One of the unique athletic options at Andover, the cycling team provides Phillips Academy students the opportunity to race at a competitive level against other high-schoolers. Additionally, who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to leave campus every afternoon during the spring (with permission) to bike through northeastern Massachusetts - all while learning about a tactically fascinating sport and getting in great shape?
Whether we're doing a series of hill repeats nearby or riding fifty miles to Crane Beach, our rides are always filled with chatty dialogue and friendly competition. Although boys and girls race separately, we ride together during practices. The team has a unique,long-standing way of planning rides; streets and intersections around the Andover region have witty nicknames. A training ride, for example, may be as follows; out via Chicken Sargent, Donut,Killer Bee, and back by way of Windrush, Campbell Soup, Corkscrew. Though it can sometimes be confusing even to veteran team members, it helps riders learn how to navigate the area.
Instructor in History and Social Science Derek Williams '65 founded the team in 1981 along with a few renegade students – among them current head coach Thayer Zaeder '83. In that first year, among the original eight schools, Andover won the league championships. Since its inception, the league has grown considerably; currently, over 150 riders from about a dozen schools comprise the New England Prep School Federation. The league is now divided into five categories based on skill level to ensure that all riders, regardless of ability, have the opportunity to race at a competitive level. Over the years, Andover has hosted several races on campus, including a stage race. In 2008, after a ten-year hiatus, the team hosted a team time trial around the Abbot campus.
Because not all students own a racing bike when they first join the team, the school acquired a collection of race-quality loaner bikes with the help of Ken Thomson, whose daughter Jennifer ’87 raced on the team. Thanks to the generosity of the Abbot Academy Association and the Clay family, whose two sons both raced on the team, the school refurbished the aging fleet in 2008 with seven brand-new racing bikes. As a result, no student is at an unfair disadvantage trying out for the team or racing in the league.
Quite often, riders on the team are smitten by the sport and choose to pursue it beyond Andover. Several team members have gone on to compete in college and, afterwards, in United States Cycling Federation (USCF) races: Doug Friman '93 is a nationally-ranked triathlete and was an alternate on the last three U.S. Olympic teams; Kris Hedges '99 was the 2003 Division II U.S. Collegiate Road Race Champion; Arielle Filiberti '07 was the 2005 U.S. Junior Women's Cyclocross Champion and 2006 U.S. Junior Women’s Road Champion. The athletic competition in the league is certainly first-rate; the list of professional cyclists who competed in our league as high-schoolers is too long to enumerate.
So whatever your previous cycling experience, we hope that you'll consider trying out for the team. If you are interested, please contact Coach Zaeder at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Andrew Clay, 2008 Team Captain