Written by Abner Miralda
Photo by Kalem Fetters
In October, downhill and dual slalom riders Mark Renn and James Francisco traveled Show Shoe, WV to represent the University of Louisville in the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals. Renn earned the team’s best ever finish at a national championship.
In the downhill event, Renn completed the muddy and partially frozen course in 5:28 to finish 14th in the club division. Francisco followed with a time of 6:00 for 32nd place.
“It was super sloppy,” said Renn of the course. “I had a blast in the mud drifting turns.”
Later in the weekend, Francisco improved his DH placement with a 30th place in the Dual Slalom. Renn went on to secure the team’s best placement at any national championship with a 9th place finish.
“My goal was to get top ten in either DH or DS,” he said, adding that he missed the top five in Dual Slalom by only half a second.
He also praised freshman James Francisco who only recently began racing downhill. “He killed it for having to rave in the mud.” Adding, “He never fell and was riding better than a lot of seasoned downhill riders.”
Renn was quick to point his expectations for the mountain bike team’s future. “We’ve got a lot of momentum heading into next season.” He expects the team to develop enough talent to send around eight athletes to mountain bike nationals in 2017.
“Right now it’s time to slow down and sleep in my own bed but come spring training it’s on full blast.”