Pedaling to first place

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A. Sue Weisler

Cyclocross team members Luke Thomas, left; Chris Hartmann, center; and Ian Gielar, right, practice on campus. The team took first place in its division this past season.

The cyclocross portion of the RIT Cycling Team secured first place in its division this past season, with individual rider Peter Hagerty, a fifth-year mechanical engineering major, also qualifying for the national championships by placing first in the Men’s A category.

Founded in 2008, the club, which has about 30 racing members, has quickly transformed from a small group of casual riders into a nationally ranked competitive force. The cyclocross portion of the team, which competes in Divison II of USA Cycling Collegiate, has enjoyed a string of successful seasons recently, capturing fifth place three seasons ago and second place two seasons ago.

The cycling team is split into three main components: a mountain team, a road team and a cyclocross team. The cyclists compete in races across the northeastern U.S., as part of the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference of USA Cycling Collegiate.

James Parascandola, president of the RIT cycling club, says that the team’s growth and success are the result of intense weekly practices and the dedication of the riders.

“We all know that it’s going to be a big commitment going in,” says Parascandola, a fourth-year mechanical engineering major. “We do it for our love of competition and to try to grow our team.”

The cycling team is one of 21 competitive sports clubs at RIT. “The members of our club sport teams are incredibly self-sufficient, passionate and engaged,” says Sarah Griffith, assistant director for clubs and community outreach. “In many cases, they are representing RIT as the official team in their respective sports, even though they aren’t a varsity program.”