Many Weber State University students look forward to enjoying the outdoors this spring by participating in clubs and outdoor activities that WSU offers.
The WSU Cycling Club has already participated in one race so far this year. Dustin Bradshaw, president of the club, said there will be races almost every weekend until the end of the semester that members of the club will be able to participate in. He said he hopes his team will qualify for nationals again this year. Last year, the team made up of Bradshaw and his teammates, Tyler Matson, Clint Mortley and Toby Nishikawa, were awarded 21st place overall in the nation, and 15th in the team’s timed trial in the national competition held in Ogden. Matson was also 11th overall for the individual road race. This year, the national competition will be held in Ogden again.
The club has around 15 members, but only 2-4 members typically participate in each race. Bradshaw said that, although the races are an important aspect of the club, even beginners are welcome to join.
“We try to ride just for fun Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon, close to 20 miles of easy riding,” Bradshaw said. “Everybody stays together as a group, and if it gets too tough for someone, we can always turn around and come back.”
Bradshaw said everyone should try to do something active outdoors, and that doing so is extremely rewarding.
“Just to be able to say that I can go out and do 65 miles on a weekend in one race — not a lot of people can say that,” he said. “It is kind of an adrenaline rush in some ways too. Sometimes going around 50 miles per hour — it’s a rush.”
The cycling club is one of the oldest outdoor activity clubs at WSU, as it has been around since 1997. One of WSU’s newest outdoor clubs, the climbing club, was created three years ago for outdoor enthusiasts who particularly enjoy rock climbing.
“The first year, the club was more of a team-based club, and we competed more,” said Kyle Palmer, president of the climbing club. “But these past two years, it’s been just more of a group of people who like the outdoors.”
Throughout the colder months, the club does a lot of indoor climbing at places like Weber Rocks or the Front Climbing Gym. In the springtime, there are various opportunities for members to go on weekend and day trips to places like St. George and Cottonwood Canyon. The club also does a lot of rock climbing in the Ogden area.
“People don’t realize what is right in our backyard,” Palmer said. “That’s what the climbing club is about, getting people out into that backyard and experiencing it.”
The WSU Climbing Club has around 30 members, and up to 20 people come to each trip. Palmer joined the club three years ago, when it was first conceived. At the time, he was a beginner, but most other members of the team had been doing it for several years.
Palmer said he has gotten four or five minor injuries while rock climbing. Although there is a chance of injury and an element of fear involved, Palmer said he thinks it is worth it.
“There is nothing else like it,” Palmer said. “There are moments when you are really high on a rock and you are happy you are there and happy you are doing it, but at the same time, you are really scared, but when you’re done, there is a feeling of accomplishment that is just overwhelming.”
Toby Nishikawa, who competed at nationals for the cycling club, was injured last year during the collegiate race while racing for WSU. Although she sustained major injuries, including nine bone fractures in her legs, arms, left hand and nose, she said she has not been deterred from enjoying what Utah’s outdoors have to offer. After getting injured, Nishikawa had to undergo therapy to learn how to walk again and is now training for a marathon. She said her hope is that her experience motivates others not to give up. She said she encourages anyone to go out and see what Utah has to offer. Her advice for beginners is to start small.
“It takes baby steps,” Nishikawa said. “If you just take it a few small steps at a time, you can really do anything.”