Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 4
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Cycling prepares for nationals

With thousands of miles of training and racing behind them, just over 100 miles of racing remain for the Whitman cyclists headed to nationals on May 9.

After exciting second place finishes for both the men’s and women’s A teams at the conference championships this past weekend, four women and three men will drive some 15 hours to Fort Collins, Colo. to reassert the characteristic dominance of the Whitman cycling team.

The conference championships in Pullman, Wash. and Moscow, Idaho were the last races of the year for most of the team and saw a number of strong performances accross the board.

“We had a really exciting weekend,” said junior cyclist Mia Huth. “We had a lot of pretty impressive finishes and a lot of fun. Especially because there was a lot of spirit and a lot of energy that is usually there but it was just amplified by the good weather and it being the last race of the year.”

The women’s A team finished second behind Western Washington University, behind whom they took second place at nationals last year. Despite finishing behind Western in the team time trial, the Whitman women raced well and gained more time on Western than ever before.

“We were all really impressed with how well we worked together for having very little practice,” said Huth.

Individually, sophomore Kendi Thomas also took home the women’s Criterium title.

In the women’s B field Whitman had so many riders they were able to field two teams for the team time trial and placed first and third.

Overall, the women felt like they put together their best race of the season. “When the results were posted from the race, people started jumping in the air and screaming,” said Huth of their jubilation over their strong performance.

There was a lot of surprise and excitement on the men’s side as well with the men’s A team beating Western by eight seconds over 12 miles to win the team time trial.

“[Western] had been like a minute ahead of us all year,” said junior Colin Gibson, who raced on the winning time trial team. “We did a lot of time trial practice earlier in the season and it paid off. Plus we killed ourselves out there.” The Whitman team managed to pull out the victory despite only racing with three riders to Western’s four.

For the men’s team, which has lost riders to injury, study abroad, mononucleosis and burnout, their strong performance was particularly serendipitous.

Individually, sophomore Ben Chaddock took second place in both the road race and the Criterium. Chaddock will race in both events, plus the team time trial at nationals. Gibson and senior Zac Strode have qualified for the time trial, but don’t have enough races in the A division to officially qualify for nationals in the road race and Criterium. They are waiting to hear if their petition to race alongside Chaddock in the other two events will be granted.

Looking toward nationals both the men and women are concentrating on tapering, preparing for the higher altitude of Fort Collins and taking finals early and arranging to take other finals late, since they plan to leave on reading day and return the last day of finals.

“Right now, we’re just tapering to a peak and working on our time trial form,” said Gibson.

“Last year we had a superstar with Mara [Abbott], but this year I think we’re all really excited to do this as a team,” said Huth. “Last year it was kind of hard to have a strategy…it’s going to be really exciting to have every rider have a strategy and a role.”

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