As riders and coaches gathered at the finish line after the race, the conversations were not about who won or lost the race but rather, about the boy who hit a moose. Speeding downhill to the finish line, Felix Liu ’15 crashed into a moose at the “Hell of the North” Profile High School Road Race last Wednesday.
Despite Liu’s crash and a limited team of ten riders due to injuries and illness, Andover cycling was successful on a grueling 25-mile course that included stretches of unpaved road and 12 percent grade hills.
Captain Matt Lloyd-Thomas ’12 led Boys Cycling to a strong finish with a first place finish in the Boys A division. Lloyd-Thomas caught up to the front pack in the final stretch of the race and pulled away to take the win in the short sprint to the finish line.
Standout newcomer Ian Whittall ’14 rode to a strong eight place finish in the fast field of Boys A riders.
Rachel Wittenberg ’13 and Captain Alex Morrow ’12 finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Girls A division.
Wittenberg said, “Alex [Morrow] and I rode the whole race together. We work so well together and I love riding with her. The course was probably the most difficult course we’ll ride this season, so it was nice to have the support of a teammate.”
At the White Mountain School Road Race on Wednesday, May 9, Morrow pedaled to an impressive third-place in the Girls A division. Morrow was the only girls rider representing Andover because of injuries and conflicts with AP exams.
In the Boys A division, Lloyd-Thomas pulled away on a breakaway at the beginning of the final climb and finished in fourth place. Max Block ’12 also had a strong race in the Boys A division, finishing in 12th place.
Many riders were surprised by the 2,500 foot final climb to the finish line in the last five miles of the course. Coach Thayer Zaeder described it as “a brutal final climb, two miles up with some grades near ten percent.”
However, Whittall capitalized on the climb, beating out an Exeter rider in a final sprint on his way to a ninth place finish.
On Saturday, May 12, Andover traveled for Exeter for the first and only pair time trial of the season, a type of race in which pairs of riders from each school race together on a flat, circuit-like course. Each pair is assigned the slower rider’s time, encouraging the pair to stay together.
Lloyd-Thomas said, “the team trial was very interesting, and it rewarded high levels of teamwork.” The course was difficult, with two 180-degree turns.
Lloyd-Thomas and Whittal led Andover in the Boys A division, finishing third overall. Lloyd-Thomas said, “Ian and I were in position for second place until we crashed on the last lap, but we still placed third. Overall, it was an excellent and exciting race.”
Block and Jamie Freney ’13 placed second in the Boys B division. Morrow and Wittenberg placed third in the Girls A division.
Next Saturday, Andover cycling will travel to Proctor Academy for the League Championships.