Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Students and alumni race in weekly cycling series

Rebeca Rodriguez

Cyclists compete in the PURE Austin Driveway Series Thursday evening. Every Thursday for 25 years, the series has hosted more than 200 riders who compete in various races based on skill categories.

Austin cyclists have participated in Thursday night races for 25 years, and UT students past and present have geared up for the challenge.

The PURE Austin Driveway Series hosts more than 200 riders every Thursday who compete in various races based on skill categories. Members of the Texas Cycling Team regularly race against experienced riders from local cycling teams and clubs. The series runs for 32 Thursdays in a row, beginning every year in March and running through October. Competitors race on a Driveway Austin Motorsports Academy and Retreat’s circular track in East Austin. Races are categorized by level of skill and rider’s gender.

“The series is a pretty unique opportunity because we have some of the fastest non-professional racers in the country come out to race with us,” said Kyle Johnson, architecture senior. “There are also several national champions out there, and that is a racing environment you don’t get in many places.”

Johnson said he started racing when was 15-years-old after his father used cycling as rehabilitation for a knee injury. The series allows riders to build relationships with veterans who are excited about the younger generations of riders, he said. Veteran riders host skill clinics for series participants once a month during the series.

The series is the longest of its kind and has been organized by Holland Racing for the last four years. UT alum Andrew Mills, Holland Racing founder, said the racing community is a grassroots movement providing students with a low-key opportunity to explore their athletic ability while gaining responsibility.

“Cycling provides an underlying benefit for college students while they are carving out the habit of doing something that makes them feel good,” he said.

Mills founded Holland Racing after racing on an international level for several years and winning a collegiate national championship in 1998 during his time on the Texas Cycling Team.

Willis’ wife, Holly Ammerman, manages the series and said it is more difficult to find women who want to participate. Women’s races only have an average of 20 riders while men’s races consist of an average of 70 riders.

History senior Ashley Hiatt said the number of women participating in the series, however, has doubled over the last year.

The series is a good opportunity for students who are new to the sport, but female riders would be able to gain even more skills if they could race in larger groups, she said. Hiatt is the women’s director for the Texas Cycling Team and said they are always looking to increase their female membership.

“Riding is an intimidating sport to get into,” Hiatt said. “But the series provides good training for students who are new to the sport.”

Mills said he is excited to think that some of the students racing now will be putting on the weeknight races and run their own cycling clubs and teams in the future.

“I’ve been in the sport for 20 years and now I see the people I went to school with and rode with becoming leaders in the cycling community,” Mills said. “It’s a rewarding experience to provide students with that experience that brought me so much when I was in college.”

Four-year member and biology senior Daniel Varela is one of those students.

“You meet a lot of interesting people off the rack and eventually you are just racing with friends,” Varela said. “It’s definitely something I see myself doing on a long-term basis both participating or even helping to organizing some races myself.”

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Students and alumni race in weekly cycling series