I always hate this part.

Some people choose to stick their nose in their books from the first day of college and never look up until the day they walk across the stage, shake the dean's hand, and receive their diploma. Some party their asses off and eventually flunk out, or at least come really damn close to it. And there are others who only associate with a small group of people throughout college, usually the same people they hung out with throughout high school.

Well, thankfully, I'm none of the above.

Four years ago, I came to Penn State as a transfer student from community college. Although I knew a good number of people here at main campus, I figured it wouldn't hurt to find something to get involved in. You know, something to keep me physically active, something to stave off the evil 'freshman-15' that latches on to your midsection during your first year of classes and sticks with you for the rest of your life unless you stay fit through college.

During one of my many trips through the Hub that first week of classes, I stopped by to check out the involvement fair that was going on in Alumni Hall. Someone dressed in a Penn State Cycling jersey managed to coerce me into putting my name down on an e-mail list after I showed a bit of interest in the club... and well, four years later, here I am, writing what will probably be one of my last entries for this here blog.

On my first group ride, I somehow managed to drag my 40 pound clydesdale of a mountain bike to the top of Lower Trail in Shingletown, and all the way back down. I knew nary a soul on that ride, had not ridden a bicycle in quite a few years, and my bike was neither light nor comfortable, especially not on a rocky, rutted, root-covered trail like Lower Trail. That ride hurt. Hell, I was ready to give up before I even hit the trail. Still, people cheered me on and got me through that ride and back to campus. From that moment on, though, I was hooked.

I've since pedaled thousands of miles, driven thousands more to ECCC race weekends, won myself an ECCC race, shared many laughs, exited and re-entered the atmosphere with Vanya, learned how to turn a bike wrench properly (thanks, Sparky), built my own bike from the ground up, had a few falls, shed some blood, shared some beers, and made some of the best friends I'll ever have. I will seriously miss this club, its members, and every single experience that I've had over the years.

Sure, I probably could have devoted myself entirely to my studies throughout my time here at Penn State, but where's the fun in that? After all, the time that you enjoy wasting is never wasted time at all.

So, to those sticking around for another year or more, keep the spirit going. Recruit new riders in the fall. Maintain relationships with local sponsors. Upgrade from D's, C's, or B's. Win Easterns again! Most importantly: Ride your damn bikes and keep having fun doing it.

I'll definitely show up at a few races in the future to cheer you guys on and take some photos.


Pace car driver
Rec-ride leader
Graphic designer
Travel coordinator
Vintage steel rider

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