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What goes around, comes around

The sophomore girls team stick together for another Taylathon

The sophomore team strikes a strong pose despite a difficult loss. (Photograph provided by Tali Valentine)

The sophomore team strikes a strong pose despite a difficult loss. (Photograph provided by Tali Valentine)

By Carly Wheeler | Echo

The brakes are tightened, the chains are aligned and for sophomores Jessica Dundas, Amanda Fleischmann, Analiese Helms and Lindi Moore, memories of last year’s Taylathon competition fuel their desire for an epic comeback. These four sophomores are returning to the Taylathon track for round two, having also participated together in last year’s bicycle race.

A case of miscounted laps caused the four of them to finish in last place during their freshmen year, which would seem to bring spirits down, but these women are not discouraged.

Helms knew, even on race day last year, she wanted the team to make a comeback.

“For me, Taylathon last year was the first extracurricular event that I had done, so it was cool to meet new people,” Helms said. “The experience was great. Training? I loved it. And race day was good . . . but now we want redemption from last year.”

The bond formed between the team members last year only strengthened the desire to race again, even after such a tough loss. It is hard to imagine these sophomores were complete strangers prior to the competition. Following the race, however, their companionship grew over the course of the year. No doubt this helped strengthen their decision to once again participate in the event that helped form the sisterhood.

Fleischmann enjoyed recalling the first practice where they all met, and how unique their friendship is as a result.

“We all got to know each other really well, and we became friends that lasted through the entire year,” Fleischmann said. “So, coming back and doing (Taylathon) felt very natural . . . we’re just going to come back stronger.”

All the sophomore cyclists gather together after last year’s races. (Photograph provided by Tali Valentine)

All the sophomore cyclists gather together after last year’s races. (Photograph provided by Tali Valentine)

Very optimistic for this year’s race, Fleischmann noted how their experience will give them an edge in the competition. “We already noticed–with four of us returning–that transitions and practicing for the first time after not doing it for a year are running very smoothly,” Fleischmann said. “So now it’s basically about building endurance again for this year.”

Joining the sophomore girls’ team for their first Taylathon race are Abby Gonzalez, Kaylee Williams and Andi Kempf. Kempf confessed she was unaware of what Taylathon was until attending the first practice. But still, she is excited to compete. Gonzalez is also optimistic to be apart of the team.

“The girls that are on the team are pretty experienced compared to me, but they’re very encouraging and willing to help and instruct,” Gonzalez said. “I’ll give it my all and I’m excited to see the whole thing come together.”

Arm in arm, the freshmen team (now sophomores) stand triumphant. (Photograph provided by Tali Valentine)

Arm in arm, the freshmen team (now sophomores) stand triumphant. (Photograph provided by Tali Valentine)

The strategy the sophomores have for this weekend’s race will include consistent rotations of the riders and earlier transitions in the dead-man zone. This dead-man zone is the only space where transitioning between riders is allowed. Transitions must be completed, with feet off the ground, before the new rider crosses over the last line of sidewalk in the zone.

With their eyes on the prize tomorrow, the sophomores are glancing even further ahead with determination to race united every year until they graduate. Helms remembers how she felt as a freshman, in awe of upperclassmen determination.

“What really inspired me last year was seeing all the seniors and seeing that they had done it for four years and thinking, ‘I could do this for four years?’” Helms said. “That would be amazing.”

 

Here are the details for the race:

When: Saturday, Sept. 30

Women’s race at 10 a.m., Men’s race at 11 a.m.

Where: The lawn between Reade and Euler

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