Bikers Cycle Past Holderness As Clay Wins Junior Olympic Race

The Andover Cycling team has been pedaling their way past all comers this year, marking a season which may shape up to be one of the best racing seasons in recent memory. Andover has opened up the season with a perfect 3-0 record, and the PA riders hope to sweep the remaining five races en route to the New England title. The strong group of five riders is well seasoned and primed to best the competition. After winning the Tilton time trial, the first race of the year, Andover went on to compete at the United States Cycling Federation (USCF) Junior Olympic race series in Plymouth, MA. Competitors in this nation-wide race circuit include top entrants from around the country. Although this race is a staple in Andover’s yearly race schedule, PA cyclists did not expect to take control of the race, due to the amount of non-prep school and thoroughly-trained riders who participate in the Junior Olympic circuit . Heading into the race, the intent of the boys in Blue was to finish well in the main pack. P. Thatcher Clay ’04, however, had a different plan. Clay managed to catch on to a late breakaway and keep the lead through to the end of the race, crossing the line in first place. This is an incredible accomplishment for any young rider, and it has not gone unnoticed; Clay is now a marked man and will be watched closely by the opposition. The remaining six riders fared well; Anthony Roldan ’04 and Dave Morse ’04 took 10th and 11th, respectively. New riders Peter Chiu ’03, Paull Randt ’04, and Alex Wolf ’06 found themselves suckered into a brisk early pace and fell off the main pack before the end of the race. Piotr Brzezinski ’03 warped his wheel after a sharp knock on the course and could not finish the race. Brzezinski had looked to finish well in this race, especially after similar circumstances the year before prevented him from completing the race. The team’s captain, Peter Stetson ’03, raced last Saturday with the Category 4 men, a division notorious for cutthroat tactics and blistering speed. After a grueling 25 miles toiling at the head of the pack Stetson had lost all of the big kick he was hoping unleash in the final descent to the sprint finish. Although drained of energy he still managed to end the race with the respectable 12th place. After the race Stetson commented, “I was in position to finish quite well, but the fight I had to put up for the favorable position sapped all of my potential for the final sprint. I had nothing left to give at the finish.” Andover’s five female cyclists also had a showing Saturday, contending in the women’s Category 4 division. Unfortunately, the developed adult riders proved to be a level above what PA’s female cyclists were accustomed to. All five could not stay with the pack, despite gallant efforts from Anne Koehler ’03 and Morissa Sobelson ’05 to stay with the older riders. Holderness hosted Wednesday’s race, on a 20-mile course, complete with a 2000 foot climb confronted the eager PA cyclists. The team’s strength and depth allowed for some serious tactics during the race. A plan to ensure victory was put to use, knowing that the Blue’s prominence would allow Andover to completely control the pack. In a show of well-timed tactics and racing knowledge, a powerful Tilton rider initiated a counterattack following immediately after Morse’s final breakaway attempt. This break-away, closely pursued by Clay, Stetson, Brzezinski, and Roldan, proved to be too much for some, as the main pack disintegrated into small packs of riders scrambling to catch the quick breakaway. After the excitement of the break settled, the field was torn into a two-man breakaway and a group of Andover riders in hot pursuit, with the remaining competitors far behind. The Andover chase group failed to catch the two-man breakaway, and the race ended with an unbroken chain of Andover riders placing from 3rd-6th, good enough to give Andover the overall win. The week ended as it had begun, with Andover on top.