SYRACUSE – Six months ago Syracuse resident Douglas Cheney was riding a championship high, but lacked a sponsor to help with his growing expenses.
The national champion rider is now a two-time national champion and has the sponsorships to help him continue his riding career.
Cheney, still at age 44, rides both a mountain bike and a separate bike for BMX, and credited his job site and a local bike shop for “sort of” sponsoring him as he continued his riding career.
Cheney now has two full fledged sponsors, one for mountain biking and one for BMX, and recently captured the USA Cycling Dual Slalom National Champion for the second time in as many years.
“This would have to be the most exciting win for me for several reasons,” said Cheney. “When competing in a race this big I like to get there as early as possible to be better prepared for the competition. No two tracks are the same, so I arrived three days early to prepare for this race.”
Cheney’s timing was nearly perfect as he posted the second fastest qualifying time after the opening rounds.
The rider in front of Cheney in the dual slalom event was nearly three full seconds ahead of him, considered an eternity by those standards.
Cheney made his way through to the gold and silver rounds, where he faced off against the lone person ahead of him in the standings. By racing standards, he said, making up three seconds overall is one of the most difficult things to do.
“Three seconds is a lot of time in dual slalom,” he said. “So I had to figure out how I was going to make up that time after the first round. If he had beaten me by more than one second he probably would have captured the championship.”
After the first round was complete, Cheney was able to pull ahead by .07 seconds. In round two Cheney lost, but covered his time by less than one-tenth of a second to claim his national title for the second straight year.
“I wasn’t favored to win and I won by .02 seconds,” he said. “I mean, what does .02 seconds look like at the finish line? An inch? A foot? I was training for this event in January for three hours a day, six days a week and won by two hundredth’s of a second. It’s amazing.”
Now with his consecutive championships in tow, Cheney’s resume includes three USA Cycling National Championships, two dual slalom championships and one four-cross championship.
A four-cross, Cheney said, sees four racers on the track at the same time racing BMX-style over a single course.
“This year there were no ‘what if’s,’” he said. “I didn’t have to answer any ‘what if I had crashed’ or ‘what if I didn’t ride fast enough.’ Nothing like that at all.”