By PORTER BOWMAN
March 7, 2019
For the first time in recent history, the Middlebury College Cycling Team is set to host the Weybridge Road Race next month as part of the six-week Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) season. The race will take place on April 7, and is a major milestone for the student cycling community on campus, especially for the Class of 2019.
According to club president Katie Aman ’19, who has taken the lead to organize the event, this race has been a long time coming.
“I don’t even know the last time Middlebury hosted a road race; an alum told me about a race in the 80s, but I know it hasn’t been for a long, long time,” she said.
Aman has been working on bringing a race to Middlebury for many years, and the opportunity came to fruition after the club’s proposal was accepted by the ECCC last October. In her last year at Middlebury, Aman wanted to bring ECCC competitors to Middlebury to show off the cycling community of Vermont.
“We love Vermont; the riding is spectacular and the people are even better,” said Aman. “The roads are fairly untraveled, and all of these factors make it a great spot for a race.”
The cycling club is a close-knit group of dedicated cyclists who have fallen in love with the Vermont’s cycling environment. Aman said she is proud that the club “has almost equal gender representation — for both racing and training — which is quite uncommon in cycling.”
Student cyclists like Beckett Nasvik-Dykhouse ’21.5 feels that being on a road bike is the best way to explore the state: “You can cover a fair amount of distance in a different way than a car,” he said. “You feel way more grounded and you pay attention more to what’s around you.”
Aman, who is from Hanover herself, views Vermont as a haven for cyclists and a place where many New Englanders love to visit for long weekend rides. Aman, Nasvik-Dykhouse and other student cyclists often train on the six gap roads in the area, including Middlebury Gap, a climb with 2000 feet of vertical elevation change. According to Aman, “there’s an iconic four gap ride called LAMB (Lincoln, Appalachian, Middlebury, and Brandon Gap) that is 10,000+ vertical feet of elevation. People from all over the country come to do that four gap ride.”
In April, these cyclists look forward to sharing the sport with Middlebury students. Nasvik-Dykhouse is excited about the event in part because of the exposure it will provide for the organization and sport, and hopes “students come out and support their fellow student cyclists.”
In advance of the race, Ben Glass ’20.5 noted that “a lot of the team is working to chip away at the small tasks getting the race set up and organized, but we’re all so excited that the road race is in our backyard.”
Glass added that the team is looking forward to having another month to “recon the course and train harder especially in these base mile training days.” The club cannot wait to bring the ECCC, a conference with 70 schools across the northeast from Delaware all the way to McGill in Canada, to the carefully planned race course.
Aman’s excitement is palpable: “I’ve had really positive interactions with all five towns where our race goes through, and I think everyone sees this event as a great way to bring people to our state. We want more people to know about Vermont and see it as a destination for cycling. We’re so thrilled to be putting this race on in just over a month.”