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Saturday, Dec 9, 2023

Middlebury Cycling Team offers a wide range of opportunities for riders of all skill levels.

Members of the team pose for a post-race photo.
Members of the team pose for a post-race photo.

The newly revamped Middlebury Cycling Team offers students an opportunity for bike racing, exploring Vermont and having fun.

The team has been one of Middlebury’s most successful club sports teams since its inception over 20 years ago. The team’s most notable alumni include Lea Davison ’05, who was a two- time Olympian in the mountain bike discipline, and Ted King ’05, who finished third in the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Championships.

Today, the Middlebury Cycling Team is still a force in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC). The team hosted an ECCC race “L’Enfer Du Nord” last April in collaboration with Dartmouth College in Weybridge, Vt. and Hanover, N.H. In the ECCC Championships last spring, the Middlebury team finished seventh out of the 40 teams participating in the competition, led by team President Alex Takoudes ’24.5 and Annika Milliman ’25.5.

Often, members of the club have extensive experience with biking and racing. Group Ride Coordinator Jake Freeman ’25, for instance, biked 3,200 from Georgia to Los Angeles in one summer, and Takoudes has been competing in bike races since high school.

While success and winning is definitely a goal for the Middlebury Cycling Team, inclusivity is even more important for them. Because of this, novice riders can practice and race with the team.

“Even our racing is open to people of all skill levels,” Takoudes said. “You can be a beginner and still race.”

As long as they have a pair of wheels to ride on, students of all skill levels can go to races, which, in addition to being a source of competition, are social hubs for college students across the region. At most races, the 200 or so students competing will set up giant campsites and socialize around bonfires the nights before they compete.

“The weekend social scene is huge,” Takoudes said. “It really is our social scene for the fall since we’re not here for Friday and Saturday on campus.”

While racing is an integral part of the cycling team, the club also offers opportunities for less competitive, more casual riders. The team hosts rides Monday through Friday, including a social ride on Friday where cyclists can ride slower, appreciate each others’ company and take in the scenic views of Vermont. The team also hosts themed rides where all bikers will dress in a particular way; past themed rides have included a Hawaiian shirt ride and a formal attire ride.

“[The formal attire ride] was interesting and got really sweaty,” Freeman said.

Overall, the club wants to create a space where riders can relax and ride for fun.

“It's not meant to be like, you know, a high school track practice where you’re just working out the whole time,” Freeman said. “The idea is to go out there with other people who enjoy biking and have a good time.”