Assistant Head of School and Athletic Director Nate Snow talks about WMS’s Cycling Team’s exciting season so far!
On a warm spring Saturday, Tyler Randazzo ‘15 and Elliot Murphy ‘14 came panting into the School’s main lobby dressed in colorful spandex and in search of hydration. They spent their free Saturday afternoon on a 35 mile bike ride around the North Country, including a climb up the very aptly named Three Mile Hill and a pit stop for Gatorade and Nutty Bars. They are both second year members of the popular WMS Cycling Team and have committed themselves fully to this exciting and challenging sport.
Cyclists from all over New England come to the White Mountains region in the spring, summer and fall to ride the rolling hills and mountain passes that surround the WMS campus. Rides in our local area are regularly featured in cycling and outdoor magazines and the quality and variety of terrain right outside our door is truly exceptional. Equally amazing is the diversity of students who make up the WMS Cycling Team.
Of the 12 students (5 boys, 7 girls) riding this spring, there is representation from 3 different countries and 4 U.S. states. Their cycling experience is equally varied and includes students with previous racing experience and those with a very limited biking background. When asked about why they choose to ride, their responses varied, although there were some themes that stayed the same throughout. Tyler talked about the challenge, saying “I’d say the biggest challenge for me thus far has been learning when to push myself and when to pace myself. It is a skill that applies to general life, and I think cycling has taught me a lot about myself, and gives me a lot of time to think.” Elliot mentioned the amazing New Hampshire scenery and the energy he releases pedaling up those hills at the end of a long day in class. Both boys spoke of cycling as a lifelong pursuit, an activity where they can continue to challenge themselves long after they bid WMS goodbye.
The WMS Cycling Team competes in the New England Prep School Cycling League, which includes schools from 4 New England states. These races are separated by category so all riders compete in a class that aligns with their skill and experience. While the WMS team and coaches Paula Erskine and Matthew Toms focus on fitness and skill development and not solely on competition, these events provide a good focal point for students to challenge and push themselves each week. Ninth grader Johanna Pastoriza ‘16 placed 2nd in the Girls’ C Class race in the first event of the season. A number of other team members had strong finishes within their class at the Holderness race and everyone will certainly continue to improve in the team’s upcoming events.
For the second year in a row, WMS is excited to be hosting a road race event. Up to a dozen schools will be joining us May 8 for a race that includes multiple 5-mile laps around campus, descending into Franconia and then finishing with a climb up the aforementioned Three Mile Hill where the race ends in the Cannon Mountain parking lot. We love being able to share some of our great riding (and our huge hills!) with athletes from all over New England. I know at the very least that Elliot, Tyler and the rest of the WMS Cycling Team will be ready for that final climb!