With a campus set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, one of America’s famed cycling training grounds used by professionals like George Hincapie, the Furman University Cycling Team has few excuses for not being on top – but they don’t need any.
Since its most recent installment in 2006, the Furman Cycling Team has claimed seven Collegiate National Division II championships, two Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference titles, and many more silver and bronze medals at both the national and conference level. In 2015, Furman became the first men’s team to sweep the collegiate national championship in all three events, winning the road race, criterium, and team time trial. Brendan Rhim, now a professional cyclist riding for Arapahoe|Hincapie, also took the silver medal at the individual time trial.
Rhim is not the only Furman cyclist to turn pro – he is accompanied by the likes of Chris Butler, Andy Baker, Nate Morse, and Rusty Miller, just to name a few. While both Butler and Baker have also been members of a Hincapie team at one time or another, Miller has coached teams at both Duke University and his alma mater, Furman University, and has led both schools to national championships.
In 2006, Furman University began an effort to transform its already-successful team into a cycling powerhouse. Rusty Miller was hired to coach the team and was tasked with recruiting new cyclists to the growing program. Recruiting cyclists to the Greenville area isn’t too challenging to begin with, but the heavy-hitters really started to roll in when the school began offering scholarships to incoming cyclists.
This began the golden era of Furman cycling. Though the team has been on and off of campus since the 1980s, its seven national titles were all earned between 2008 and 2015. Unfortunately, despite the team’s success, an institutional choice to cut funding for non-NCAA sports resulted in a sharp decline of the program. Today, Furman University no longer grants scholarships to cyclists or provides a coaching position for the team. Now one of 20 club sports teams on campus, the cycling team consists of 14 members competing in the road and mountain biking disciplines.
Despite having their coach and funding taken away, members of the Furman team have a great time training and traveling as a team.
“When I joined Furman cycling I was really just looking to be a part of a team,” said Courtney Bailey, president of the Furman Cycling Team. “I ended up meeting some incredible friends whom I’ve had the opportunity to drive all around the country with on race weekends before picking up classes again on Monday.”
With no coach or strict training schedule but heavy academic pressure, the team focuses on getting the best results while maintaining a light-hearted attitude.
“It’s a really fun team to be a part of. Sometimes a coffee ride turns into a random century[100-mile ride]–you never really know what to expect and its resulted in some of my favorite memories.”
The Furman Cycling Team has used Hincapie Sportswear products for over a decade and has already made plans to renew their relationship with Hincapie for seasons to come. Featuring a design that pairs sophistication with an aggressive power, the 2019 Furman Cycling Kit comes from Hincapie’s Max Collection. The kit is constructed from lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric, features mesh paneling conducive to rapid airflow, and provides a streamlined, performance-driven fit.
We are proud to help contribute to the growth and success of the Furman Cycling Team over the years and look forward to being a part of whatever they accomplish next!