Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Cyclists flock to weekend Omnium

Credit: Halley McCormick

This past weekend Whitman’s cycling team hosted the Missionary Omnium, a Pacific Northwest Collegiate Cycling Conference race that occurs in Walla Walla each year. The team featured 18 rides this weekend, against Division I and II schools including the University of Washington, Oregon State, Gonzaga, and Willamette. Organized and run by the same student-athletes that were racing, the event brought in funds to support the growth of Whitman club cycling.

The Whitman teams performed outstandingly, with the B women placing first in the time trial and the B men placing second. In the individual criterium race, senior Aurora Bowers and  junior Molly Blust placed fourth and fifth respectively; in the men’s B division, Luke Ogden, Alberto Santos-Davidson and Eli Robinson took first, sixth and eighth. Sophomore Rachel Geiter earned the most points: 158 total for the weekend.

In the past years, Whitman has been a powerhouse team, winning the DII Championship in 2010. The team, currently ranked just behind University of Oregon, University of Washington and Western Washington University, appreciated having the race at home in Walla Walla for various reasons.

“It is nice having a home advantage, because that is one of the courses that we ride all the time. We have done really well in the past––it is nice knowing the course and the corners, and you know where the weird spots in the road are,” said Blust.

This home race acts as the starting point for the final push to the end of the season. “My legs don’t start getting into race form until now. Our big race is conference at the end of the year, as well as Tour of Walla Walla,” said Blust.

Credit: Halley McCormick

“[This race] is building up to the conference finals. For some riders, if they are in the top category, they can go on to nationals, which are in May over in Ogden, Utah. It is another step in the season, another chance to get some experience, to get some points for the team,” said senior captain David Hancock.

Hancock has been hard at work not only preparing for the race, but organizing it as well; he is the race coordinator this year. As this race is the primary fundraiser for the team, this job is key for making possible future races and events for the team.

“It is a chance to raise money which goes to paying for travel, and food, and registration for all the other races. So we have two things going on at once,” said Hancock.

As cycling is a club sport and therefore has no college-hired coach, the Whitman’s cyclists take it upon themselves personally to train and prepare for races.

“Since we are a club sport, we don’t have a coach to tell us how to prepare. [The difficulty of rides] definitely depends on where people are in their training,” said Blust.

Credit: Halley McCormick

By the end of the seven whirlwind in-season weeks, the team will have traveled throughout the Northwest to attend various racing events.

“We’ve been to Eugene, Corvallis, Bellingham, Seattle; next week is Bozeman and Missoula, and conference finals will be in Pullman and Moscow,” said Hancock.

Although much of the team is comprised of first-years and sophomores, many of the riders are ranked as B riders, defining their status in cycling races, ranging from A to C, with A being the highest. The higher ranked riders are up against stiffer competition, as the races are more competitive and faster. The A ranked riders receive more points in the standings because of their ranking, and more difficult races.

“This is definitely more of a development year, but we have a lot of really good riders. We are winning in the B’s but we don’t have any A riders. Whitman is completely dominating the B field in both the men’s and women’s field. Right now we are in fourth place in the conference, which is really good for our size,” said Geiter.

“[The Missionary Omnium] was the hardest race I’ve ever done. It was really tough; the whole weekend went really well,” said Geiter. +

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