Updated Fri, Aug 8, 2014 9:03 am
A group of 11 Athenians will be peddling in the sixth annual Pelotonia bicycle ride this weekend to raise funds for cancer research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The annual ride will leave Columbus on Saturday with riders embarking on routes of varying lengths depending on their desire and experience level.
For the first three years of the race, the route ended at Ohio University. However, the destination was changed to Kenyon College in Gambier (Knox County) in 2012.
Athens County resident Dave Beauvais has participated in Pelotonia for the past four years with a team — or peloton — from Columbus. He said there were several people from Athens who participated as individuals in the past, but this year several of those Athens riders decided to form their own Peloton for the first time.
The group is called Athens Rides and is comprised of Beauvais, Maghan Lunsford, Enrique Hermosilla, Maria Paz Hermosilla, Randy Leite, Barry Oches, Laura Petrus, Elizabeth Smith, John Valentour, Kim Valentour and Lorraine Wochna.
According to Beauvais, over 7,200 riders have registered for this year’s Pelotonia. He said individuals are asked to make a minimum fundraising commitment based on the length of their ride. Beauvais said his individual commitment is $2,200.
He said money is raised through a variety of fundraisers from bake sales to crafts, Tupperware parties and other special events. Family and friends of the riders are often asked to contribute as well.
Athens Rides organized a fundraising bike ride to Snowville Creamery in Meigs County about four weeks ago, which raised $440.
On Thursday, Beauvais said Athens Rides has raised $910 for the team as a whole. But individual funds raised by the team members totaled $11,838 on Thursday. The group has until mid-October to raise funds.
On Sept. 3, those who purchase lunch at Chipotle in Athens from noon to 2:30 p.m. can ask to have 50 percent of the cost of their meal donated to the Athens Rides peloton. Funds raised as a team can help make up the difference if individuals on the team don’t meet their individual fundraising goals.
Beauvais said that the Athens group has a range of experience. He said he has been riding since the mid-1990s and will be participating in the two-day 180-mile course. He said others will be doing 75 or 15 miles.
To prepare for this weekend’s event, members of Athens Rides were encouraged to bike as much as possible to get used to riding on public roads and using safety techniques.
This year will mark Petrus’ first Pelotonia.
“Through training for Pelotonia I have met some incredible people with some amazing stories,” she said. “We have some sensational people here in Athens that are so encouraging. When I first started I could hardly do 20 miles and had to walk most hills. I haven’t walked one in months and I’ve completed a 70-mile training ride. There’s no way could I have done that without the support and encouragement from people that ride in the Athens Bicycle Club and the members of the Athens Rides Pelotone.”
Donations to the Athens Ride Pelotone can be made online at www.pelotonia.org/athensrides.