Montana State University

studentlivin'@msu: Engineering student wins red, white and blue cycling championship

October 7, 2005 -- by Carol Brenner, MSU News Service

National champion mountain biker and MSU honor roll student, Andy Schultz, speeds down Pete's Hill in Bozeman Thursday morning. MSU Photo by Jay Thane   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Bozeman -- When Andy Schultz describes a day in his life as a Montana State University student, it sounds pretty dull.

"I just ride my bike, do my homework, find some time to eat and go to bed," says the 22 year-old senior from Missoula, majoring in bio-resources engineering. However, Schultz doesn't just ride his bike--he competes in national and world championship mountain bike races.

Last month, Schultz won the men's under 23 cross-country national championship race in Mammoth Mountain, Calif. Not only did Schultz come home with the coveted red, white and blue jersey in stripes and stars, his victory also opened up opportunities for him to go pro and make a living racing.

Currently riding for the Cannondale Mountain Bike Team, he hopes for sponsorship, so he can turn his passion into a career.

"Racing full-time for a couple of years to see if I can turn it into a career would be great," said Schultz. "Otherwise, I'll get a master's degree." Either way, the honor roll student with the deep ocean blue-eyes will score a victory.

When Schultz placed in the top 30 of the World Cup in Angel Fire, N. M., this past July, he won an opportunity to race in the World Championship in Libigno, Italy, all expenses paid. In that race he suffered a lot of mechanical problems, including a punctured tire, but nevertheless completed the course.

Schultz began earnestly training as a freshman, coaching himself and joining the MSU Cycling Club for support. Now in his second year as treasurer for the MSU Cycling Club, he races for the MSU team when he can. Last year's president of the cycling club, James Weleber, appreciates what Schultz brings to the team. Weleber describes him as impressive, methodical in his training and a credit to the program.

"I met most of my friends through the MSU Cycling Club," Schultz said. His friends share a similar way of living, which Schultz defines as a hermit lifestyle. "I have to decide whether to go to bed at 9 p.m. or go out and party. When I go out to eat, I have to ask whether this will help me or not. I may want to eat French fries, but eating them won't help me."

While Schultz just turned pro in 2004, he determined to podium at the nationals. To podium in mountain biking means to place somewhere between and first and fifth and stand at the podium as a winner. The Schultz family won a double victory at the national race in California because his younger brother, Sam, came in third and stood with him.

The younger Schultz, a 19 year-old member of the U.S. National Team, took control of the race early, but suffered a flat tire on the third lap.

"I was really bummed that Sam had a mechanical up there, Schultz said. "He's the future of the sport. Generally he shows more flashes of brilliance than I do, but depending on the day, it always comes down to who is luckier between us."

Their mother was in the feed zone at the race, handing water bottles to Andy as he sped through each lap. "I think my mom was more excited than me to see both of us up there at the podium."

Until spring when racing starts up again, Schultz can take it a little easier and do some mountain biking for fun.

"I can check out the view at the top instead of looking at my heartbeat and saying I need to get up three more beats."

Contact: Carol Brenner (406) 994-7371, Elizabeth Brock (406) 994-1564