By Luke Araujo | Staff Writer
Baylor University’s cycling team will be competing in three Baylor Bear Classic cycling races on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27. The team will be competing against teams from University of Texas Arlington, Midwestern State University, Texas A&M University, University of North Texas and University of Texas San Antonio.
On Saturday, Baylor cyclists will attend two races at McLane Stadium: a criterium race and a time trial. The next day, cyclists will compete in an extended road race in Speegleville, near Lake Waco.
The event is being helped and funded by the Greater Waco Sports Commission, an independent nonprofit organization that works to help with local sports events.
Andrew Telep, adviser for the team, said its members are rigorously training to prepare for the competition.
“The practice never stops,” Telep said. “These guys are practicing really hard, and I know of multiple scheduled road and mountain rides every week. The team has been great about opening that up to the community as well. They also plug into rides that the Waco Bike Club, Bear Mountain and Bicycle World sponsor. There has been a lot of riding.”
Flower Mound senior William Moss, president of Baylor Cycling, said the club practices as a team through group rides every Tuesday.
“Most of the preparation is going to be on their own,” Moss said. “That looks different across every person.”
China Spring junior Nathan Vanderpool, vice president of Baylor Cycling, said the event will also have volunteering opportunities for those interested in helping coordinate the race.
Vanderpool said this is Baylor’s first time hosting a cycling event in the recent past, and there are plans to make it an annual event.
Baylor Cycling opened registration to the public via USA Cycling memberships — an organization that sanctions cycling competitions across the United States.
“There’s an option to include some number of outside racers,” Telep said. “We’d love to have the Waco community involved and Cycling Club alum that may live near enough to come back and participate. That would be a great way to include our current team with the past team and plug into the great riding community we have in Waco.”
The team splits its cycling types into seasons. Summer is track cycling season, fall is mountain bike season, winter is cyclo-cross season and spring is road bike season. The February race will consist of road bikers.
“The team did really well in mountain,” Telep said. “This is the first time we’ve participated with enough riders to be competitive on a team basis.”
The team has 25 members in total, with six cyclists being expected to compete in the February race, Moss said.
Regarding the team’s performance, Moss said because most of the team is new to the sport, he views the race as a learning experience.
“Because we’re restarting the club now, we haven’t really gotten to that point of focusing on the competition side of it,” Moss said. “It’s more about just getting out on our bikes and riding.”
In line with this notion, Moss said he hopes attendees come with the same lighthearted mindset.
“We want everybody to come out and make it a fun atmosphere,” Moss said. “There’s going to be music and a lot of great things on Saturday and Sunday night. Everybody is welcome to come.”