| We continue to explore collegiate cycling programs across the U.S. and this time we connect with the University of Notre Dame – fightin’ Irish cycling team. University of Notre Dame is located in the State of Indiana.
The University of Notre Dame collegiate cycling team competes in the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference (MWCCC), a recognized conference within the USA Cycling Collegiate organization. The Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference is one of 11 collegiate conferences around the U.S.
The University of Notre Dame began late on the bitterly cold afternoon of November 26, 1842, when a 28-year-old French priest, Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., and seven companions, all of them members of the recently established Congregation of Holy Cross, took possession of 524 snow-covered acres that the Bishop of Vincennes had given them in the Indiana mission fields.
A man of lively imagination, Father Sorin named his fledging school in honor of Our Lady, in his native tongue, “L’Université de Notre Dame du Lac” (The University of Our Lady of the Lake). On January 15, 1844, the University was thus officially chartered by the Indiana legislature.
The University of Notre Dame is an independent, national Catholic university located adjacent to the city of South Bend, Indiana, and approximately 90 miles east of Chicago.
The University is organized into four undergraduate colleges – Arts and Letters, Science, Engineering, and the Mendoza College of Business – the School of Architecture, the Law School, the Graduate School, 10 major research institutes, more than 40 centers and special programs, and the University Library system. Enrollment for the 2008-09 academic year was 11,731 students overall and 8,363 undergraduates.
The Graduate School, established in 1918, encompasses 32 master's and 23 doctoral degree programs in and among 25 University departments, institutes and programs.
The University of Notre Dame cycling team manager, Douglas Ansel provided some perspectives about the cycling club.
DP: When did your cycling program begin? What was the idea of creating a cycling program?
While it was not always recognized by the Notre Dame University has always had some sort of cycling program. In recent years it has shifted more from recreational to competitive racing.
DP: Tell us about the upcoming Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference (MWCCC) race scheduled for Saturday/Sunday, March 26/27, the Notre Dame Cycling Classic.
All three courses are new for this year. The team time trial (TTT) is flat with smooth pavement so times should be quick. The road race (RR) course has a few rolling hills on it but is pretty typical of the flat geography we have in South Bend. It’s wooded and mostly sheltered so the wind shouldn’t factor into the race like it tends to do in the Midwest.
We’re most looking forward to the downtown criterium on Sunday. The city is closing down some major roads for us and there should be a decent crowd of students and locals there to watch racing through the center of the city.
We’ve also dedicated the weekend’s racing to the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation. The Parseghian Foundation is fighting to develop a cure for Niemann Pick Type C Disease and Notre Dame cyclists have been collecting pledge sponsors for the event. A member of the Foundation will be the honorary starter for the Men’s A criterium and we hope cyclists from other schools will take some time to learn more about NP-C throughout the day. Check our the flyer with a full race schedule by visiting
Notre Dame Cycling Classic.
DP: Does your cycling program compete in all disciplines? What is your specialty?
Notre Dame specializes in road cycling, though an increasing number of riders participate in mountain bike races in the fall. There is support available to people competing in all disciplines.
DP: Who is an ideal candidate for your academic and cycling program?
The Notre Dame’s cycling program is structured as both a riding club and a competitive team; as a result, we welcome riders of any experience level. We’ve found recent success with athletes who excelled in other sports during high school and understand the commitment necessary to be successful on the bike. Notre Dame is a strong academic institution, and our riders reflect this tradition. As well as competing competitively in the MWCCC, current team members are also presenting research at international conventions, pursuing PhD degrees, and are leaders in many other campus organizations.
DP: Does the University of Notre Dame – fightin’ Irish cycling team offer collegiate cycling scholarships?
Cycling is a club sport at Notre Dame, so no athletic scholarships are given. However, the club does receive generous support from the University that allows us to provide for lodging, transportation, race entry fees, and some clothing.|
DP: Is equipment provided to the athletes or are they expected to contribute to the costs of purchasing their equipment (i.e. bikes, tires, rollers, uniforms, racing shoes, etc),
Competitive athletes are generally expected to provide their own bikes, but the team is able to offer much additional support. We own several entry-level road bikes which are available for newcomers looking to try cycling. Partnership with a local shop helps keep equipment costs down and gives us access to eight compu-trainers during the winter. A generous sponsorship by SportsCrafters provides high-quality rollers team members can check out for winter training. Notre Dame also has a spin room in our gym available for team use.
DP: Typically, a B.A. /B.S. take about four years to complete? However, do all your athletes finish their degrees on time? Or is the average more like five years as they enjoy their environments and student life?
Rarely does a B.A. /B.S. degree take more than four years for our athletes and many double major in this timeframe or double major with a master’s or other advanced degree in 5 years.
DP: Overall, what is your cycling program graduation rate?
We graduate 100% of our cyclists.
DP: Do you actively recruit? If so, is there a part of the country or the world where your focus more of your recruitment efforts?
While we cannot officially recruit because we don’t offer scholarships, we do look for high school riders that may be interested in Notre Dame. We can’t directly affect their admission to the school, but we’re glad to offer advice or meet with prospective students interested in the program.
DP: What differentiates your cycling program from the others?
Everyone at Notre Dame University loves being at Notre Dame University and that attitude shows on our team. We’re proud to represent our school. The relationships that form across categories on our team are also something that sets us apart. Because we have no coach, A riders spend a significant amount of time making training plans and providing feedback to lower athletes in lower categories.
DP: How many women are on your team?
We currently have four women on our team.
DP: Are any of your riders on the U.S. National team?
Currently we do not have any athletes who are part of the U.S. National team; however, give us a few years and we should have a presence.
NOTRE DAME CYCLING TEAM RACE SCHEDULE
• February 26/27 - Lindsey Wilson College
• March 5/6 - Ohio State University
• March 26/27 - Notre Dame
• April 2 - Marian University
• April 3 – Purdue University
• April 9 - Michigan State
• April 10 – University of Michigan
• April 16/17 - Lindenwood University
Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference (MWCCC) Regional Championships
• May 6, 7 and 8 – USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships – Madison, Wisconsin
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About the author: Imelda March lives in Chicago and is a member of Team Kenda. She is a frequent contributor to The Daily Peloton Cycling News team, reporting on women’s cycling issues and general peloton ramblings. Imelda is an experienced racer who also holds an MBA and is a marketing strategy expert.
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