Cycling team receives extra funds, hopes for coach, trip to nationals

Alyssa Fairbanks

The Whitman Cycling Team is speeding its way towards nationals with the help of the $5,500 they received from ASWC. Earlier this school year the Cycling Team requested and received a onetime grant of $40,000 from the Student Development Fund.  

“The senate reviewed it in accordance to the criteria stated in the Student Development Fund,” said David Changa-Moon, Chair of the Finance Committee.

The Student Development Fund, designated for student-initiated projects, contains a list of criteria that the proposed project must meet before a majority vote in the ASWC Senate can approve it.

According to the description of the allocation written by the Cycling Team, “these moneys will go towards the establishment of a long-lasting coaching infrastructure as well as enable Whitman riders to attend Collegiate Road Nationals in May with ideal travel arrangements.”

The first portion of money will go towards getting riders to nationals. The racing schedule this year means riders will miss the last week of school before finals. In order to minimize missing classes, travel time will be cut by flying rather than driving four or five riders to nationals.

“Collegiate nationals is where we create the most exposure for our sponsors,” said Ben Chaddock, President of the Cycling Team. “Nationals are very important to attract prospective students and to keep a portfolio of sponsors: to keep entry level costs low for new Whitman cyclists.”

The other half of the money will help create a coaching infrastructure for the team. In the past, money from club dues and gear revenues has gone towards making racing as affordable as possible. This leaves nothing for coaching, which consequently decreases the number of athletes that have had outside coaching.  

“We want to be more consistent at the national level by creating a coaching structure,” said Chaddock. “My coach, who is a student, volunteered as a coach. He’s now being paid to coach the whole team, but we are paying pennies for his amount of knowledge.”

Chaddock’s coach, senior David Youngblood is an elite racer and a registered USACYCLING coach. He is working with members of the team to create a complete training philosophy. Eventually, a training manual will be published to continue the training for future generations of Whitman cyclers.  

“At the end, we will have a published guide to continue training for the future. It will create continuity for the team and continue the legacy,” said Chaddock.  

Not only does this benefit the team, but as Chaddock said, “There is importance on our community profile. We are very involved in the community. We have hosted elementary school rodeos and we put on other events.”  

 “Since any Whitman student can join the Cycling Team and all students are welcome at the open informational training philosophy sessions, these AWSC funds are directly cycled towards the campus as a whole,” said Chaddock. We are trying to build the campus image: locally, regionally and nationally.”  

As the coaching structure continues to develop, the Cycling Team is training hard in preparation for their upcoming race at nationals.  

Currently, the Cycling Team’s “Week of Cycling” began Feb. 20. and runs till Feb. 28. A variety of activities comprise cycling week, including bike polo, valley rubbish clean up and daily rides with free bike/gear rentals available. Also, a series of evening events will occur culminating with the first annual Whitman Cycling/CCY Junior Team Bike Fashion Show on Thursday Feb. 26.  

Also, the 14th annual Tour of Walla Walla will occur this April. The event will feature Whitman cyclists in a Saturday night ‘under the lights’ criterium through downtown and around Reid Campus center.