March 20th, 2013

St. X's Haley dreams of becoming a pro-cyclist

Staff Report


St. X's Haley dreams of becoming a pro-cyclist
Gavin Haley cycles through the snow / photo from the St. Xavier website

By: Mitchell Forde - The writer is a member of the Billy Reed Sports Journalism Academy, sponsored by Catholic Sports Network. Each correspondent will write a weekly notes column about his or her school, in addition to submitting photos, game stories, and features as requested.

The grueling, three-week Tour de France has been called the most physically demanding event in sports. St. X sophomore Gavin Haley hopes to experience it for himself one day.

Haley is a competitive cyclist who has raced in both national and international races. This past January, he placed fourth in the Cyclocross national championship for 15- and 16-year-olds, and he hopes to go much further with his cycling ability. Next year, he plans to compete on an even bigger stage, as he has been invited to race in Europe. One day, he wants to make it to cycling’s ultimate stage, the Tour de France.

Haley began cycling competitively seven years ago, when he saw a  neighbor compete in bike races. Shortly thereafter, his father formed Red Zone Cycling to allow Gavin and other local cyclists to compete on a national level. Red Zone Cycling is a junior team, meaning its members must be younger than 17. Although he is only 15, Haley plans to move on from his father’s team after this season.

“I’m being recruited by a bunch of other junior teams and senior teams, so this will probably be my last year on the team,” he explained. “I want to join a good junior team next year to put myself in position to make the best possible senior team after that.”

The year is divided into two cycling seasons for Haley. From May to August, he competes in road races, the format of the Tour de France. From August through January, he competes in Cyclocross, in which competitors ride both on roads and through grass and dirt. Haley says he prefers Cyclocross because it requires more skill than conventional road racing.

Few colleges have cycling programs, so Haley plans to pursue his dream by racing with a senior team while attending college.

“I just want to try to make it through college while racing on a team,” he said. “Then, hopefully, I can go pro.”

In his first seven years of competitive cycling, Haley has already made remarkable strides toward becoming a professional cyclist. In addition to finishing in the top five in nationals this year, he is also one of just 15 young cyclists across the nation who have been invited to a cycling camp in Montana. As he continues to race on larger stages against tougher competition, he hopes he can continue his success while gaining the necessary experience to fulfill his dreams.

Given his success thus far, there is no reason to doubt that Haley can make it to one of the most demanding sporting events on the planet.

 

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