Female cyclists kick off season

Austin Quintero

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Five members of the women’s cycling team took on the first race of the season Saturday at the annual Megan Baab Memorial Road Race in Copperas Cove, Texas. Angela Streadwick finished 15th overall, Madeleine Steele 16th and Ashley Weaver 23rd.

The 54-mile race is the first on the Texas Bicycle Racing Association calendar, distinguished by its hilly terrain and a tricky 8-mile stretch of

Ashley Weaver, junior in exercise physiology, and Nicole Corizer, freshman in nursing, get ready to drive to Mt. Scott to cycle Tuesday. Photo by Lauren Roberts.

Ashley Weaver, junior in exercise physiology, and Nicole Corizer, freshman in nursing, get ready to drive to Mt. Scott to cycle Tuesday. Photo by Lauren Roberts.

gravel road. The field of 277 people including 30 women was a women’s open, pitting less-experienced bikers against some of the top women in the state.

“It was a hilly race with a lot of attacks from the more experienced riders right from the get-go,” Steele said. “After 15 miles or so the pace slowed, but the attacks started again through another hilly section.”

Just after the start of the race Claire Fisher, junior in nursing, was put out early with a flat. However,  Weaver, senior in exercise physiology, and Steele, sophomore in art, did well to keep with the pace for a while but were eventually dropped by the leading group. About 30 miles in, right before a gravel rode portion of the race, there was an attack by professional cyclist Lauren Stephen who shattered the field. Weaver was well in the chase group for close to six miles, but was dropped around the same time as Stephen’s attack.

Fisher and Coetzer were unable to finish the race.

“I felt pretty disappointed about the race considering I got a flat tire and didn’t finish it,” Fisher said. “However, it did feel good to support my fellow lady cyclists that did compete in the race for MSU.”

While Fisher was unable to finish due to a flat tire, this was Coetzer’s first race, entering purely to gain experience. As a former member of the soccer team, Coetzer started training on a bike just a few short weeks before her first race.

“My first race was a blast!” Coetzer said. “I really surprised myself for not training at all and riding with people who have been riding a lot longer. I’m really looking forward to training with the team.”

With their first race behind them, the next event the team will train for nationals to be held in Richmond, Va. To make up for the lack of hills for the team to train on, the cycling team has made use of Mt. Scott, 75 miles away.

“The past two years nationals had a huge mountain to climb, so to get ready for it we had to go to Mt. Scott,” Weaver said, noting that for the past two years the national race had been held in Salt Lake City. “This year we’re not really sure what to expect since it’s a new place, so by going to Mt. Scott we can be ready for whatever nationals throws at us.”

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