In his career as a guidance counselor at Newburgh Free Academy, Thomas Hill ’96 helps students identify their interests, set reasonable goals, and plan actions to reach those goals. The 2013 first-place winner of Tour de Syracuse and the New York State Bicycle Racing Association Championship (both category 4) uses the same strategies in his pursuit of victory in cycle racing.
Four years ago, Hill was content to enjoy cycling as a way to socialize with friends. “When I bought my first road bike, I thought I’d never race it. Then the competitive side of me took over, and I decided to train for an event,” he said. Now, he’s on the road for approximately 150 miles a week. On a recent outing, he completed 6,000 feet of climbing over a 45-mile stretch.
“Basically, we just climbed four mountains that day,” Hill said. “I go out with the goal of torturing myself.” By pushing beyond the limits of the previous training session, Hill builds strength and endurance. As a positive side benefit, he has lost 50 to 60 pounds and gained stamina.
“Racing is a great motivation to get in shape,” Hill said. “Every pound on your body, you carry with you on every cycling session. Having that race goal in my mind, reaching for the win, helps me focus on my health and fitness.”
As NYSBRA champion, category 4, Hill could have been content to maintain the status quo. But, instead, he has continued to train hard and compete aggressively. By conquering his own best times and adding wins, he has moved to category 3. The upgrade to a more competitive category has made a big change in Hill’s goals and expectations, and he focuses now on improving his time rather than on winning each race he enters.
Hill and his wife, Sandra, a school nurse teacher, live in Walden with their six-year-old son, Thomas, who spends a lot of time riding his BMX bike.
Hill says he is proud to be part of an “Oswego Family.” His mother, Deborah Dixson Hill ’66 and father, Paul Hill ’66, met in Symphonic Choir when Dr. Maurice Boyd was the director. Before retirement, Paul taught chemistry at Newburgh Free Academy, and Deborah was a reading specialist at the elementary level. Both work part-time in college-level education programs.
“My parents were careful not to influence me in my college decision,” Hill said. “I had a few choices in mind, but when I visited the campus, that clinched it for me.” He majored in Zoology and Spanish at Oswego, and earned a master’s of science degree at Fordham University.
Hill’s mother is not surprised that he has excelled at road racing. “Tom was always a good athlete,” she said, “and he loves moving fast.” Still, it is the slower, more serene moments at his alma mater that stay with him today.
“I’ll always be grateful for the years I spent at Oswego,” Hill said. “Some of my fondest memories are those of just relaxing at the shore with friends.”
—Linda Loomis ’90 M’97