Most freshmen in college don’t have as much on their plates as John Crandall. He is taking a full class load, working in a solar monitoring research lab, and on top of everything else, competing as a member of the Oregon club cycling team.
“Being in school, studying, traveling and working part time — it’s definitely a lot to handle,” Crandall said. “I find myself staying up late doing homework a lot of nights so I can get my ride in during the day.”
While it can be tough at times, he never regrets his decision to be a cyclist. One of the reasons he decided to come to the University of Oregon was to compete for a strong cycling program.
“Overall it’s getting to know the people that is my favorite part,” Crandall said. “There are people I have only seen seven weekends this year but are already good friends of mine because they are just great guys.”
For many of the riders on the Oregon team, Crandall is a bright spot thanks to his positive attitude and joking nature.
“He can always make you laugh, always make you smile,” teammate Michael Shelver said. “I think he is a huge contributor to the positive vibes of the team.”
Getting to race with the team means Crandall got to travel all across the region. One of his favorite rides of the season was in Montana.
“The race was epic,” Crandall said. “The course finishes on top of this mountain and there was a blizzard, just some crazy weather. There was 25 mile per hour winds and hail. It was really hard and really fun.”
The racing season for the Ducks consists of seven weekends, each featuring a longer race, shorter race and a team time trial. Crandall is most successful in the longer races, of which he won three. His final win came during the final race of the season, the conference championships in eastern Washington.
“The biggest thing holding you back from a victory is yourself,” Crandall said. “My first coach told me that by the end of the race everyone is hurting just as much as you are, and the person that wins is the one who can make themselves hurt the most.”
In collegiate cycling there are several divisions in which one can race. For men there are categories A, B, C and D — with A being the highest level of competition.
Crandall began the year in the C Category but quickly advanced after his first win, riding the rest of the year in the B Category.
At the end of the season, after the success he enjoyed, Crandall applied for and was granted an upgrade to Category A for next year.
“The As go a little faster and a little longer,” teammate Austin Arguello said. “The riders typically have more experience.”
Crandall knows that the races will be harder in the A Category next season, but he is still confident that he will be able to compete.
“I am going to do as well as I can,” Crandall said. “I am going to try to hold my own, which I think I should be able to do.”