Department staffers countdown to Pelotonia

A total of 13 members of the department of athletics will make their official cycling debut in the second-annual Pelotonia race to benefit the fight against cancer. With Saturday’s event fast approaching, the crew of staff cyclists is roughly two-thirds of its way to raising its commitment of $15,000.

To raise his portion, Scott Neeley put his expertise in event and camp management into perhaps the most intricate cornhole tournament in the history of the “sport.” The 17-team event, consisting of a World Cup style pool format and bracket, was held last Saturday in Dublin. Although Scott’s negotiations with Big Ten Network for live TV coverage fell through, the event nonetheless was a complete success, raising $450. (Read tournament recap).

With his fundraiser in the books, Neeley is focused on his final days of training, employing somewhat unconventional methods in prep for his rookie race.

“I have a bike. The tires are flat and the brakes don’t work, but still, I have a bike,” Neeley explained. “As you can imagine, I have been training hard on a stationary bike. As long as someone can drive in front of me so I can watch a movie I will be golden.”

Alissa Clendenen, of athletics communications, has taken a different approach than Neeley and has been seen cramming her set of wheels into the Fawcett Center elevators.

“Training is going well,” Clendenen, who keeps a daily race countdown at her office desk, said. “I was enjoying the bike rides to work until this streak of 90-degree days hit, but I guess that will benefit my training.”

The race will be especially challenging for Clendenen as she has been asked to update her Twitter account after every completed mile.

“You just gotta love social media! My plan has changed a little though. I’ll only be tweeting at all water stops. I don’t want Ben Jay coming after me for texting and driving violations,” Clendenen said.

Mike Penner, associate athletics director for event management, has incorporated a yearly summer activity into his training, by zipping around the bases in his Thursday night softball league games.

“By about mile 23, I might really be longing for the softball diamond. Or better yet, the dugout bench,” Penner said.

After examining the course map, Beth Malafa of fan experience may find herself in agreement with Penner.

“The second half of the race will be all uphill, much more challenging than the Fawcett Center stairs.” Malafa said.

Team captain Tom McGinnis was unavailable for comment in this story. To avoid any outside distraction, he is boycotting the media until the end of the race.

~ the Associated Press did not contribute (in any way) to this story.

There’s Still Time to Give

All kidding aside, Pelotonia is an event aimed at supporting a cause to fight a debilitating disease that touches so many individuals, friends and families.

Clendenen summed up the significance of the cause:

“I am more anxious than anything. I started training for the 102-mile event back in March, so I am probably as ready as I will ever be. I am choosing to concentrate on how awesome it will feel to finish … not only because it will be a culmination of six months of hard work, but because I will know I did my small part in the quest to find a cure for cancer, and to honor my friend Adam, who died from leukemia 10 years ago at the age of 17.”

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Every dollar raised by Pelotonia and its riders goes directly to fund cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

*Remember contributions are tax deductable

OSUDA Staff Peletonia Riders:

  • Tom McGinnis
  • Alissa Clendenen
  • David Dobbins
  • Lisa Frey
  • Don Gromala
  • Raymont Harris
  • Nick Maddron
  • Elizabeth Malafa
  • Scott Neeley
  • Mike Penner
  • Tom Ryan
  • Chris Schneider
  • Laura Waters-Brown