Cycling team hosts home race, finishes fifth out of 42 schools

by Ashley DuPuis | 4/14/16 5:30pm

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SEAMORE ZHU/THE DARTMOUTH SENIOR STAFF

The Dartmouth cycling team once again took part in the L’Enfer du Nord race this weekend, co-hosted this year by the University of Vermont. The team raced in Hanover on Saturday and left its home course to compete in Charlotte, Vermont on Sunday, wrapping up the weekends’ events with a strong finish, claiming third place in L’Enfer du Nord omnium, and fifth place out of 42 schools in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference. After the weekend’s performances, the team rose from second to first place in the Ivy League. On Saturday, the races at Dartmouth consisted of two courses — the Frat Row Criterium and the Bridge to Ridge individual time trials. For the individual time trials in the Men’s A category, David Berg ’16, president of the cycling team, led the Big Green with a 10th place finish. He was closely followed by teammate Ethan Call ’18 who finished 15th.

In the Criterium, a closed course, short circuit race, Dartmouth saw two cyclists finish in the top 10, with Call finishing fourth and Berg finishing eighth. On the Women’s A side, graduate student Leslie Lupien, finished sixth in the individual time trials before claiming a fifth place finish in the Criterium. She also went on to earn second and third place honors in the Criterium sprints.

In the Men’s B category, Edgar Costa, an instructor in the mathematics department, finished eighth in the Criterium and fourth in a Criterium sprint. On both the men’s and women’s sides for categories C through E, the Big Green also found success, with numerous top 10 finishes, as well as a first place finish by Wei-Ting Chen Tu’16 in the Criterium and individual time trial of the Men’s E category.

L’Enfer du Nord, French for “the Hell of the North,” sees schools from across the East Coast come compete for cycling glory. The race is in reference to one of the oldest professional road cycling races, the Paris-Roubaix, an annual one-day professional race that takes place in Northern France. The race was deemed “Hell of the North” after World War I, when organizers surveyed the route after four years of trench warfare and bombardment. The famous race coincides with Dartmouth’s own version of the race, which the Big Green has been hosting for over 10 years.

To put on the race, the team worked with the town of Hanover, the College and the Hanover Police Department. Berg also cited the help of the community volunteers as a key part of the weekend’s operations. The Dartmouth community at large showed their support, with many coming to watch the famous Frat Row “Crit” take place on Webster Avenue.

“I was really impressed by the fan turnout, as well as the number of racers who participated,” Berg said of the days’ races.

On Sunday, in the team time trials, top finishers for Dartmouth included the Men’s A which took home fourth, the Women’s A with second, the Women’s C with first, and the Men’s D with first. Members agree that the weekend’s victories were a team effort, complemented by the unity of its members and support from fans and alumni.

“I really like the community of the team,” Sophie Connor ’18 said. “We’re all really encouraging of each other, and this weekend especially with everyone who came out to support us we were all really high energy.”

Over 20 cyclists represented Dartmouth at the weekend’s events, with racers competing in almost every category. The team’s success is not new to the team who has had a considerably good run, winning Ivy League titles the last three years, as well as taking home the coveted Eastern Conference Championship in 2014. The team has even had its share of professional cyclists. Recent alumna Michelle Khare ’14 started with the team as a new cyclist and in less than two years became a U23 national champion.

“I’m really excited for this team. I think that we’re in a really strong position financially and in regards to general student excitement,” Berg said. “We have a strong membership that I see continuing for the foreseeable future, and I think our emphasis on development as a team has really shaped that culture.”

Both new and experienced cyclists, as well as undergraduate and graduate students race as a part of the team. Some members are varsity athletes in an off-season or seniors finished with their primary sports. As a club team, students run every aspect of team, including schedule organization and fundraising. They also rely heavily on alumni support and sponsorships with community partners.

“[Being apart of the team], has been one of the defining aspects of my Dartmouth experience,” John Lewis ’16 said. “When I look back, it will be some of my best Dartmouth memories because of the people and off-campus experiences. I’m doing something I love with people I love.”

Looking ahead, the team has two more weeks remaining in its spring season. Next weekend the team will travel to the United States Military Academy at West Point for the Army Cycling Classic before competing in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Championship, which marks one of the most important weekends for the team.