Racing Down a Dream
Alex McAndrew ’12 is a Clarkson alum on the move – literally.
Fresh from graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, Alex is pursuing his lifelong dream of competing in a World Cup mountain biking race by racing on the USA Cycling Professional Mountain Bike Gravity Tour (Pro GRT) this summer.
“I’d like to race for at least two years on the tour. I decided to pass on some job offers in the bicycle manufacturing industry to chase my dreams, so I’ll be competing in several races in the U.S. and Canada, working to improve my skills and become a leader in the field,” he says.
While proudly sporting Clarkson’s logo on his gear, Alex will be racing against the nation’s top gravity races throughout the summer. However, it won’t be the first time he’s had to compete with the best of the best hoping to end up on top.
In 2011, Alex became the men’s DII downhill national champion at the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships. During the competition, he not only took top honors for DII, but he also beat every competitor in the field, including all DI athletes. This stellar performance earned him sponsorships with Transition bikes and Maxxis tires and a Pro license. And to make it even better, his team won the overall title in their conference for DII for the third year in a row.
The East Hardwick, Vt. native chose Clarkson with mountain biking in the back of his mind, despite the fact that he was unsure about his future in the sport. When considering colleges, he latched on to Clarkson’s strong academic reputation in engineering combined with its proximity to the Adirondack Mountains.
“The greatest part about mountain biking is that training is fun. Having trails on campus gave me an advantage over the other collegiate racers,” he explains. “Most of my training at school was spent riding cross country on the ROTC trail and doing power building and endurance running throughout the year.”
After a successful season, Alex was also able to transform his love for mountain biking into a summer mechanical engineering internship at Fox Racing Shox in Watsonville, Calif., the industry leader in design and development of high performance shock absorbers and racing suspension products for mountain bikes, snowmobiles, ATVs, motorcycles and more.
“Working for Fox was an incredible opportunity,” he says. “I gained a lot of experience on the bike and in the workplace and I met many people that have helped me get to where I am today.”
And he’s certainly not opposed to getting back into the industry side of racing later in life. “Once this wild ride is complete, I’d like to put my Clarkson education back to work in the bicycle manufacturing industry. That would be the best of both worlds.”
To follow Alex’s adventures in mountain biking, check out his blog at www.bikesmcandrew.blogspot.com.
Alex McAndrew '12 stands at the top of the podium at the 2011 USA Cycling National Championships after winning the Division II title.
Photograph by Jonathan Devich, USA Cycling