Racing around Webster Avenue sounds like a typical weekend night for many Dartmouth students, but this Saturday the racing will be done on bicycles and the participants will not be the average weekend partygoer. The cycling club’s L’Enfer du Nord cycling race will hit Webster Avenue Saturday, shutting down the street for the duration of the race.
The event will consist of three different events: a road race in Norwich, a team time-trial in Plainfield, and, highlighting the weekend, the Criterium, which will take place around Webster Avenue beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Though forecasts call for rain, the race will go on as planned unless there is thunder or lightning, said Amy Wallace ’04 Th’05.
The Criterium, affectionately known as the Crit, is a fast-paced race in which the cyclists circle the course as many times as possible in approximately 45 minutes for the women and 60 minutes for the men. The exact number of laps is set after officials see how fast the pack of cyclists takes to complete the first few laps. From there, it is a race to finish the laps in the quickest time, Karla Kingsley ’05 said. A member of the cycling club, Kingsley expects more people than normal to come out to race.
“People will come out to race that haven’t done races before just because it’s here,” Kingsley said.
Coinciding with the race is a plethora of non-athletic events, including a barbeque at Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity, the band Ladies Night at Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority and a club sports rally on the lawn of Chi Gamma Epsilon fraternity. KDE is also host to representatives from Red Bull and will hold a breakfast bagel brunch along with registration for the race in the morning, KDE house manager Lauren Pfisterer ’06 said.
Alpha Chi will be cosponsoring a barbeque at 12:30 p.m. with the Interfraternity Council and Sigma Phi Epsilon and expects to see at least 100 people, but hopes for around 200. Student Assembly originally planned on sponsoring the barbeque, but withdrew its support due to a lack of funds in the spring budget, Ester Perman ’06 said.
“We are just trying to show our support for an underappreciated team at Dartmouth,” Andy Bailey ’06 president of Alpha Chi said of the cycling club.
In addition to the festivities of the day, Student Assembly will use the crit as a backdrop for drawing attention to the limited funding club sports receive. There will be a rally on the Chi Gam lawn at 2 pm. to “initiate discussions between club sports, the administration and students,” Perman said. Captains of club sports teams will speak, and a petition will be passed around as proof of the support club sports have from the student body. The petition will be presented to the administration within the next couple weeks, Perman said, but she also hoped that administrators would be present at Saturday’s rally.
Since Webster Avenue must be used for the race, the road will be closed from 12:30 to 5:30 pm., Hanover Police Chief Nicholas Giaccone said. North Main Street from Webster Avenue to Clement Road will also be closed, as will Clement Road itself and Occum Road from Clement to Webster. Police will be patrolling the intersections and providing traffic control, Giaccone added. Residents in the area will be able to get out of their driveways in between races, however, and the houses on Webster Avenue have already been informed of the disruption, Wallace said.
The last time a cycling race was held on campus was six years ago, Wallace said. The cycling team, which has won Division II Nationals for the past three years, has grown since that time and now has a strong enough team to warrant a Dartmouth race, she added.
Kingsley found her love of cycling when she started mountain biking in the year following high school, which she spent in Mexico. However, she did not start cycling at Dartmouth until her sophomore summer, when she participated in a mountain biking Sophomore Trip and subsequently joined the cycling club and began road biking.
The team is flexible and accommodating to the goals of different cyclists, she said. There are no formal practices, though the smaller group of 15 to 20 cyclists that do race consistently help each other with concrete training plans.”That’s what I like about it. You can make it what you want, super-serious or fun,” Kingsley said.