Grace Hitchcock ’20, currently in first place in the NERCL Girls A Division, is closely followed by Alisa Crueger-Cain ’20 in second and Co-Captain Abigal Johnson ’19 in fourth. At the Holderness School Road Race, all of them finished in the top three for Andover Girls Cycling, beating the next closest cyclist by five seconds and the second closest by over five minutes.
Andover was successful at both the Phillips Exeter Academy Time Trials and at the Holderness race this past week. After a first place finish for Girls Cycling at both races, in addition to and fourth and fifth place finishes at Exeter and Holderness, for Boys Cycling, Andover now sits in the overall second place in the NERCL Team Rankings.
In the Exeter Time Trials, Andover succeeded in its communication throughout the event, according to Grace Hitchcock ’20.
“We communicated really well throughout the time trial, which is essential to a team’s performance in a team time trial. Before the race, the three of us, along with the coaches, came up with a plan and a strategy for how we could best utilize each of our strengths as riders, and we did a really good job of executing that plan during the race. Team time trials are all about how each individual rider can contribute their best abilities to the team, spreading out the workload amongst the three of us.” Hitchcock wrote in an email to The Phillipian.
Co-Captain Abigail Johnson ’19 added in an email to The Phillipian, “The team did a great job of working together with their teammates, pacing each other and sticking together, so they could ride most efficiently.”
The transition from a time trial to a road race was difficult at first for Andover, according to Johnson.
“In a regular road race, unlike the team time trial, riders race in a larger pack with all the riders in their field. One thing we have been working on is where to place yourself when riding in a larger pack and when to make attacks.” Johnson wrote.
After its race at Holderness, Andover learned that cyclists are able to assist one another during the race, according to Hitchcock.
“One thing that we learned from the race was definitely that the three of us balance each other out really well in terms of skill sets and strengths on the bike. That’s something that tends to kind of be up in the air and unknown until you do a team race, so we were really pleased to find that we worked really well together and pretty evenly split the workload. Looking back on the race, we couldn’t have one had we been missing what any one of us was contributing to the team dynamic and performance,” Hitchcock wrote.
Despite its success at Holderness, Andover can still improve on its sprint efforts according to Hitchcock.
“Before our next race, the team can definitely work on sprint efforts. That’s something that as individual riders we can all improve on and that will strengthen our ability to put everything we’ve got into the last little bit of the race. Often times, especially with short races, it really comes down to those last moments. So, moving forward that’s something that we’ll be trying to work on.” Hitchcock wrote.
While only trailing Exeter by 22 points, and with hopes of taking the number one overall rank in the league, Andover will compete in a race hosted by Gould over the weekend.