The cycling club’s president will represent ACU at the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships in North Carolina this year.
Elizabeth Lurz, senior business major from Boerne, has overcome many obstacles to become the cyclist she is today.
“I am racing for everything I have fought through these past couple of years,” said Lurz. “Any achievement I achieve between now and before I graduate is seriously amazing. There is nothing to describe how awesome it feels to be riding at this capacity and racing at the capacity that I am right now, and to know that I can continue to get better.”
Lurz was diagnosed with a neurological condition during her sophomore year of high school. She soon developed a blood clot disorder along with some kidney issues. Because of these health issues her doctor told her she couldn’t race.
“It was really hard being told that I couldn’t do any physical activity,” said Lurz. “It was like part of me being taken away and I wasn’t going to take ‘no’ as an answer, so I would go and watch the races.”
This was particularly hard for her, having already won a state championship and having been top three in the state for four years. After three years of being off the bike Lurz finally got to race again.
“Here we are today, and I’ve pulled my life together,” said Lurz. “I’ve overcome a lot. It’s pretty crazy when you go from taking a hand-full of medications almost four to five times a day, to now I don’t take anything and I ride. It’s like my own personal medication.”
Lurz was excited to get back on her bike once again, but she knew she would have to work hard to get to where she used to be. She spent her entire sophomore year placing dead last in all of her races.
“It was like being told ‘no’ over and over again. And every time I thought I trained enough or I’ve gotten good enough and I could probably catch up to the other girls and beat them, but you just don’t because you’re just not at that level yet,” Lurz said.
She would get up at 5:00 a.m. to train and do hill climbs so that in order to get better. She started noticing that her times were getting faster and people were starting recognize how hard she was training. In March of 2012, she finally broke her losing streak and won 2nd place in her [Solavaca] race, Solavaca(what?).
Lurz decided to race for ACU the fall of her junior year and worked her way up to nationals. Lurz went to nationals in Angel Fire, N.M., Oct. 22, 2012. She said it was a difficult ride; she climbed 2,000 feet per lap. She placed 21 out of 27 girls.
This fall Lurz started the school year with a mountain bike race. She placed first and beat her competition by 10 minutes.
“I guess I underestimated my training and I underestimated myself. I got to the race and I raced as hard as I could,” said Lurz. “I was in the middle of the race and I just kept telling myself, ‘you’ve got this, in Him it is all possible.’ Finally I started to look back to see where my competition was and they weren’t there.”
Last weekend Lurz and the cycling team revisited her home course in Comfort, Texas, where she learned how to ride. ACU won the team race, beating Baylor, UT, A&M and West Texas A&M.
“I could see all of my efforts into growing the cycling club right there at that shining moment. We were on the podium as a group with first place. It was awesome,” said Lurz.
Conor Steward, freshman engineering major from Boerne, grew up with Lurz and is also a part of the ACU cycling club. He said he was just as ecstatic to win the group race.
“To win as a team always feels really great and with one as small as ours it really pulls us together closer,” said Steward.
This weekend, Lurz will be racing in West Monroe, La. She hopes to win omnium in this year’s South Central Collegiate Cycling Conference and claim the achievement of being the fastest female out of four states. Lurz is also excited to represent ACU at nationals October 22-27 in North Carolina.
Lurz recently found out that her dad was diagnosed with skin cancer and said she now rides with a different purpose.
“Finding out that he had cancer was just a shocker. I had been sick for a really long time and had been surrounded by bad news after bad news, and I had finally broken that bubble, and it hurt to hear my father struggling. I told myself and I made it clear to everyone around me that I was racing for my Dad and I will be racing the rest of this season for him because he is the one who got me into this sport and has given me a different attitude with life. Without my bike I would not be the person I am.”
When Lurz graduates in the spring, Steward will take over the cycling group at ACU.
“I’m excited about being the leader of the group of course, but with all that Liz does for us and all she has to keep up with, taking over is a daunting prospect,” said Steward. “Next year we lose most of our team as they graduate or transfer, but Liz has left a legacy behind that she started and we will do our best to continue it into the future.”