Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cycling Club rides on

August 11, 2007


The KU Cycling Club maintains a high-speed schedule of racing, training and competition straight until the finish line. Those that have no experience mix with those that have been cycling for 20 years to learn more about the sport, compete and have fun.

"I want to see what I can do and prove that I am good at something," said senior Christian Beer, vice president. "Some people want to be competitive; some people want to race or for fun, and some people want to show off their really nice bikes."

When Beer came to KU from Germany, he was trying to cram his road bike in his dorm and an RA on his floor told him about cycling club. Beer now wants to compete professionally and "take it to the next level."

The club is composed of 30 members, including 15 members who actively race. The three teams (Men's A and B and Women's) meet every Friday for a team ride.

"My goal in cycling is at some point I'd like to have it as my profession," Beer said. "Not necessarily racing professionally on a higher level, but (to become) someone who owns a team or works in the bike industry."

Head coach Chris Hess and the other coaches teach the members the group nature of the sport with team rides on Fridays as well as intense team training rides.

"My coach (Hess) says that it is chess on a bike," Beer said. "It is a fascinating sport. It is fun to watch, especially when you know what is going on."

The collegiate season begins in March where teams compete in races culminating in Nationals. For the past couple of years, Lawrence has hosted Nationals, which brings 500 athletes from the top teams of the conference.

"There are thousands of people on the street cheering for you," Beer said. "It is a huge party. It is amazing to see how many people find cycling interesting."

The club includes road races, mountain bike races, cycle across and criterium. Cycle across, mountain bike racing on a road bike, includes various obstacles and mounting and dismounting the bike. Criterium is a timed lap event.

"KU Cycling is a club for everyone," KU doctorate student David McLeod said. "The basics gear are a bike, helmet, our clothes, shoes and pedals, and you are off and running. It's truly as simple as get a bike and start peddling."

McLeod has been riding for 20 years and previously has raced with a team in Taiwan. When he came to KU for graduate school, he decided to participate in the club and race at the collegiate level.

"Lawrence is a hub for cycling in this region," McLeod said. "As a graduate student, the KU team was a natural fit. My hope in joining KU Cycling was to get to invest in the team. I get to race, too, and that's a bonus."

The $50 club dues cover all travel expenses and entrance fees for the races. The team travels within the conference area, which includes North Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska.

"Traveling to events is a lot of fun," McLeod said. "Over the last couple of years, the team has become very close-knit. While we were traveling to bleak Fargo in March in the car for 18 hours, there was a lot of opportunity for bonding."


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