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Laura Peter (left) and Emma Noverr (right) bike with the Hillsdale Edu­rance Sports Club.
(Photo: Emma Noverr | Courtesy)

When Freshman Emma Noverr left her home in Col­orado to come to Hillsdale this fall, she left what she called the “cycling Mecca of America,” and came to a place without an estab­lished cycling com­munity. Rather than give up cycling, she created her own com­munity.

That com­munity is called the Endurance Sports Club, of which Noverr is pres­ident. The club com­petes as a col­le­giate club team and will begin racing com­pet­i­tively in the spring. It cur­rently has four members, and its coach and faculty adviser, Laura Peter, is enjoying the expe­rience of helping stu­dents progress as cyclists.

“I love working with ath­letes that care,” Peter said. “Emma has been very proactive and very ready to stand up for the club.”

Peter said endurance ath­letes don’t peak until their late 20s or early 30s, and that changes the way she trains her team members.

“You have to train ath­letes knowing that you only have them for four years,” Peter said. “As a coach, I want to instill love in the ath­letes and make sure they still love cycling when they leave.”

Part of instilling that love are fre­quent visits to what Noverr calls the “Pain Cave.” The “Pain Cave” is a training area in Peter’s garage she created for the team so they could train during the winter months.

“We usually ride for about 12 hours a week and do six hours of weight training a week in the Pain Cave,” Noverr said. “It’s a nice outlet for us.”

Because that training may sound pretty intense to most, the Endurance Sports Club will expand to include members that don’t wish to train at that level.

“The winter training is for people that are really com­mitted,” Peter said. “When the weather turns, we’ll go out for Sat­urday midday rides. We just want to introduce people to any type of cycling.”

While the club will try to attract casual riders in order to expand, Joseph Toates, the co-founder of the club, said the club was orig­i­nally created so its members could compete at the col­le­giate level.

“Both Emma and I really like the racing scene,” Toates said. “We wanted to create the structure to race around here to race for the college, and not just some company team.”

Toates ran half-marathons com­pet­i­tively before becoming a com­pet­itive cyclist. He said he switched to com­pet­itive cycling because long-dis­tance running com­pe­ti­tions felt like exercise, while cycling races require skills spe­cific to com­peting against other people.

“There isn’t really any reason to look at anybody around you during a half-marathon,” Toates said. “Bike races are very strategic, it’s dif­ficult to learn how to do, and they aren’t just an exercise com­pe­tition.”

As the fledgling club begins its first season, the Instagram biog­raphy of the club describes it as, “Four broke stu­dents on a quest for the athlete water bottles.”

The desired “athlete water bottles” are clear bottles with a Hillsdale ath­letics logo on the side, and are dis­tributed only to members of Hillsdale’s official sports teams, not club teams like the Endurance Sports Club. Peter said she believed cycling would always be a club sport at Hillsdale, but Noverr was more opti­mistic.

“Dr. Arnn actually used to race bikes back in Claremont, and a lot of other pro­fessors have done the same,” Noverr said. “The pos­si­bility is there…right now we are just working on affording uni­forms. Baby steps.”

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    Fas­ci­nating. Does this team compete in the GMAC or against other local col­leges?

  • JJ_Chester

    I see Hillsdale listed in the RMCCC standings. Did somebody go home to Col­orado for a bike race?