Cycling Interest is Growing
The UA Cycling Club has only had an official racing team for one year, but that did not stop the team from winning 18 medals in their first season.
“We won a total of 18 medals from collegiate races that we went to,” UA Cycling Club president Danielle Teese said. “Seven of those were first place, five were second place and then six were third.”
The Cycling Club was founded in 2009, and its racing team was founded in the spring of 2012.
The main season for cycling is the spring, between February and May. During the racing season, the team has the chance to race in nearby states like Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas.
In the offseason, the club goes for organized rides, which happen weekly and are designed to benefit a wide range of skill levels. In early fall, the riders focus on length, and as the season draws closer, the riders focus more on speed.
“The highlight would definitely be, for me, the racing season,” Teese said. “We compete with other schools in the South. We went to MSU and OU, and we just traveled around. That was a lot of fun, traveling as a team.”
A typical race weekend consists of three different races. The first is a road race in which the whole team rides a set amount of miles and the first person to cross the finish line wins. The second is a team time trial, with two to four team members riding a set amount of miles to get the fastest time. The final race is called the criterium and is usually a mile-long circuit course that tests endurance and speed.
To raise money for travel, the Cycling Club sells jerseys and water bottles and does various other fundraisers.
“When I started, there was just, from what I saw, 15 members. Ten of them, maybe, I saw all the time,” said Cycling Club vice president Ben Ross. “But last year we had 40 members. Ten were on the racing team. That was a huge improvement there.”
“My goals (for the club) are definitely to compete more, in a lot more things, a lot more tours, a lot more collegiate races, and then hopefully we’ll be able to send someone to Nationals,” Teese said.
“We encourage people to ride, to get out there and have fun,” Ross said. “Fayetteville is a beautiful city, and outside of Fayetteville there are nice country roads to ride on. We encourage riding and having a good time. It doesn’t matter how good you are.”
“I like cycling because it is a breath of fresh air,” Teese said. “You get out there, especially in Arkansas, it’s just so beautiful, and the air is so clean, and it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge to your body. It’s a mental sport, but it’s also a physical sport.”
Teese encourages students who are beginning cycling to get with a group, not only to learn new routes, but to make new friends and have more fun.