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Cycling Toward Success

NC State is a worldwide leader in higher education, and its employees also hold their own on the global stage. That includes Kaitlyn Mittan, who recently raced to a World Championship title in track cycling.

Mittan, the director of assessment and accreditation for NC State’s Office of Assessment and Accreditation, recently won the Scratch Race World Championship for Master’s Women in the 40-44 age group at the 2022 UCI Masters Track World Championships in Los Angeles.
A scratch race is a track cycling event in which all riders start together and the objective is simply to be first over the finish line after a certain number of laps on the track, with 5 kilometers being the race distance for Masters women. Mittan also took home a silver medal in her age group’s points race, and bronze medals in the individual and team pursuits.

Mittan has been competing in road racing since 2013, starting as a Category 4 racer (beginner), and over the years has moved her way up through the cycling ranks to the elite level. She spent several seasons racing solely on the road, and in 2018 won her first national championship in the individual pursuit on the track. That fall she competed in the individual pursuit and team pursuit at the UCI Track World Championships in Los Angeles. In 2019, she competed at nationals in Los Angeles and worlds in Manchester, England. She took a break from competitive cycling during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2021 made the move from Alexandria, Virginia to Raleigh to take her current job at NC State.

Mittan officially returned to the track this year and trained to compete at nationals with less than two months’ notice, taking home four more national titles at the competition in Indianapolis. She then continued training to compete at the world championships in Los Angeles at the end of September.

A Careful Balance

Within the Office of Assessment and Accreditation, Mittan is responsible for overseeing the processes and procedures that ensure the continual evaluation and enhancement of the university’s programs and initiatives, and helps uphold NC State’s accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Mittan works diligently to maintain a careful balance between her job in OAA and competitive cycling. The closest track is in Rock Hill, South Carolina (nearly three hours away) so Mittan completes all of her training rides after work, spending anywhere from one to three hours training on the rural roads north of Raleigh. She is also a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified nutrition coach and a USA Cycling certified coach who works with endurance athletes, including cyclists and triathletes.

“I’m so passionate about what I do, whether it’s cycling, coaching or my full-time job at NC State,” said Mittan. “I love competing and supporting my athletes and nutrition clients to succeed in meeting their goals and making sustainable lifestyle changes. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”

Mittan is fully self-supported in her cycling pursuits, but is fortunate to be part of a close-knit cycling community in Raleigh. She encourages others who are interested in the sport to get connected to other area cyclists and participate in one of the many group rides that happen throughout the week.

“There are rides for cyclists of all skill and experience levels, preferred speed, terrain and more,” she said. “There’s a huge and supportive community of cyclists and I was fortunate enough to get connected to them my first weekend living in Raleigh. I can’t emphasize how welcoming, friendly and supportive the cycling community is in this area.”

What’s Next

With a hectic schedule of work and cycling, Mittan is still contemplating her plans for future races. The track world championships will return to Manchester, England in 2023, and will then move to Paris in 2024.

“I’m really excited about the possibility of Paris 2024, so that is my longer-term goal,” said Mittan.”Depending on location and timing, I would also like to compete at nationals again next year.”

Whatever Mittan pursues next, she has a community of Wolfpack supporters cheering her on and hoping that this winning cycle soon repeats itself.

To hear Mittan speak more about her cycling championship experience, listen to the What Is Cycling podcast.

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