On Wednesday, Andover Cycling traveled to Loudon Speedway in N.H. for its second race of the season hosted by Phillips Exeter Academy, bringing terrific performances from nine Andover cyclers into the raceway. This race was hosted as a team time trial among independent schools, including Proctor Academy, Exeter, Profile School, and Holderness School.
According to Anthony Minickiello ’20 who competed in the Boys A division, the high point of the day was the Girls A race, in which a team consisting of three Andover cyclers, Grace Hitchcock ’20, Jessica Wang ’18, and Abigail Johnson ’19 placed first with the time of 26:29 in the nine mile race, coming in over 30 seconds faster than the second place finisher.
Minickiello wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Definitely, the main highlight of the meet I think was the Girls A (fastest) race. It was awesome to witness Grace, Jess and Abby pull off a win together for the team at the highest level. I remember them racing so fast at the very end of a sprint at the finish line.”
Wang wrote, “We had a clear strategy going into the race, where we decided who would be pulling which sections of the course. For time trials, it’s completely different from road races, because you don’t know whether you’ve won the race until after the times are published.”
According to Wang, the pregame ritual helped the team get excited and concentrate for the upcoming race. “Before races, we’ll pump ourselves up with jams such as ‘POWER’ by Kanye or ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes,” wrote Wang.
In the Boys Race A Division, Andover’s team of Minickiello, Isaac Newell ’18, and Floyd Greenwood ’19 finished sixth with a time of 27:37 in the nine mile race.
Minickiello wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “My race felt very smooth, controlled, and balanced. I was never exhausted or winded and perfectly maintained my energy levels to the very end of the race, culminating in a great finishing sprint. More than anything else though, my race was a great experience because the meet was a team trial, so I needed to communicate and work together with my partners to go the fastest time.”
According to Samson Zhang ’20, the team faced problems during the race that made them realize the significance of each other in these races.
Zhang wrote, “Floyd dropped off to let Isaac and Anthony take the lead. However, in the penultimate lap, while cresting a hill, part of Isaac’s bike broke […] ending his race. In the end, Floyd’s time was counted as the team time.”
Andover has been training heavily practices both in the Snyder Center and outdoors to build strength and endurance for the past several weeks. According to Phillip Matteini ’19, the tight-knit team camaraderie among the athletes and the coaches was what pushed him and his teammates to be resilient of everyday practices.
Matteini said, “Coach Ben Duclos and Coach Coreen Martin have been pushing us to our limits through endurance and tempo workouts. Perhaps what has been really motivating me to go my hardest is the fact that such closeknit bond exists within the whole team as well as different groups. For instance, in my group [Group C], [Jacob] Buehler [’19] was sick for the race, but the three of us have been putting so much work and effort into our race. The other groups have been working tremendously as well.”
Despite absences and Andover’s relative inexperience, Andover was able to learn from and succeed in the time trial, according to Matteini.
Matteini said, “Coming from no experience in the sport of cycling, I think we were able to straighten our goals together and strive to pursue it. It was also our first meet format of a time trial race; I really found it interesting that the objective of this race is about racing and finishing together.”
Andover Cycling will race next Wednesday at Holderness.