When Andrew Borden was first looking at colleges, he had two requirements: It had to be in an appealing area and it had to have access to outdoor recreation.
The junior Health Science major, who hails from Pittsfield, Vermont, has taken advantage of all that the region has to offer, strapping on skis when the snow starts to fall and hopping on a bike when the sun shines.
Borden first became interested in cycling at age 15. That summer, he was given his first road bike. After three months of riding, Borden began racing competitively with the Killington Mountain School cycling team.
“After riding on the road for a few months, my coach at the time suggested that I race Cyclocross. I worked a full summer to afford a new bike and fell in love with the sport immediately. My first year, I won the Junior Vermont State Championship and was hooked.”
Cyclocross is a mix of road and mountain biking. Riders use a modified road bike that has a greater clearance for mud, with disc brakes and knobby tires. The races typically last one hour, and the course features a variety of terrain and obstacles.
Borden formed the Castleton Cycling Club as a freshman, hoping to introduce his peers to the sport of cycling. Earlier this month, Borden traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to represent the Castleton Cycling Club at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships. He placed eighth out of 45 riders.
Borden begins prepping for racing in March, first riding on the road with the cycling club. His training intensifies in August. Living in a state with four distinct seasons can pose a challenge for training.
“By the time nationals roll around, there is typically snow on the ground. When it snows, I’m forced to ride inside on the trainer — a device that hooks up to my rear wheel and simulates cycling in the real world,” Borden explains. “Riding the trainer is like eating nails, but it makes me all the more excited to ride at nationals.”
With a successful trip to nationals behind him, Borden will shift his focus to the slopes as a third-year member of the Alpine Ski team.
“Chris Eder, the alpine team coach, is absolutely awesome. He fully supports my Cyclocross season, which runs about a week into the ski season,” he said.
Borden is the quintessential student-athlete, maintaining a balance between academics and sport. He has maintained a GPA that has put him on the Dean’s list every semester.
“I prefer to frontload my work so weekends are less stressful,” he said. “Making the most out of your free time is a good habit to have.”
When asked to describe his experience at Castleton, Borden reflected on the things that attracted him to the university in the first place.
“Castleton has offered me everything I have expected,” he said. “I have fallen in love with science and met some really nice people.”