Cycling club gears up for race
The UA Cycling Club is hosting its seventh annual criterium race on Oracle Road this weekend.
The weekend of racing begins on Saturday, with a half-mile track for beginners and a longer track for more advanced cyclists. Sunday will feature different types of road race events such as hill climbing, individual time trials, and team trials, where four people work together for the fastest time against other schools.
Most of the bikers that started off in the club last year were either casual or beginning bikers, said Joey Iuliano, a planning graduate student. Iuliano said he accidentally discovered his passion for cycling while sitting on the couch watching the Tour de France; he immediately began saving money to purchase an expensive competition bike to replace his old one.
Iuliano, who is now vice president of the UA Cycling Club, started the annual race on Oracle Road, which he compares to a NASCAR event on bicycles. Iuliano said his inspiration for the race was the realization that Arizona had beautiful cycling tracks but lacked annual races.
Joey Luliano, graduate student in urban development, is the vice president of the UA's cycling club.
The club is working on volunteering and reaching out to the community more this semester. Ben Elias, a sustainable built environments senior and president of the UA Cycling Club, said he wants to connect with the larger cycling community by organizing races in Arizona.
Thomas Wilson, associate professor of practice and faculty adviser of the UA Cycling Club, brought his 10 years of competitive cycling experience to the club after being hired at the UA. Many members of the cycling team are engineering majors and deal with a full course load, full-time jobs and full-time racing commitments, Wilson said.
Wilson added that he admires his team for its amazing discipline and loves to watch its current members inspire new members to develop the same sorts of skills. Wilson also appreciates his team’s ability to instill a respect for the rules of the road in new members and promote safety.
“The club actively fosters a sense of safety and awareness to other people on the road,” Wilson said. “Students are not allowed to participate in any race, practice or ride unless they are wearing a helmet.”
Iuliano said he hopes that this race will be a huge success that beginner, collegiate, advanced and professional racers will continue to compete in every year.
“I encourage everyone to come out and spectate,” Iuliano said. “[The race] is fun to watch, close to campus and spectator-friendly.”