Cyclists at the United States Naval Academy are different. The American flag gracing each rider’s arm represents the ideals set forth by the Navy and Marine Corps. Since the beginning of the team 40 years ago, these foundational goals have remained the same. Training to be a successful cyclist and a successful Navy or Marine Corps Officer have many commonalities: working tirelessly to improve weaknesses, running drills to prepare for race-day scenarios, communicating with your teammates, and always having a plan of action. Graduates of the Navy Cycling team go on to serve as Officers in the Navy or Marine Corps.
Midshipmen by nature are a competitive group, and cycling offers many of them an outlet to stay physically fit while doing what they love.The Naval Academy school day is more structured than most, and the demands on a Navy Cyclist are different from those of a typical collegiate racer. Members of the team typically wake up at 5:30 a.m. for a morning workout, which usually includes running and/or lifting. Classes go from 8 in the morning through 3:30 in the afternoon when practice starts. A normal day allows for between 90 and 180 minutes of riding followed by stretching and debriefing. Saturday café rides welcome Academy graduates during reunion weekends as well as the Arlington-based coach, Peter Lindeman of Wenzel Coaching.
“I think that many of us gravitate towards the sport for the challenges and uncomfortable situations we are placed in,” says Joel Schneider, team camptain.
“Every rider on the team has his or her own reason for racing, and you’d be hard pressed to find a member of the Navy Cycling Team who doesn’t have ambitions beyond cycling.” Schneider goes on to say that the motivated personalities are what give the team a unique depth and make every day interesting.
Emma Hutchinson, a fellow team member, elaborates: “Cycling presents individual challenges in terms of physical endurance, as well as a unique opportunity to race for the people wearing the same uniform as you.
“We ride and train together to become better as a whole. While each person comes to Navy Cycling for different reasons, we stay because of teammates who push us to work that much harder, and become that much better.”
To match the Navy Cycling Team’s intensity in all training environments, Hincapie designed a performance-focused Max Collection kit that speaks to the Navy’s battle-tested heritage. Hutchinson worked with Hincapie designers to incorporate former Marine and Navy battle sites, emblems, and logos for a seamless design across the custom kit. The Max Collection combines lightweight mesh construction with an aggressive Hincapie race fit to ensure the team’s best performance in the upcoming Atlantic Coast Cycling Conference competitions. In preparation, the custom Navy Element Vest and Element Accessories make long Annapolis winter training rides just a little more bearable.
The Naval Academy cycling team currently competes in the Atlantic Coast Cycling Conference (ACCC) against schools including Duke, UNC, NC State, UVA, Virginia Tech, UMD, William and Mary, and JMU, among others. On the national level, Navy Cycling competes in the Division One Club. The Navy Cycling team has won the ACCC Road Omnium for the past three years and has now set their sights on increasing their national standings.
Through Hincapie’s Collegiate Giveback program, the Naval Academy Cycling Team was awarded over $2,750 in funds to support their national standing efforts.