With less than a mile left, Paxton Hyde ’15 quickly looked at the hill just ahead and calculated how much energy he had left in the tank, drafted off another racer and finally pushed ahead to take first place at the Gould Road Race-Grafton Notch Challenge on Saturday. Andover Cycling capitalized on this upward momentum against Profile on Wednesday by pushing through trying conditions.
The team made a strong showing at the 21 mile course hosted by Gould, thanks to Hyde’s first place finish out of all racers and three top five finishes in Girls B.
The road race consisted of two steep uphill sections. In Boys A, riders stuck together for the first climbs around 12 miles in, until an increase in pace on the “stairstep” climbs started to shell people out of the main group. As the race continued, the group continued to split up, and frequent attacking, accelerating and regrouping occurred amongst the cyclists.
Hyde maintained his position in a group of five near the front.
“With around four or five miles to go, the group caught a [Phillips Exeter Academy] rider who had been off the front for a while, and we worked together up to the final 500 meters,” said Hyde.
In the last stretch of uphill, Hyde paced himself before pushing past the leading Exeter rider right in front of the finish line to win the hard sprint at the end of the race.
Hyde credited the impressive finish to his teammates as well.
“Scott Macdonald [’15] did a lot of work to control the race in the flatter miles leading up to the climb, which made my race a lot less stressful,” he said.
In the Girls B race, Jessica Wang ’18 placed second overall, with Meg Davis ’17 following close behind her in fourth and Co-Captain Liana Margolese ’15 in fifth.
Margolese said, “[Davis] launched an excellent attack that allowed three Andover riders to ride in a six rider breakaway.”
After a strong Boys A and Girls B performance at the Gould road race, the team turned around for another race hosted by Profile.
Riders raced in poor conditions: steep hills followed one after another on poorly constructed dirt roads while the heavy wind pounded on the sides of the cyclists. Powering through the tough road and weather conditions, Davis finished sixth in Girls B, followed by Margolese in eighth place.
“This was by far the most challenging race of the season as it combined extremely steep climbs with tricky descents on dirt roads,” said Margolese.
Given the circumstances, Will Reid ’15 raced strongly in Boys B, finishing in sixth and demonstrating his various terrain talents and immense progression throughout the season’s practices and races. In Boys A, Hyde worked together with his teammates to finish in sixth place overall with a time of 1:08:27.
Hyde’s dramatic first place victory at Gould and the team’s overall success in a difficult course at Profile emphasizes the hard training and growth of the team throughout this season.
“Overall, it was a huge accomplishment to just complete the race with everyone on the team finishing strong,” said Margolese.
The team will race again next Wednesday at the Proctor Academy Circuit Race (NERC League Championships) hosted by Proctor and hopes to build upon its accomplishments.