Cycling Soars Through First Race of Season

Andover Cycling is all smiles after its first race of the season.

Members from Andover Cycling line up for the Boys race.

Andover Cycling raced an Individual Time Trial at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Wednesday. Co-Captain Amelia Vinton ’23 and Daniel Zou ’23 came in third place and fifth place, respectively. 

Out of 12 total riders, seven competed in Girls A heat this week. Despite being one of the most competitive heats, Andover was able to get top placings. Emily Wu ’25 acknowledged the team’s effort. 

Wu said, “Today we put riders on Boys C and B and all the girls in Girls A. I think Andover [Girls A], we [had] seven out of 11 competitors and we took places three, four, five, six, seven, ten and 11, which is honestly pretty good. We have a really strong team in general.”

The team competed at a National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) track with a customized course. Each rider competed five full laps, totalling up to 7.5 miles. Jay Kaufman ’24 credited Zou on his personal best performance. 

“It was a lot of fun. We raced on a NASCAR track and we [went] outside the track. There [were] a couple of hills. And we [did] laps. Today it was a time trial, an individual one. So we’re kind of just racing against the clock. Our Captain Daniel, he’s in Boys B. And he did really great,” said Kaufman.

Yasmine Tazi ’24 noted the risks of cycling and the importance of interpersonal bonds. Due to the team being smaller, there is more of an emphasis on relying on one another. 

“The cycling team has always been a small team. So we’re definitely always close…[always having a] very good atmosphere… Cycling is a dangerous sport. So it’s great to trust your partners. And when you’re right behind them… It comes just with figuring out who you feel most comfortable riding lead [with]. But it’s also great to know that you can trust the person on a personal level,” said Tazi.

Sharing similar sentiments, Wu emphasized mutual growth, as the team prepares for upcoming races. After four weeks of training, the riders continue to solidify the technical aspect of cycling, while learning to collaborate with each other.

Wu said, “We’re still learning how to ride with teammates, how to use certain techniques…how the person in front is always doing more work and how to benefit from riding behind a teammate and all that logistics. It’s such a team based sport and [an] individual sport and there’s a lot to learn about everything. It’s very technical.” 

According to Tazi, the cool weather posed a challenge for the cyclists. Part of cycling requires riders to create wind to assist their ride, eventually becoming more difficult with each lap.

“Weather [was a challenge] because it was so cold. We were freezing. And it was really hard to stay warm. Because we were outside and especially on a bike. It’s three times colder because you create your own wind, because you go fast… It was hard to break with the wind. And I think it was also hard, because it was the first race for a lot of people and the girls were last [so] we had to wait until the end of the day to race, which was a bit tiring,” said Tazi. 

The race served as a learning curve for new riders, like Kaufman. Despite placing 11th, he hopes to elevate his future races through proper nutrition. 

Kaufman said, “The challenge, I’d say it was for a lot of us, it was our first time racing. So like, we weren’t totally sure ‘How hard do I go?’ ‘How do I pace myself?’ And I know personally, I got a little lost… So I think just combating that, I would say today was a learning experience. I would say at least for me to eat a little bit more before the race [and] hydrate a little bit more, so you’re less crampy.”

Andover Cycling will race this upcoming Wednesday for Team Time.