We are very excited to announce a visit to Mars Hill by Pat McQuaid, the current president of cycling’s international governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The cycling community is quite familiar with McQuaid, who has served as president of the UCI since 2005, a rather controversial period. Recently, McQuaid has come under fire for topics ranging from women’s rights in the peloton to the proper height of socks. McQuaid promises to speak to these topics during his April 19th visit but will focus on how grassroots efforts impact the sport’s international growth.
Yet McQuaid’s visit to Mars Hill had nothing to do with cycling, at least initially. On a search for ancestors who immigrated to the US from Northern Ireland in the 18th century, McQuaid discovered that family on his mother’s side had first landed in Pennsylvania and then migrated south to the North Carolina Piedmont region looking for cheaper land. They eventually settled in Western North Carolina not far from Mars Hill, which he discovered when reviewing documents at the Southern Appalachian Archives housed at the Ramsey Center on campus. It was in an email exchange about these documents that McQuaid learned that Mars Hill had a cycling team.
At first, McQuaid was astonished to learn that American colleges had cycling teams–apparently he hadn’t heard of collegiate cycling yet! And while we’re proud to be the ones to inform the president of the great things all of us in collegiate cycling are doing, we’re even prouder to announce that McQuaid, in conjunction with his visit to the Southern Appalachian Archives, will visit Mars Hill to talk about the growth of cycling worldwide and how collegiate cycling can be an important factor in cycling’s long term development.
McQuaid is scheduled to visit on April 19th, exact time and location to be announced. We want to make sure McQuaid’s talk is free and open to the public, so stay tuned as we determine the best venue for this exciting event.
For now, please direct all inquiries to hmoran@mhc. edu before April 1st.