Cycling takes Angie Bukley to the competitive edge
March 14, 2007
By Courtney Cooper
Angie Bukley is known around the Russ College of Engineering and Technology for her extensive engineering experience and her work as associate dean of research and graduate studies. Underneath that professional exterior, however, is a mountain biker with a competitive drive.
Bukley, a former member of the U.S. National Mountain Bike Team, went to the Mountain Bike World Championship in Kirtzarten, Germany in 1995, where she placed seventh in her category. Having raced on trails from West Virginia to France, she also had several sponsors ranging from sports drink companies to bike shops to vitamin and supplement brands. As a dedicated cyclist, she rode to win.
"Most races were with men, and I'd still end up in the top five or 10," Bukley says. "Women athletes deserve just as much of a chance as men."
She was invited to the 1996 Olympic trials but unfortunately could not attend because of work commitments in France at the time. She officially retired in 1995 after the World Championship race.
Biking has been a significant part of Bukley's life since her college days as an undergraduate student at Mississippi State University. While riding her bike to physics class one fall day, she was hit by a car and subsequently spent three weeks in the hospital.
"Riding a bike and lifting weights were the only way to recover the ability to walk again," she says. "Then I was hooked."
Bukley continued to bike regularly after she healed and finished her undergraduate degree in the spring of 1980. She earned her master's in December 1981 at the same school.
Since retiring from racing, cycling has continued to have a strong presence in her life. In August 2006, she participated in a five-day, 235-mile cycling tour in France in which she climbed several mountains covered in the Tour de France. That same summer, she fell victim to what she calls "sever peer pressure" and raced again in West Virginia.
"You have to have the fire in the belly to really want to compete," she says. "There's not even a smoldering ember in me now."
Bukley says she uses cycling as a vehicle for relaxation. You can find her trekking her favorite trails all over the country -- from the foothills of Appalachia to Colorado and New Mexico. She also stays active snowboarding, skiing, playing racquetball and hiking.
"I love going out riding with people on a Sunday," she said. "My priorities have changed a lot. I look at it as life insurance; it lets me eat more chocolate."
Working in the Russ College, her days are hectic and between serving on various administrative and advisory committees, teaching courses in electrical engineering and computer science, acting as student advisor, obtaining and promoting external research, and administrating the integrated doctoral program, she doesn't have much time for racing.
Bukley says, "I'm competing in other aspects of my life now."
Courtney Cooper is a student writer with the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.