Niskayuna’s Evan Boyle just keeps adding sports to his repertoire — and he’s found fast success at his latest effort.
The 17-year-old Boyle, a junior at Niskayuna High School, is already a member of the boys’ soccer and boys’ swim teams. It’s an individual sport, however, that has Boyle climbing a ladder that usually takes a while. Boyle is making a name for himself as a bicycle racer.
Boyle had injured his ankle playing soccer a few months prior to interscholastic sports being shut down in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Once it was deemed safe to get outside, and to rehabilitate his ankle, he took up bicycle riding.
“When the Capital Bicycle Racing Club started having them again, I went to a few club rides and a lot of the guys there wanted me to try racing, so I did,” Boyle said.
At first Boyle competed in a couple of time trials — less than 30 miles — along the Mohawk River in July 2020.
“I did pretty well, not outstanding,” he said.
But he wasn’t afraid of the idea that if he wanted to advance in the sport, it would require him to pedal longer distances.
“I had gone on longer rides but never racing them; just to get a feel,” he said.
In 2021, he got a little more serious about it, racing 11 times from early March to early September. He won the men’s juniors 15 to 18-year-old division at the Tour of the Battenkill in Washington County in June, as well as the Bloomfield Classic in the men’s juniors 17 and 18 category in July. He capped that year with an appearance in the four-day Green Mountain Stage Race in Mad River Valley, Vermont. There, he earned top-20 finishes in the time trial, circuit race and road race.
Last winter he decided to get even more serious by working with CBRC coach Andy Ruiz.
“Last year I was giving him mentorship, not coaching,” Ruiz said. “Over the winter he committed to a full cycling program, so I agreed to coach him. He takes the programs and workouts and can do them on his bike computer. He’s also following a nutrition plan, the day-to-day thing. He’s training six days a week and racing two to four times a month now.”
This spring, Boyle started with a return to the two-race Trooper Brinkerhoff Memorial Race Series in Coxsackie, where he placed 43rd and 26th in the men’s category 3 and 4 last year.
For road and track racing, grouping starts at category 5 and works up to category 1. If a certain race doesn’t offer a lower category, racers may choose to compete in the higher one closest to their ability.
This year, competing in category 4-5 on April 9 and 23, he won both Trooper Brinkerhoff races. Set at 40 miles, he won the first race in 1 hour, 31 minutes, 49 seconds, beating the runner-up by more than two and a half minutes. The second one he won in 1:31.57, with a 32-second gap over the runner-up.
“They were totally bad conditions the first time: 40 degrees and pouring,” Boyle said. “I’m not a stranger to aggressive tactics, so I attacked pretty early in the first race, got in front and rode by myself for about a little over an hour.
“I wanted that to work the second time but everyone knew what I’d try to do,” Boyle added. “So I kept attacking and attacking, but never could get ahead. But I finally got away in the last 20 minutes. It’s helpful to do different races differently.”
Though he is still technically a juniors rider, Boyle earned enough points from those victories to race adults in category 3. He did that in the 68-mile Hatfield [Massachusetts] Road Race on April 30, where he placed eighth out of 19 in 2 hours, 29 minutes, 59 seconds, but just three seconds behind the winner as a large group vied for the victory.
Boyle originally planned to take the SAT on May 7, but instead bypassed it to race in the New York State Juniors 17-18 Championship at Stony Point near Bear Mountain. It was a 42 1/2-mile race that Boyle described as “very hilly,” but he won it in 1 hour, 51 minutes, 38 seconds with a winning margin of 7 minutes, 8 seconds.
“It was a pretty comfortable lead,” Boyle said. “I came in feeling pretty good and strong. I knew as long as I didn’t crash, I’d have a good opportunity.”
With Boyle having added bicycling to his skill set of running and swimming, he likes the idea of competing in triathlons, but most of the ones still happening require competitors to be age 18.
Until that day comes, he’s intent on improving as a bicyclist. First there is a stage race over Memorial Day weekend at Killington Mountain in Vermont. Then he plans to compete in the USA Cycling Junior National Championships from July 26-Aug. 1 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
“In August there are a couple of races in Canada,” Boyle said. “Maybe if those go really well I might even do some fall ones in Europe.”