Below, we present Dartmouth Cycling's Current Student FAQ, compiled lovingly by Rudy Awerbuch '07 and Isaiah Berg '11.
Q: I am an avid cyclist. Am I good enough to be on the team?
Yes! We take all levels of riders. Collegiate racing offers categories for all experience and ability levels. I didn't even own a road bike the first time I tried road racing; I borrowed a bike (via a VERY kind stranger on the team list-serv) and went with the team to a race weekend. Anyone can do it! Come for a ride with us. Friday Café Team rides are accessible for all at an easy pace (road bikes strongly encouraged), and run regularly during the warmer months.
Q: Do I need a bike to join? If I don't have one, where should I get one?
Every Dartmouth rider should have an appropriate bicycle. Though borrowing is always a possibility to "test out" cycling, bike ownership is key to advancing skills and being a part of the team. If you don't have a bicycle, the best option is to join our sponsored riders list and proceed to our sponsor shop, The Bike Hub in Norwich, VT, for access to team discounts on world-class Giant bicycles. Another option is to wait for an opportunity to present itself on our Team List-serv; used bikes often go on the listserv for sale, and The Bike Hub even hosts occasional bike swaps for those interested!
Q: I’m ready! How do I sign up for the team?
There is no official sign-up to ride with the Dartmouth Cycling Team. Join our list-serv to receive team communications and get information on daily rides. If you'd like to join the team, you'll want to look into joining our "sponsored riders list." Sponsored riders commit to racing with the team and also volunteering at our hosted race, and in becoming more involved get access to team uniforms, sponsor discounts on the best cycling equipment in the world, and a host of other perks. Check us out at any sports or activities fair!
Q: How do I get in touch with the Dartmouth Cycling community? What is this List-serv?
If you’d like to get in touch with the entire community, use the Cycling List-Serv. To subscribe, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the message contents:
SUB CYCLING 'Your Name'
Also, like us on Facebook to be kept up to date on rides and team events!
Q: Are there team practices? How should I train?
The team has no "practices" in the typical sense of the word. Most members of the team abide by individual training programs, but join up to go out on training rides organized through the list-serv. The team also offers weekly rides such as our Dogford Wednesday TT and fall cyclocross series at Storr's Pond and Friday Café Ride; these are less ad hoc than the rides that go out daily on the list-serv, and are a great addition to any training diet. If you are interested in learning how you can train more effectively, talk to anyone on the team who has been racing for a couple of years. Any of us will be happy to point you in the right direction; furthermore, sponsored riders get access to training plans from Bell Lap Coaching.
Q: What is racing like? How often does it happen? How do I sign up?
The best part about riding your bike is racing it! Road races happen every weekend mid-March through May. For the complete calendar, go to the ECCC website. Traditionally, the team will blitz out the week before a race asking people to sign up for that weekend. This enables the team to provide transportation and lodging for everyone who wants to go. The ECCC (Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference) also offers collegiate mountain bike and cyclocross races. While there is less organization for these types of races, there are certainly a number of Dartmouth kids who will be there. Blitz out or ask around!
Q: Where do you store your equipment?
Most people keep their bike in their dorm room. This is your best option, although some dorms do have hooks in the basement or you can lock your bike to a pipe. If you’d like, the housing office will set up a bike rack for you in your room for free. Contact them when you get to campus.
Q: What will the team pay for? How do I get team discounts?
As a club sport, the cycling team is entitled to some funds, but not limitless ones. We have a great group of sponsors and alumni supporters who allow us to provide free transportation and lodging to all of the road races in the spring. Riders are responsible for paying entry fees and food costs while on the road. The team does have a number of sponsorship deals and discounts. To be eligible, you must commit to at least three races during the spring.
Q: Does the club have rollers, bike tools, stands, travel boxes etc. or should I bring all of my gear with me to campus?
You should bring your own rollers/trainers and tools. However, with some team supplies and a large amount of riders, all it takes is an email to the list-serv and you can get what you need. Or, it might be easier to just take your repairs to the Bike Hub in Norwich where professional bike mechanics will take care of you at our sponsor shop!
WINTER TRAINING INFORMATION
The truth is, Dartmouth is a wintery place. Here are some tips from Rudy Awerbuch '07 on how to stay warm (and fast!) during those snowy months.
Q: I come from an area where it never is snowy. Do you ride outside all winter or use other methods of training?
Training in the winter in Hanover is an adventure. I generally do all my harder/longer rides outside almost all winter, but if it is snowing or it is too cold, I'll have to ride the trainer. Some people ride the trainer a lot more than I do. Others ride and train less in general in the winter, or take up cross country skiing or running. The bottom line is that training in the winter is tricky, but certainly possible.
Q: What do you normally wear to ride in the winter?
Everyone is different and no two people wear the same thing on a chilly day. Here is a list of what I recommends for winter riding:
Keeping your hands and feet warm is the hardest part, they are definitely the limiting factor, so you want WARM gloves and booties.
Q: As far as rollers versus trainers for the winter, what would you recommend? And if I didn't want to spend the money on a trainer/roller, would the stationary bikes in Alumni Gym be sufficient for winter training?
I would steer clear of the stationary bikes, but they are better than nothing. A good trainer is around $250. We might be able to find you a deal. A crappy trainer is about $100. I'd recommend a trainer if you are going to ride it a lot. Rollers are tiring, since you have to be paying attention the whole time -- I don't think I’ve ridden the rollers more than an hour and a half. On the other hand, I have done three hours or more on the trainer, although I don’t recommend it... but rollers are great for your technique. I have both, but I had the trainer long before I got the rollers.