Celeste Chadwick '17 on a ride to Riverside on May 31, 2017.

Addy Smith

Playmaker Profile: Celeste Chadwick

May 31, 2017

Few sports coincide as smoothly as biking and running. For Celeste Chadwick ‘17, a varsity cross-country runner, her experience as a runner helped ease her transition into competitive cycling.

From a young age, Celeste Chadwick ‘17 has been destined to be a cyclist. Her dad, Timothy, is a lifelong cyclist.

“[My dad] he started racing when he was 19 or 20, then he was competitive for about 5 years. He thought about going professional, but he lived on the farm and had a lot of work to do to help his family, but he did go to nationals. [He’s the one] that definitely got me into cycling at first [and now] he’s basically my coach,”  Chadwick said.

In the summer Chadwick trains six days a week with her team, the Iowa Cycling Team, in addition to cross training.

“Mondays are usually an easy day. Anybody who wants to show up, regardless of whether or not they’re on the team can show up and ride with us. We’ll usually do a hills loop, no more than 15 miles at easy conversation pace. On Wednesdays we have a race pace ride. Those days are crazy hard. We’ll ride pace line and it’s like heads down the whole time. Usually we’ll go out about ten miles to some secluded road, and once we get far enough out we’ll get in our pace line and then we’ll ride like 20 or 22 mph. We switch off and then we’ll come back usually 18-20  mph, unless someone’s feeling good they’ll jump and we’ll all go with them, which sucks. Sunday’s I have my long rides, with my dad usually. We’ll do anywhere from 50 to 70 miles. For the super long rides I like to go to Muscatine, through Columbus Junction and weird back roads. I like Kalona for the moderate route, 45 miles.”

Chadwick typically participates in road races, which are usually longer races with long stretches of flat in addition to rolling hills.

“My first race was called HILLinois, it was actually a new race last summer. That one was extremely hilly, it was awful. I think it was like 23 miles. I raced juniors but there was only one other girl and three other guys. The guys were really really good so I was alone the whole time, so that sucked. [In road races] I’m constantly changing directions, so I’m not going into the wind the whole time, which is nice.”

Safety is always a concern for cyclists, especially while riding rural back roads, but race environments are always controlled.

“There’s the lead vehicle and then a vehicle behind us at all times. There are also signs posted everywhere that warn people there’s a bike race going on and to take caution on the road, so races are pretty safe.”

Although Chadwick feels comfortable during races, she never rides alone on her long routes.

“I’ll do the Hills loop or the Reservoir route alone, because those are pretty popular, for the most part. But even going to Riverside can be pretty scary.  I’ll do it but I’m on a highway there and people literally hate bikes. I’ve been run off the road multiple times.”

Addy Smith
Celeste Chadwick ’17 poses for a shot on her way to Riverside on May 31, 2017.

Chadwick is a four-year member of the cross-country team and a three-year member of the track team. Both cycling and running are endurance sports, and Chadwick has noticed a parallel between the two.

“My cross country coaches yell at me on the track to, “Go to that next gear”, but when I’m on my bike I physically can go to the next gear. When I get tired in cycling, instead of just giving up, I can shift up a gear, which forces me to have to pedal a little harder, so I can push myself easier that way. Cycling has helped me a lot with cross country this year mentally, because I had developed a stronger mindset through cycling.”

Not only is the shared endurance aspect enticing for Chadwick, but she also enjoys the independence and freedom that each sport has to offer.

The comparisons between the sports, however, cease when it comes to cost.

“[Cycling is] a very expensive hobby. My shoes alone cost $400. My bike is a beginner’s bike so it only costs a little over $2,000. Only $2,000. I’d like to, later on, get a better bike. A $5,000-$6,000 bike would be nice for racing. [Although is gear is extremely pricey], the races don’t cost too much to enter in. Juniors races usually only cost $30.”

Chadwick plans to join the Iowa State cycling team as a freshman next year, as well as the Ames Velo cycling club. A future on wheels is one that Chadwick envisions for herself. 

“On the non-competitive side I would really like to go on a bike tour, probably after my first year of college. Either across the midwest or maybe even RAM– Ride Across America. I might also get into mountain biking at Iowa State later on too, since it’s pretty big up there but my ultimate goal is to go to the collegiate nationals at some point and place.”

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