UNH Cycling Team Hosts Eastern Collegiate Cycling Championships April 29; Local Community Encouraged to Participate
Richard Whitney’s dream of bringing together the university and greater Durham community over a bike race is well on its way to reality. The community has already set the record for hosting the most riders of all the races this year. So far more than 50 riders who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to participate have a host family.
More than 500 riders representing 50-60 collegiate racing teams from Delaware out to Pennsylvania and up to Canada will ride the approximately one-mile loop -- Academic Way, Arts Way, McDaniel Drive, and Mill Road -- right in the heart of campus on Sunday, April 29, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
In addition, community members have the opportunity to participate, riding in the Pro-1-2-3, Women’s 4, and Master’s 35+ races with cash purses of up to $500. Additionally, the team will be carrying out children’s races at midday preceded by a safety and skills clinic.
Whitney, who owns Mariner Realty and has been a team sponsor for years, likes bicycling but has never raced. He won’t start this year though because he will be busy running the kid’s races at noon. “I’m thrilled to have a criterion back in Durham,” he said. “It’s a way for the greater community and the university to do something together and have fun at the same time. I urge everyone to come downtown and watch these talented young people.”
The kid’s races will begin at noon; registration is 9-11 a.m. in the Great Bay Rotary tent in B lot. There will be three separate races -- ages 4-6 with training wheels; ages 4-6 without training wheels; and ages 7-9 – and each child will be paired with a collegiate racer for a bike check. There is no cost.
Bella Oleksy, a senior environmental sciences major, has been a member of the UNH Cycling Team all four of her years at UNH and currently serves as president. She lives in Dover and rides to campus most days.
“As one of the biggest teams in the conference it’s good for UNH to host and help raise the standard,” Oleksy said. “It’s one of the fastest growing sectors of USA cycling and this day will help raise awareness on campus.
The team participates in eight or nine race weekends every spring and currently ranks second in the eastern conference and fifth overall nationally. Last year the team hosted a road race at Bow Lake and got a very positive response. Planning to host the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Championships this year started almost a year ago. All teams in the conference are co-ed and they don’t race for money but for points, which makes it a very supportive environment. “The team camaraderie is amazing,” she said. “Over the last few years the conference has done a lot to bring in women and as a team we do a lot to nurture new riders,” said Oleksy.
For more information go to www.unhcycling.com or call Oleksy at 978-319-0933. Volunteers are still needed. For questions about the kids’ races call Whitney at 603-767-0123.