Pelotonia: A Ride Where Everybody Wins

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Next weekend I’ll be biking 100 miles as part of the Team ColumbUS Peloton, and a fair question to ask is why?

Certainly it’s a great cause. Raising money to find a cure for cancer, supporting those who are currently in treatment and those in recovery, and honoring my friends and relatives who I have lost to cancer—these are all reasons I support Pelotonia.

But why ride my bike for 100 grueling miles to raise money? It’s not like I’m one of those avid weekend country-road warriors who thinks a 100-mile ride is no big deal and just a relaxing way to pass a Sunday. Between summer weddings, work, volunteering, and committees I haven’t had time to do more than my regular visits to the gym. So, why not just make a generous donation?

This is why: For me there is something immensely satisfying in being part of something bigger than myself. Writing a check is all well and good (I did that too), but teaming up with a group of people and putting some sweat equity into making the world a better place—there’s no feeling like it.

Working at the Greater Columbus Arts Council and with so many organizations in Columbus, I see this idea play out often. I see nonprofits, and for-profits, government, volunteers, and individuals with a dream pull together and do amazing things that make our community better and stronger in ways that cannot be added up on a calculator.

This isn’t my first Pelotonia ride, it’s my sixth. My first was in 2008 with Team Buckeye. I was at Ohio State and we were one of the founding partners. My office was responsible for spreading the word across campus and finding a way to make it affordable for students to participate. I wasn’t about to ask students to do something I wasn’t willing to do, but I had no idea how rewarding the experience would be for me.

This year I am representing the Arts Council, along with my colleague Kez Hall, on a Peloton that includes riders from the Columbus Partnership, Columbus 2020, Rev1 Ventures, and The Columbus Chamber. Together we have hosted fundraisers (the photo above shows the Arts Council crew helping me and Kez at our fundraiser last week) and needled our friends and family to chip in all while theoretically getting in shape for our upcoming ride.

This will be Kez’s first Pelotonia ride, but as she bikes everywhere I have no doubt the miles to Gambier will be a breeze for her. I may need a lot of ibuprofen and ice when I’m done, but my spirit will be in great shape.

— Tom Katzenmeyer Keep up with Tom’s adventures on Twitter: @tomkatzenmeyer