympic cyclist.

there can be only so many jon vaughters, who, despite a good but unspectacular career, was able to continue working in pro cycling after retiring as a rider. everyone else would eventually need a career on which they can draw a decent salary
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Old 07-12-10, 03:08 PM
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Seriously, 7bmwm3gtr,

If this thread is more than an idle day dream, from what I can gather, you're a rising senior, and you've done a couple of junior races. Get out there and train your ass off, race as much as you can this summer, and next spring.

If you're a Cat 2 by then, and placing in Pro 1,2, races, you might have something, and could consider trying to get on some developmental team, or someone (parents) to pay for you to race for a year. But unless you can get to that level, and show some real talent, you'd be much better off seeing where collegiate cycling might be able to take you, while you earn a degree.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:12 PM
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From what I gather, if you had the chops to make it by the time you had to chose between cycling and college, you'd know it.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by 7bmwm3gtr View Post
Is there anybody here, or anybody who knows someone, who skipped college to become a full-time cyclist?

And another question, do you know if the Livestrong U23 riders get paid, or any other amateur level team like that?

I think you'd have to be really into the sport, to choose it over college, despite the low pay, if any at all.

Thanks.
nope.

though i do know someone who chose college over a possible/likely career as a pro cyclist.

fwiw - this friend is flemish. he's so into the whole culture that when he grew up mr. paris roubiax was a regular guest in his family's home.

Last edited by botto; 07-12-10 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:19 PM
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Also, I've seen this similar dilemma faced by motocross prodigies. It almost always ends poorly. I've seen many kids who were good enough to crush every local race in New England, skip out on high school to make it in the pros and spend 3-4 years getting crushed on the national scene. Then they come home out of money, out of motivation, with no college (or in many cases high school) education, and likely with a drug addiction.

After 10 years of racing motocross there is one maybe two riders who have made a name for themselves on the pro circuit. But they had money, luck, and skills on their side.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:34 PM
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post your USAC results page and we'll go from there.

Of course, I know some people who are college-age and also on pro teams. One of them, David Veilleux, is able to win pro races and also be pursuing his engineering degree at McGill at the same time.

If, as I suspect, you have had no real results to speak of and would not spark any interest from a pro team at this point (not to say you wouldn't spark that interest later) then you should consider racing IN college. You'd probably end up faster and maybe also learn a few things.

Some people don't belong in college. I dropped out of some really fine schools when it became apparent that I could not fit in to the system. It was not from lack of intelligence but from an inability to do what they told me to do. I have done just fine since then, but my situation is the exception rather than the rule.

BTW, there have already been a lot of these kind of questions asked and answered before in here. The answers you are getting are pretty much the same, and surprisingly civil. I think we are losing our edge.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:35 PM
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the problem here is that a lot of you guys are talking in termed of "if he doesnt end up racing pro in europe, it was a mistake" but at that age, life experience is hugely valuable. assuming college i waiting (finances, mostly) why the hell not take a big risk for a few years. see the country (or the world), meet people, work your azz off at something you love and make a go at it. even if you fall flat on your face, you wont spend your life wondering if you could have done more.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:36 PM
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just for example, here is a results page for a junior cyclist where, asked the same question I would reply "yes, go for it! college will be there when you need it"

http://www.usacycling.org/results/in...d=194685&all=1
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Old 07-12-10, 03:42 PM
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Go to college, race collegiate, find out if you have what it takes (or even want to).
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Old 07-12-10, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
I know a few guys (and a lady) who raced as pro's in the domestic circuit while earning their engineering degrees. One of them now works for C'dale and is up in New England, doing fairly well at his day job, and doing reasonably well racing. Another decided to forgo the job market, after finishing his degree, to spend a year or two trying to pursue his dream of being a full time pro cyclist (but he finished school first). The third is just finishing up her degree this year.

The point is get school out of the way so you have something to fall back on, unless of course you're extremely talented and everyone knows your name already.
You should also say that there are quite a few National and NCAA champion and podiums in that group. It has been an honor to know, teach, and ride with these people.
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