Participating in a club sport on campus is a more than just a way for former high school athletes stay active. It allows them to do an activity that they know and love, all while getting to know new people on campus.
There are a few obvious club sports on the Heights that the masses flock to. Club basketball, baseball, lacrosse, and tennis draw massive crowds at tryouts and ultimately end in a lot of people upset from getting cut. However, once one ventures outside of those “standard” club sports, it is easy to discover some of the more unique and niche sports that BC has to offer.
In sitting down with freshman DJ Recny, MCAS ‘19, one of the newest members of the Boston College Club Cycling team, it is easy to see the enthusiasm and passion within the tight knit group of cyclists on campus.
The BC Cycling team was founded 10 years ago as a co-ed club sport catering to both the fall and spring seasons. Mountain biking enthusiasts can participate in the fall and road biking enthusiasts in the spring.
The club currently has 20 members “Ranging from casual weekend cyclists to hardos like me that spin three times a week and ride 30-50 miles on the weekend,” as Recny puts it. With the opportunity for members to give little or heavy commitment, its lower popularity, and no-cut process, all are welcomed, regardless of ability.
Though it is inclusive, the sport is not a cheap habit. Luckily, the team has developed an alliance with Cannondale Bicycles, providing an unofficial sponsorship with prorated bikes and equipment. Nonetheless, it can be costly. Some specialized bikes may cost over $10,000.
“Since it’s largely an individual sport, the amount of commitment is completely up to the rider, the races range from A to E, A being the most difficult, and there are riders of all abilities," said Recny. "We have some members who don’t compete at all. Ultimately it’s a matter of the rider being able to appropriately gauge their skill and comfort level.”
Recny calls himself a die hard road cyclist, so the spring season is his primary focus, training on spin bikes three to four times each week for 45 minutes a ride, sometimes clocking over 25 miles per session.
In the spring, the team typically has access to five to six competitions with a ride range of: four-person team time trials, individual Tour de France style races, and criterium races, where city blocks are blocked off for approximately a mile and individuals race for a certain period of time. These races are particularly difficult because of the limited space, frequency of crashes, and fast pace.
The team faces local schools such as Harvard and M.I.T and travels upwards of 200 miles for competitions. Though it is technically a club team and largely self-funded by the cyclists, Recny asserted that “The team is more in between a club and D1 sport.” Due in part to the fact that there is really not an NCAA cycling presence, clubs must make up for the void. The team’s travel and miscellaneous expenses are subsidized by the university with the athletes only covering about $100 in dues for the season.
“Though we don’t get the fancy backpacks or shoes, there are definite perks to being a member of the team,” said Recny.
Despite the exhaustive training and the freezing cold Saturday morning rides, Recny believes the benefits outweigh the struggle, “I have really learned a lot about the dynamic of collegiate cycling from the upperclassmen, aside from just being a part of an organization with a great group of guys.”
If you see a guy walking around campus with clean shaven legs (to make cleanup easier after a nasty crash), chances are he is a member of the cycling team, and that he is likely eager to talk about his time on and off the bike. It is definitely a quirky sport, but undoubtedly a great group of tight knit cyclists that work hard and have a lot fun together.
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