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Athlete's Corner

Member Spotlight: Riley Sheehan

By: Page Heller  September 30, 2020

Riley Sheehan is a 20-year-old, road cyclist from Boulder, Colorado. He is currently on Sojasun, a french Dn1 team, and racing collegiate road for the Colorado Mesa University Cycling team where he is pursuing a degree in Marketing Communications.

We got the opportunity to chat with him and ask him questions about Sojasun, his collegiate team, and more!

What enticed you to join CMU's collegiate cycling team?

"There are several reasons I decided to go to CMU, with the pandemic there has been a lack of racing, now I am back in the US and I have much more time on my hands. I also want to learn."

2020 has been Riley's first year attending college. After graduating from high school, he decided not to go to college right away and to pursue racing overseas. Originally, he was planning on staying in France all year to race, as he really enjoyed his time in Europe.

What has been your favorite part of being in France?

"It was great being able to race in bigger races, gain new experiences, and chase opportunities."

Next year, Riley wants to try juggling racing in France and school. He says he loves both CMU and their cycling team but he also wants to race in Europe again. He is considering going to Europe later on and taking some online classes to balance out riding and school.

He is the only non-French rider on Sojasun. He is trying to learn French and has enjoyed every moment of his time with the team!

How did you get started in cycling?

    “My father, Clark, used to race professional back in the day. I remember from a really young age, going to bike races and watching them."

    When he was younger he used to participate in the little kid's races, as long as he can recall he always felt called to cycling and had a love for the sport. At the age of 15, Riley started racing road much more, which is the disciple he races within now.

    Are you doing any rides at CMU?

    CMU has a weekly Tuesday night ride, where they ride all different types of disciples from road to gravel to mountain biking. Riley says, "We've been keeping it safe but still getting to ride together and get to know each other, which has been beneficial."

    How has your father helped you develop as a rider?

      Riley's father, Clark, raced for the National team when he was Riley's age. Riley says, “I’ve had an upper hand, from a young age because of my father's cycling history and experience. He's been where I am at now and made all the mistakes for me. I have been able to learn from him, instead of making the same mistakes he did. It’s been really great having someone to answer my questions and someone who knows a lot of people in the cycling world. Even when I’m away in Europe I am able to have a connection with someone over there, because of my dad. For example, I've been able to stay at someone’s house in between national trips because of his connections. Overall, he has given me a tremendous amount of great advice.”

      What is the most impactful advice he has provided you with?

        “He’s given me so much great advice over the years, so it’s hard to pinpoint one but 'to keep pedaling and keep riding'. He’s always told me there are the ebbs and flows of everything, but you just have to keep pedaling.”

        What is your favorite cycling memory?

          “Two years ago, when I was racing with the National team in Canada for the Tour de l'Abitibi, and I won the race overall. My father was there directing a different team but I am lucky to have been able to experience that win with him. He raced that race as a junior too, so being there with him and winning that race overall with all my teammates was so memorable.”

          Have you completed any memorable rides recently?

            “With everything going on in the world today, I struggled with motivation and training but I’ve learned to get back to the basics of just riding my bike. I did a week-long bike-packing trip in Colorado. We started in Boulder, rode up through the mountains, and finished up in Durango. That trip, just riding all day was amazing! We went over mountain passes, like Independence pass. I did not have to worry about training on that ride, it was peaceful learning to ride my bike and enjoy that, rather than focus on racing."

            Photo Credit provided on images

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