Cycling at Saint-Augustin University – The pursuit of history follows the SAU cycling team
In April 2020, Saint Augustine University (SAU) took a pioneering step in sports and became the first historically black college or university (HBCU) in the United States to formally constitute a cycling team.
And you can watch their groundbreaking journey unfold in a five-video series called In pursuit of history. The first video in this series was released on Monday, December 21, the second was released on Tuesday January 26, and the third was released on Tuesday April 13.
the first video features the riders of the small private liberal arts college in Raleigh, North Carolina. The team will compete in the Atlantic Division of USA Cycling, which features more established and experienced club teams from Duke, NC State and Wake Forest. The Falcons are tackling cyclocross and esports first, like the Zwift, and plan to switch to BMX and road disciplines in the future.
The 12-rider mixed team knows there will be no tailwinds. A few riders on the team are champion track and field athletes, and one or two of them are turning to cycling at the Olympic level. But others haven’t ridden since childhood, and they face a steep learning curve as they attempt to master the tactics of turning, shifting, and racing.
But unlike traditionally predominantly white cycling teams, the Falcons’ goals extend far beyond podiums and race rankings.
“This team plays an important role in the race for racial justice,” said Lavar Stubbs, a Bahamian Falcons cyclist. Canyon website blog post. “We are the first HBCU school with a cycling team… [Being] a pioneer, that doesn’t scare me. You can’t worry about falling. Stay stubborn. Do not be afraid.”
the second video details how Nelson Vails, the first African-American cyclist to win an Olympic medal – silver at the 1984 Games – is a major source of inspiration for this team. No other black rider has come close to what Vails has achieved, and black riders are still few in number at the highest levels of professional cycling.
The Falcons cycling team is hoping to change that. “Black children, white children, all children grew up on bicycles” Janas said in a blog post. “For some reason, the separation seems to be happening somewhere in early adulthood, where many white cyclists continue to ride, while fewer African Americans. [do]. “
And the third video, entitled “Pandemic journals”, shows how team members have been forced to adapt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Five of the Falcons runners vlogged their day-to-day lives, revealing how they juggle the demands of school, work, family, and other responsibilities, in addition to training as a student-athlete (“definitely a student before an athlete, “Aaliyah Williams said).
The concept of the club team started with Mark Janas, Ph.D., professor at SAU business school and now co-team leader who is an avid cyclist. The Falcons were inspired to break down racial barriers and write their own history, just like legendary cycling world champion Major Taylor made 121 years ago.
“The advantage of competing in a traditionally white sport is that we bring diversity, awareness and talent,” said Umar Muhammad, professor of sports management at SAU and the other co-leader of the team. a blog post on the Canyon website. “Being SAU in cycling allows us to tell our story, but also allows us to take other stories home. And share with other HBCU campuses that we are part of a larger community, which is part of a larger landscape of cycling in this world.
The team is supported by a number of sponsors including Canyon Bicycles, Zipp Wheels, Saris, Stages Cycling, Major Taylor Cycling Wear and Fizik. the In pursuit of history the video series was sponsored by Canyon and Ride a bike.
Be on the lookout for two more videos coming out in the coming months.
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