The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Cyclist duo bring SMU cycling into national limelight

Starting out cycling for leisure, two SMU cyclists turned competitive and have put SMU cycling on the map.

Freshman Jeff Klein and Junior Samuel Weyand are the main competitive cyclists in the SMU cycling club, formed two years ago.

Klein started biking when he was 14 on a mountain bike, sharing the experience with his father. As his skills improved, Klein moved to road biking and began competitively riding.

“As I got older I realized there is less risk in road biking, When I was 14 I didn’t exactly care about my body and mountain biking was rough,” Klein said.

Mountain biking occurs off road on a closed course, while road biking requires a different kind of bike and happens on the open road.

Klein said that while mountain biking, he once hit his head so hard he split his helmet. When he switched to road biking, he found that speed is one of the best aspects about the alternate cycling mode.

“I love being out on the road. You can get your bike up to 40 mph, and it is such a rush,” Klein said.

Weyand began cycling only two years ago on the desire to become more athletic.

“In high school I played football and lifted weights and all that, but when I came to college I didn’t have time to be athletic,” Weyand said. “A year and a half ago I decided that part of me was missing and my desire to be athletic again took over.”

Weyand said a friend introduced him to the sport. He went to a bike shop with his friend, and gave cycling a try, and has been riding ever since.

Weyand’s major cycling resume began in September 2007, when he competed in the National Collegiate Track Cycling Championship in San Diego against some of the top collegiate cyclists in the nation.

“It feels great to have such quality competition and push yourself against these riders,” Weyand said.

Track cycling takes place on a banked track 250 or 333 meters in length with banking in the corners from 25 to 45 degrees. Multiple types of races take place. Weyand prefers the sprint events, which are based on tactics and speed and where cyclists go relatively short distances, usually less than a kilometer.

In his first major sprint tournament race at the 2007 National Collegiate Track Cycling Championship, Weyand, after looking promising in time trials, but was relegated during the race due to a sprint lane infraction, dropping him to ninth place out of 48 riders. He also came in 17th place in the kilometer time trial with a time of 1:13.680.

Last month the Collegiate Track Championship did not go as well as Weyand hoped. He did not qualify for the sprint tournament because he performed poorly in the qualifying time trial, about a half a second slower than expected. This was partially because the track was larger than he normally trains on. He rebounded, though, in the kilometer by doing a 1:08.682, about 4 seconds better than his previous personal best. This time place him in 12th for the event.

Scot Montague, faculty advisor to the SMU cycling club, feels that Weyand was the competitive spirit that the upstart club needed.

“Samuel is a beacon for the rest of us,” Montague said. “Samuel’s leadership has raised everyone’s expectations regarding what heights SMU Cycling team can obtain.”

Klein has similarly only been racing for only two years, but along with Weyand has been making headlines in the racing community as well.

Last summer in his first road racing attempt, Klein won his first local race, and later in the summer took third place in the Indiana State Road Race Championships. The state race was a course of 40 miles and had over 100 racers.

Greg Pulte, a BBA advisor in the Cox school and team member, thinks the unique skills both riders bring to the table make up the competitive backbone of the team.

“Sam and Jeff are both very strong and dedicated cyclists,” Pulte said. “Sam approaches his cycling with a relaxed confident attitude that opponents find intimidating. Jeff’s energy and competitive nature are hard to match.”

The pair’s dedication to cycling starts with solid training. Weyand and Klein said it would not be unusual to train 30 to 40 hours over the summer, but during school they are forced to cut down training to 15 to 25 hours a week. That consists of time spent on the bike as well as hitting the weights and spinning machines at the gym. Weyand said that in addition to training, he nearly has to double his caloric intake during training season, consuming more than 4,000 calories per day.

The pair’s intense training regimen has paid off in races, earning them higher marks in the road biking ranking system. The ranking system is on a scale of five to one, where five is amateur and one category is professional. Jeff is a category four, but hopes to move up soon. Sam is a category two.

The pair hopes to increase the competitiveness of the group with other universities, despite having to compete with schools that offer cycling scholarships, equipment and coaching. The pair hopes to team up with two others and participate in a pursuit style race in the future, as well as continue their personal success to further progress SMU as a championship caliber cycling university.

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