by Jackson Sundheim
It goes without saying that most students in Portland, and especially at Lewis and Clark, are interested in riding bikes. One group on campus has a special interest in cycling and they have taken it to a competitive level. The Lewis & Clark Cycling Club is one of the newer organizations on campus; it was started in the spring of 2017 by its current co-presidents, Chris Clifford ’19, Max Southam ’19 and Zackery Weimer ’19.
“We never actually officially started it until last spring, which is why we didn’t have any funding last year. But this year we do have quite a bit of funding to spend on race entries; we don’t want it to be cost-prohibitive to anyone … and cost is a pretty big barrier to entry for some people because it is an expensive sport,” said Clifford.
When race entries alone can cost quite a handsome sum, having them paid for from the club’s budget can have a significant impact on one’s ability to participate in cycling events. But for some members of the club, this is not exactly their first rodeo.
“Right now it’s cyclocross season and the only guy here who really races cross is Max (Southam) but he’s been doing pretty well,” Clifford said. “He’s racing Cat 2, which is one below Cat 1, the highest category, so those guys are pretty fast. And he podiumed in his last race, on Sunday (the Corn Cross race at Liepold Farms in Boring, Oregon). He got third, and he’s racing again tonight, and he’s been doing pretty well. He’s a really good rider.” At the second race mentioned, Blind Date at the Dairy at Alpenrose Dairy in Southwest Portland, Southam pedaled to eighth place in the Men’s Category 3/4 race.
Never ones to rest on their laurels, the co-presidents of the Cycling Club have their eyes set on the future as well as the present.
“The road season (in the spring) is probably going to be the real test of our team because that’s the only team event that there’s going to be,” Clifford said. “They have a team time trial at every one of the races, so hopefully we can get enough people together to field a time trial team, and I think that’ll be the real test of how we ride as a team.”
But the Cycling Club is not only for those interested in racing.
“The main thing that almost anybody will be able to do is go on the group rides … which are going to be ‘no drop’ so we’ll wait for everyone, and basically just get out and ride and have fun.” Fancy road bikes are not required for these rides either, so anyone with two wheels is encouraged to join.
“Going forward it’s mainly just having more people having fun riding their bike … more people being interested in it basically, more people riding, hopefully more people racing but really it’s just about riding your bike and that’s what we want to bring to the Lewis & Clark community.”
For those interested in getting their start in racing or just going for a group ride with the Cycling Club, there are a couple of ways to stay updated. To get on the mailing list, send an email to email@example.com, or join the “Lewis & Clark Cycling” Facebook page to get updates there. The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (www.obra.org) also has a variety of information about the sport of cycling.