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An Introduction
8th Oct 2013Posted in: Blog, Featured Posts 0
An Introduction

Training with the bike team of Beta Theta Pi has drastically changed my concept of being an athlete with a purpose. While I have been a competitor all my life—a soccer player, a cross country runner, a swimmer—I have never experienced the environment that we four riders have established on this team.

The current members of the squad are Chris Craig (‘15), Kyle Knight (‘16), AJ Sood (‘16), and myself, Joe Laughlin (‘17). After graduating each competing member of the bike team last year, we all recognize the responsibility we hold to fill the shoes of these riders. We do not see our inexperience as a disadvantage; rather, we use it as motivation to treat every ride as an opportunity to get faster, every weight room session as an invitation to get stronger, and every race as a ticket to prove how serious we are about representing this house well.

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Keeping the selfie tradition alive

As we reach a midpoint in the first semester, we are well underway with our training. Our goal at this point is merely to maximize our training: we hold each other accountable for riding six days per week and lifting three days per week. As our coach Eric Anderson (’13) advises, we aim to “live the lifestyle,” and incorporate our training into a seamless, integral component of our daily schedules. While Craig navigates the internship hunt, Knight respects his obligations to Air Force ROTC, Sood grinds through his premed studies, and I balance my pledgeship responsibilities, we all make it a top priority to improve on the bike each day.

The most significant point of our fall training thus far occurred last weekend, prior to which we committed to completing the Nashville 90. We all awoke at 8 am to pouring rain and sub-60 degree temperatures. To make matters worse, Sood was suffering from a bad cold, and we still had yet to solidify the route we would be taking. After mulling things over on a trip to Bloomington Bagels, we regretfully decided to sleep a few more hours and head out on a 60 mile ride when the rain dried up.

And then it all changed.

While the rain continued to pour after we woke up, we realized that we reached a defining moment in our fall career. Were we to neglect our commitment to this ride, we would continue to make excuses throughout the entire year. At this moment, we decided to prove to ourselves—and to the house—that we were committed to this bike team. After piling on base layers, stuffing our pockets with Power Bars, and tweaking our bikes, we set out in the cold rain for a 90 mile ride.

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A long day in the saddle

This ride was a new experience for most of us—Knight and I never had ridden this far, and neither of us had been able to do so with a team. We rode in a paceline at a challenging pace for the vast majority of the ride. We each traded pulls according to our abilities, which fluctuated throughout the ride. When Craig felt strong, he pushed us ahead for upwards of six minutes; when he needed rest, however, another rider stepped up to keep the team forging ahead. At the completion of a cold, wet, and grueling ride, we realized that we had exceeded our expectations as we finished in just over 4 hours and 45 minutes in the saddle.

This ride taught us a lot about each athlete functioned as a part of our team, and I feel fortunate to be a part of it. These guys pushed me along the ride, just as they allowed me to push them. While I am still just beginning to pledge my commitment to this house, I will also continue to pledge my commitment to the bike team; both experiences have been—and will be—profoundly rewarding.

We’re going to continue putting in the time, both on and off the bike, to make sure we are race-ready when the green flag drops on April 26th. Follow along on this site, our Facebook page, and on Twitter as we do everything we can to carry on the legacy of Beta Theta Pi Cycling.

-Joe Laughlin

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