As Timothy Shotts, president of the SIUC Cycling Club, trains for a late-February race, the power to endure has proven to be just as important as wearing a helmet.
Shotts, a senior from Springfield studying architecture, has been the club’s president for the past year. With only eight members, the club’s membership count does not reflect its competitive drive.
Members of the club will compete in the 25- to 75-mile Lindsey Wilson Road Race Feb. 26-27. The rain-or-shine collegiate race is hosted by Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky., with a route that offers scenic views and steep hills. The cyclists will go head-to-head with scholarship teams that have more members.
Shotts said that members participate in early morning spin classes at the Recreation Center and also bike distances as far as the Makanda Boardwalk in efforts to prepare for the race.
“You definitely feel the burn,” Shotts said. “We have a small team, but we hope to make a good showing in Kentucky.”
Early morning workouts, sprints and strength training are all key components to building the endurance necessary for the sport, he said.
Shotts, a competitive cyclist for 12 years, got his start as a high school cross country runner, a background that he said is well-suited for a cyclist.
The group also uses resources around the area to help them prepare.
Ray Trotta, a level 2 cycling coach out of Chicago, said he is just one person who has offered his services to the club free of charge.
“I can assist riders with development of training plans, strength programs as well as nutritional support,” Trotta said.
Shotts said cyclists must stay hydrated and ensure that they have the proper amount of carbohydrates in their system.
Ryan Grumberg, a graduate student in philosophy from Carbondale and mechanic at the Bike Surgeon, stressed the need for a good tune-up before a long ride, but also said race bikes normally have smaller problems.
“High-end race bikes tend to have smaller nuance problems,” he said. “Race prep needs fine-tuning, and every bolt needs attention.”
The Cycling Club is open to students, faculty and staff, regardless of experience. The club meets the first Monday of every month at 6 p.m. in the lobby of Morris Library.