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Pro Cyclist Lenore Pipes '08 Competes This Weekend in 16th Annual Liberty Classic

Pro Cyclist Lenore Pipes '08 Competes  
This Weekend in 16th Annual Liberty Classic

by Alex Weintraub '11

Lenore Pipes '08; photo by Todd Leister
Lenore Pipes '08

Lenore Pipes '08 will join over 100 professional, international women cyclists tomorrow in the 16th annual Liberty Classic. This is Pipes' second time at the race, which consists of four laps of a 14.4-mile circuit through Philadelphia with four steep climbs up the notorious Manayunk Wall. The Liberty Classic is held during the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship, considered the most important single-day cycling road race in the country.

Pipes makes for an unlikely competitor on the professional cycling circuit. Born on Guam where, she says, "most people do not own bicycles," she did not ride her first bike until age 21 while a student at Swarthmore. She enjoyed the experience so much that she began commuting by bike to Swarthmore from her apartment in Philadelphia. Soon after, she purchased her first road-bike to tackle longer distances with local cycling groups.

Pipes began her racing career on one such ride with Sturdy Girl Cycling, "a Philadelphia-based team that promotes women's cycling," she says. The members of Sturdy Girl encouraged Pipes to start racing and, in her senior year, she competed in her first bike race, organized by Princeton University. These days, Pipes is a member of an elite squad, Fruit 66/Artemis, with whom she will compete on Saturday.

In addition to travelling around the country to compete professionally in road-cycling and cyclo-cross, Pipes is a fulltime research assistant at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia and a parttime graduate student in bioinformatics at Johns Hopkins University. She cites her time at Swarthmore as having prepared her for managing such a rigorous schedule.

"I remember one crazy, difficult semester where I took one too many classes that included Organic Chemistry II and Discrete Math, in addition to being a Phoenix columnist, a genetics TA, and trying to publish a manuscript," she says. "I feel like being able to balance all that in college helped me to be able to keep things balanced now."