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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Experience pays off

For many UA Cycling Club members, racing is something they’ve done for much of their lives.

But for Jack Andrews, racing is something entirely new.

On Jan. 30, the UA Cycling Club had its first races of the cycling season at the fourth annual UA Criterium. Andrews, a sophomore engineering major, a first-year member of the club, competed in the Men’s Category 5 and the Collegiate Male C race.

“”It was my first race ever, period,”” said Andrews, who finished 17th out of 50 in the Men’s Category 5. “”I was jittery.””

Unlike many of his teammates, Andrews only rode his bike for fun prior to college.

“”(It was) my first time to ride, train and think about what I was doing,”” Andrews said.

But what makes someone join a university cycling club?

“”I have a lot of school pride,”” Andrews said. “”I wanted to start racing, and what better way to start than with your college team?””

Andrews doesn’t take the responsibility of representing his school lightly.

Preparation

Competitive racing takes work. For his first two races, Andrews clocked more than 3,000 miles on his bike. When he wasn’t riding it, he was prepping it.

“”I cleaned it nonstop,”” Andrews said. “”I was testing different things to make sure everything was working properly.”” 

However, Andrews’ preparation went far beyond the bike.

“”I was in bed around 10:15 p.m. (the Friday before the race),”” he said. “”(I was up) at 6:30 a.m. to get ready early.””

For breakfast he ate oatmeal and juice — racers know they need carbohydrates, even the first timers.

By 8 a.m. Andrews was at the Criterium, warmed-up.

The start

At 10:20 a.m. Andrews crossed the start line at the head of the field, not wanting to waste energy trying to catch up to the lead racers. After the first lap Andrews was in eighth place, and for the next nine laps he would not fall below 10th.

At the start of the 11th lap, Andrews was in fourth place when a bell rung, the signaling of a prime lap. As Andrews rounded the sixth and final turn of the prime lap he had the lead, when a member of the field fell from his bike right behind him. Andrews looked back unfazed. As the lap came to a close, Andrews kept the lead and began the next lap with a prime under his belt.

“”I heard (the crash) right behind me,”” Andrews said. “”I was worried it was going to take me out. I thought, ‘Don’t hit me.’

“”I just felt really good,”” Andrews added. “”After the first turn on Cherry (Street) I sprinted and got a lead. I went for it, and I got it. It’s just cool to say I won a prime lap.””

The race continued and Andrews maintained position with the lead group, going as high as fourth place but not falling below 17th.

Andrews’ consistency drew praise from teammates.

“”It shows that he’s committed and he’s put in the training,”” said Shane Durkin, who finished fourth in the Men’s Category 5. “”He (wanted) it.””

Coming to a finish

In the second-to-last lap, Andrews was in fourth place behind Durkin who was setting him up for a sprint finish.

“”I felt he was strong in the race and could possibly compete for the win,”” Durkin said. “”I talked to him and said ‘if you feel up to it stay behind me. I’ll try and set you up for the win.'””

Andrews willingly took the opportunity but could not take advantage of it.

“”He was going to give me a lead out on the sprint if I could hold on, but I was spent on the last lap. He was being a really good teammate,”” Andrews said.

As the Men’s Category 5 race came to a close Andrews did not come out with a win.

“”The last lap people started flying,”” Andrews said. “”The pace really picked up. We were going around 22 mph the whole way, and the last lap we picked up to 25 plus.””

Andrews described his first race experience as “”addicting.””

“”He’s got a lot of years ahead of him,”” Durkin said. “”He can have a great impact on the club and the people around him.””

With his first race completed, Andrews refueled.

“”One more race,”” Andrews said. “”Then I’m going to sleep and study.””

But before Andrews could hit the pillow, he had to cross the finish line for only the second time in his life.

Experience pays off

At 2:05 p.m. the Collegiate Male C race began, and when Andrews crossed the finish line, he crossed it first.

“”I was surprised,”” Andrews said. “”I didn’t know that when I crossed the finish line I was in first. I just tried to ride as fast as I could. When I saw the results I couldn’t believe it. Not expecting it and then finding out that I won, it was exciting.””

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