Lees-McRae Cyclists Set to Compete in the Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships

Banner Elk, NC--A group of sixteen athletes from all across the nation will be competing in events this weekend for Lees-McRae. The Bobcats are top contenders for nationals with tough competition expected from defending champions University of Colorado at Boulder; Fort Lewis College of Durango, CO; Lindsey Wilson College of Columbia, KY; and Colorado State University. Many cyclist are competing in more than one event, and Aaron Bradford will be racing in all four events as he competes for the overall omnium title. Below you can find out who is competing in which event and a little bit about each rider.

Aaron Bradford

Cross Country, Down Hill, Short Track and Dual Slalom

Senior t Communication Arts t Auburn, WA

Aaron Bradford was born and raised just south of Seattle, Washington where his passion for cycling began at the age of 13. Since the beginning of his racing career, he has traveled to 48 different states and experienced diverse cultures of 17 European and South American countries. His career highlights include being a two-time US team member for the Cyclocross World Championships, two-time US team member for Mountain Bike World Championships, two 3rd place finishes in world cups, and also individual national titles for 24 hour racing, collegiate omnium, and collegiate downhill.

Mike Anderson

Cross Country and Short Track

Freshman t Alpena, MI

Mike Anderson is an 18 year old cyclist from Alpena, MI. He has been racing bikes since he was nine years old. Some good results of his are...1st overall 2007 Keweenaw Chain Drive; 3rd overall 2007 Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Epic; 1st pro/elite men at Pontiac Lake Time Trial. Anderson enjoys cycling a lot and looks forward to seeing how far he can go with it.

Ben Hulse

Downhill and Dual Slalom

Freshmant Mooresville, NC

Ben Hulse was born in Costa Mesa, California to Doug and Jillian Hulse, but moved to Mooresville, North Carolina when he was five years old. Hulse started riding in 2003 with his cousin Parker Worthington. He races downhill, dual slalom, mtx, and super D and especially loves to ride in the mud. His greatest accomplishment so far is a 6th place finish at Sugar Mountain in Jr X. 18 & Under at the Norba Nationals. Hulse's favorite rider is Steve Peat. He plans to continue to race and qualify for a UCI event.

Randy La Prairie

Cross Country

Junior t Warren, MI

Randy Laprairie is from Warren, Michigan where he lived until moving to Banner Elk in August of 2007. He is the only child of Mike and Joyce Laprairie. He started riding a bike when he was four years old and often rode around his neighborhood. Laprairie stopped riding bikes for some time in high school and his first years of college in order to run cross country and track, but started riding and competing again during the autumn of 2005. Laprairie's greatest accomplishment has been to place 4th in a prestigious bike race in Michigan called "The Iceman" after only one year of training. He has also placed well in other races.

P J Noto

Downhill and Dual Slalom

Sophomore t Business t Marlboro, NY

PJ Noto is from Marlboro, NY and loves to ride my bike. Noto got into racing in the summer of 2006 and is now hooked on it. Noto was really into motocross until he picked up a downhill bike. He plans to continue racing for as long as he physically can.

Steve Solt

Downhill and Dual Slalom

Sophomore t Emmaus, PA

Born and raised in Emmaus, PA, Steve is the only child of Doug and Sue Solt. Solt got started in cycling kind of randomly. He was out with some friends, and one of them knew of some trails near his house, so they decided to go exploring. After that Solt just kept going, exploring more and more. Then a new bike shop arrived in town. He hung out around there a lot learning almost everything he knows. After his first season, racing turned to an addiction, and he's been hooked ever since. Solt's greatest accomplishments include racing for one of the coolest bike shops he's been to (Hey, it's got a coffee bar!) in the Mid-Atlantic Super Series, racing in the closest downhill races he can find, and racing for the nationals gravity team at Lees-McRae. He is aiming to win the collegiate nationals gravity race, the US Nationals for both gravity and cross country, and with some luck and the support of everyone around him, compete overseas in downhill and slalom racing.

Scott Stewart

Cross Country and Short Track

Junior t Biology t Oxford, MI

Scott Stewart started racing bikes when he was 13 at a mountain bike race near his home in Michigan. It only took a few races and Stewart was hooked. When not at school, Stewart races for the US National team in road races all over the country and in Europe. He hopes one day to end up as a successful professional who still enjoys bike racing to the fullest. Some of Stewart's hobbies outside of cycling include fishing, grilling and skiing.

Eric Thompson

Short Track

Freshman t Communication Arts t Shoreview, MN

EricThompson is an 18 year old freshman from Minnesota. His dad introduced mountain biking to him when he was eight years old. Thompson has been racing ever since. His strongest disciplines in cycling are short track mountain bike races and cyclocross. The proudest moment in his life was winning the 2007 Mountain Bike Short Track National Championship at Mount Snow, Vermont. Thompson has one sister, Stephanie, and two Alaskan Huskies, Timber and Kiska. In his free time he loves to hang out with friends and ride his bikes. In the winter Thompson enjoys Nordic skiing, skijoring, and snowboarding.

Chloe Jackson

Cross Country and Downhill

Sophomore t Communication Arts t East Hampton, CT

Chloe Jackson grew up as an only child in East Hampton, CT. She has raced for eight years now, and believes all the racing, traveling, and experiences she has had have shaped her adolescent life. Even though her background is cross country, Jackson thinks she's best at track sprinting. She loves riding, especially at Hurd State Park in East Hampton, CT. Some of her favorite things include strawberry limeade, any movie that transports her to another place for two hours and her mom's cooking. Jackson's cycling heroes include Shonny Vanlandingham, Elke Brutseart, and a local pro Mary Lynn Wikkar. Jackson hopes to become a photojournalist some day and to continue cycling for as long as possible.

Kristi Henne

Short Track and Cross Country

Junior t Pre-Med t Plainview, AR

Kristi Henne grew up in Plainview, Arkansas with fantastic parents (Todd and Susie) and a sister Kaylie, who attends LMC with a soccer scholarship. Henne got into cycling through her aunt and uncle at the age of twelve when she competed in the kids' race at the NORBA national championships in Mammoth, CA. The rest is history! Cycling is very much a family affair with Henne, both of parents and her sister also riding and racing. For years the family has all trained, traveled, and raced together. Some of Henne's greatest accomplishments include being a member of the U.S. national team that traveled to Banos, Ecudaor in 2004 for the Pan American