Anthony Minickiello ’20: The summer prior to entering [Andover], I started to compete in local triathlons. My biking was my weakest area since I was riding my dad’s old mountain bike. Knowing that [Andover] had a cycling team, I was super excited to start road cycling and to learn about how to improve my bike handling skills and race strategy.
Grace Hitchcock ’20: I initially started cycling because my dad is super passionate about the sport and raced in college, so I had been on a bike basically since the time I could walk. Eventually, I started cycling as a sport, compared to biking for recreation, because I thought it would be good cross-training for my club swimming. And, when I came to Andover, I decided to try racing in cycling. I think that cycling is a really unique sport in that it can really take you places, quite literally. I feel like I’ve gotten to see the nooks and crannies of my neighborhoods at home and the neighborhoods around Andover because of cycling, and I’ve gotten to travel to some cool places to cycle as well. I love that it’s a sport that lets you see different parts of the world.
What is your favorite thing about cycling at Andover?
Minickiello: My favorite thing about cycling has been being a small part of such a fun group of athletes over the past four years. It has definitely made my Andover experience extra special.
Hitchcock: My favorite thing about cycling at Andover is undoubtedly the team. Cycling certainly seems like an individual sport. After all, you’re the only one on your bike when you’re racing, but racing at Andover has taught me that cycling is definitely a team sport and that no cyclist can win without the help of her team. I love that the Andover team is really able to grow as cyclists from one another. We often have a lot of newcomers to the sport, and their improvement throughout the season is contagious, as is their newcomer enthusiasm. All in all, we’re a team that really knows how to push each other into better racers and to help each other when we race, and I think that’s awesome.
What is the best aspect of the team at PA?
Minickiello: [The] best aspect is how much fun we have traveling to and from our meets in the team vehicles. We really get to bond with the coaches and other members of the team during these trips.
Hitchcock: Every year, the cycling team gets quite a few people that are new to the team and new to the sport of cycling. And, as someone who’s been on the team for a few years now, it’s a bit nerve-wracking to have about half the team be new. But, somehow, every year, we finish off the season a really tight-knit crew. I think a lot of that can be attributed to the atmosphere that the coaches and captains create—in addition to being absolute experts in teaching people how to clip into their pedals and how to race, they are super welcoming and make everyone feel like they have a place on the team. On top of that, we always have fun during practice and at races, so it’s easy for the team to come together in that way. But, by the end of the season, it’s a family to me, and that’s definitely the best part of the team.