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The Dartmouth
May 26, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

‘Pushing the limits’: Spotlight on Dartmouth’s club triathlon and cycling teams

Members of the triathlon and cycling teams reflect on their training processes and recent competitions.

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Ten members of the Dartmouth triathlon team competed at the 2024 USA Triathlon Collegiate Club national championship in Mission Viejo, California on April 13 and 14. According to the Dartmouth physical education and recreation website, the race marked the team’s first time at the national championship in its 10-year history.

Ben Hinchliffe ’27 won the men’s Olympic distance overall title at the championship, finishing 32.0 miles in 1:54:12. He attributed his success to the team’s support.

“Even if I trained [partially] on my own, the team got me to nationals … logistically and then giving me the opportunity and support to go,” Hinchliffe said. 

Hinchliffe said he took a gap year over the 2022-2023 school year before matriculating at the College, during which he “focused mostly on triathlon.” He said he ultimately gained half of the qualification criteria for a professional license — which allows cyclists to race in the professional field — during his gap year.

Hinchliffe said Dartmouth’s location in the Upper Valley is ideal for training because he likes to run and bike on hilly terrain and can practice open water swimming during warm weather.

In addition to appreciating Dartmouth’s location, Hinchliffe said he is grateful to be a member of Dartmouth’s triathlon club team. He said he values the team’s training schedule flexibility, which allows him to train both individually and with the group. 

“It’s kind of balancing what the team does with my schedule and [my own] needs,” Hinchliffe said. “I will always swim with the team, and I’ll go to spins and also my own sessions … I definitely love training with the team, but I don’t do it all the time.”

Dartmouth cycling team executive Bond Almand ’26 is an endurance cyclist who plans to cycle the entire Pan-American Highway — from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in the United States to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego in Argentina — in a world record attempt during his off term in fall 2024. 

Almand said he designed an intense training regimen that requires him to spend “50 to 80 hours a week” on the bike. 

In a document he submitted to the Dartmouth Outing Club for funding, Almand wrote that the journey “will quite literally push [him] to [his] mental and physical limits, and likely beyond.”

The Chris Vale ’18 Adventure Fund is awarded in the fall and provides financial assistance for one student’s “major expedition-style trip per year,” according to the Dartmouth Outing Club website. Almand will use the funding, which comes from the DOC, to help cover the costs of bike maintenance, food and plane tickets.

While Almand will receive financial assistance for his trip, he said the Pan-American attempt itself will be completely “unsupported” — meaning he will carry his own gear and “receive no outside assistance” during the trip. 

In addition to a solo trip, Almand said “about 95% of [his] training is solo,” explaining that his regimen “looks a lot different” than most of his teammates'.

“People ask me, ‘What do you think about on the bike,’ and I definitely do get bored at times,” Almand said. “But when you’re biking, you’re going through beautiful places, [and] you’re seeing new things. There’s always something to think about.”

Almand said he is excited that the cycling team encourages students to be active outdoors. 

“Dartmouth is one of the oldest cycling clubs in the United States,” Almand said. “We have a great community where there are a lot of top-end racers, like semi-professionals, and the cycling team also does a good job of getting beginners on bikes, so it’s a really inclusive space.” 

Another organized space for cycling is the Dartmouth triathlon team, which was founded in 2013 by Sara Heard ’15, Kendall Farnham ’14 and Nina Mascia ’15 Med’21.

Molly Fried ’25 said she “fell in love with” triathlon during her freshman year at Dartmouth, despite not having any experience with the sport.

Although training for triathlons is difficult, working with a team makes it a much more enjoyable experience for some athletes, she said.

“For me, I love training with the team because it encourages me to actually go,” Fried said. 

The Dartmouth triathlon team and Dartmouth cycling team both utilize the College’s spin machines to train, according to Fried. She added that the triathlon team offers spin, strength and yoga classes, requiring that active members attend at least 20 practices per term.

“Most end up going to more anyway,” she added.

According to Fried, the triathlon team provides a space for students of various skill levels, from complete beginners to injured athletes who want to stay in shape to “people like Ben [Hinchliffe] who just won nationals — the best collegiate triathlete on a club team in America.”

Beyond training itself, becoming a Triathlon team member provides an opportunity to meet new people and exercise in a “fun” way, Fried said.

“We do ‘fun runs’ or ‘fun rides’ where we’ll bike together to go get ice cream, so we’re incorporating aspects of triathlon into our social lives,” Fried said. “My personal favorite was … ‘spin rave,’ where on a Friday night at 6 or 7 p.m. when it’s dark out, we’ll do a spin class and listen to EDM and have all the flashing lights on.”

While Hinchliffe said there are many opportunities for students to get involved with cycling culture on campus, he said he would like to see different Dartmouth cycling groups interact with each other more. 

“For a while in fall term we did a joint ride on Friday, but I don’t know what happened to that,” Hinchliffe said. “Maybe it’ll restart now that we’re out of winter. We [Dartmouth cycling and triathlon] don’t do very much [together]. … I personally would like to see some more mixing.”

According to Almand, campus cyclists are looking forward to warmer weather and more people getting outside on bikes.

“Especially when the weather gets warmer, it’s just fun to be outside,” Almand said. “[There are] a lot of really good roads around here. It’s just a great place to ride.”