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Cycling geared up for race

Sept. 11, 2003

By Kalin Cogar, reporter

Though not highly recognized throughout Baylor, the coed Baylor Bear Cycling Club of about 25-30 members has started to make a name for themselves in the cycling world.

For the first time in five years the cycling club will hold a collegiate road race for the South Central Collegiate Cycling Conference. The conference includes schools from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

'All of the best, elite racers will be there,' Kyle Brown, a Los Angeles graduate student, said.

Baylor Bears Bike Bash will be the morning of Sept. 28 and will start at 11351 S Third St. The race consists of an 18.4-mile loop and is divided into five divisions.

'There definitely will be some hard core racing going on,' Brown said.

Baylor Bear Cycling Club is composed of men and women who are undergraduate and graduate students. They have worked hard to get the organization at the level it's achieved today, Patrick McSpadden, a Houston senior and president of the club, said.

'We've accomplished more already in the past two to three weeks than we have ever done in past years,' he said.

Starting in 1976, the cycling club has grown in size and talent. In just one semester the team has grown from eight members to almost 30 members.

Competing with two nationally sponsored racers, the team has high expectations for this year's season.

When the team is not competing, they are practicing. Each member logs anywhere from 30 to 100 miles a day and 200 to 300 miles a week. Two to three times a week the more advanced riders take time to mentor and teach the less experienced riders.

'We ride at a slower pace for them so we can coach them and tell them what we do as we go,' Zach VanReehn, a Houston junior, said.

Many elements are involved in cycling that go beyond the simple action of pedaling a bike. Members lift weights and practice strategies such as where to ride behind a person and when to start sprinting during races.

'It's really more complex than people realize,' said Burlingame, Calif. freshman, David Grubbs, who is seated fourth in the nation.

Funding for the team is hard to come by. Team members participate in many different types of fund raising activities. Alumni letters are sent out asking for donations, letters also are sent out to various international companies as well.

The club will be holding a 24-hour ride beginning at noon Thursday. A tent will be set up across from Fountain Mall where students and faculty can show their support my making donations and buying Baylor Bears Cycling Club T-shirts for $12. A goal has been set for $500.

Baylor's cycling club encourages anyone with the slightest interest in cycling to consider becoming a member.

More information about the club can be seen by visiting baylorcycling.com, or by going to a club meeting at 9 p.m. Tuesdays in the McLane Student Life Center in the television area.