DePaul Cycling gears up for competitive season
In five short weeks, many of us will pack our suitcases and head home to enjoy the long, and probably well-deserved, winter break.
But the DePaul Cycling club has different plans - preparing for their upcoming season, which starts in January, by getting more people interested in the team and competitive racing.
"I usually spend all of Christmas break trying to get on my trainer at least for our five times a week," said Mark Lazio, graduate student and team member for five of the team's seven years since starting at DePaul. "We don't ride really hard and get intense workouts, but we get the muscles going and used to riding for long periods of time and then move from there."
While the previous season featured outstanding individual achievements, the team's main focus this year is to expand and strengthen the team.
"People don't realize that cycling is very much a team sport," said Ian Kresnak, a sophomore and team risk manager. "You need people out on the road with you to be competitive. Yeah, we have individual wins, but it starts with getting some teammates."
The team is looking to expand last season's nine riders into at least 15 to make them more competitive against riders from Michigan State, Purdue, Notre Dame and other competing colleges and universities within the Midwest Cycling Conference.
"We have never been in a position to win regionals because the schools we compete against provide scholarships to their riders," said Lazio. "We want to be able to compete, train hard enough where we can win individual races and some group races."
DePaul Cycling recently created its own Facebook page in order to recruit interested riders and will also hold an informational meeting Oct. 16 at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center. They are looking for both male and female riders and experience on a bike is not necessary. As a freshman, Kresnak completed outstanding individual races and landed on the podium for three races as well as winning his event time trial at Michigan State last year - and he had never raced competitively before joining the team.
Kresnak said that while he has high expectations for his individual events, "the big thing is to get more interest in the club, in racing and racing competitively."
According to Kirk Fields, team president, last season was more of a "building year," as much of the team was made up of freshmen and sophomores. Fields said this season's team is more experienced and excited for the prospect of a bigger, more competitive contingent.
"We are a competitive team, but we also like to help out people and we are all here for fun," said Fields. "It's about being a team and we all get really close to teach other. The more people, the better."
Although they will train individually during the winter break, the team will spend a lot of time together once the season starts. They train four times a week at their training facility, Train Chicago Studios, and will travel to different races across the Midwest every weekend until the middle of April.
Train Chicago Studios is a large sponsor for the team this season. The team is also still negotiating with other sponsors, such as iGo, which paid for all of the team's transportation costs last season.
Fields said the team will schedule a few group rides to be more familiar with new riders and attract more interest before the season starts.
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