Three years, 540 miles and $25.47 million later, Pelotonia cyclists will ride a new route to Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, for the August 2012 event.
Since its beginning in 2009, the annual grassroots bicycle ride to raise cancer research funds for the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute has taken riders south to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, said Jessica Kinman, director of publicity and communications for Pelotonia.
Though the specific routes have not been set, registration for the Aug. 10-12 event opened Tuesday.
Kinman said the terrain on the new routes will be different than in previous years, but will still include hills.
“(The northeastern part) of Ohio has more terrain that you can get through,” Kinman said. “When you head southeast in Ohio, there’s just not a lot of things you can get around.”
The new route will showcase new scenery, something Kinman said she thinks riders will be excited about.
“The northeastern part of the state is beautiful. Kenyon College is a beautiful campus,” Kinman said. “I think people are excited to see it up there.”
Also new this year are additional distance options including 25-, 50-, 75-, 100-, 155- and 180-mile rides, Kinman said.
Karl Koon is the director of rider recruitment for Team Buckeye, a large group of cyclists from the Ohio State community that collectively raised more than $1.8 million for last year’s ride.
Koon said he is looking forward to the change in terrain.
“In the past, people always hear about Starner Hill, which was this huge hill that everyone who was doing the 100 or the 180 (-mile ride to Ohio University) got to encounter,” Koon said. “So hopefully the new route will provide some unique challenges of its own.”
Andrew Fast, leader of the OSU student team and a fourth-year in accounting, said he hopes the new route and distance options will encourage more students to participate.
“The route change … is really going to help out with students who aren’t serious bikers because it’s going to make it a more possible event,” Fast said. “There’s more flexibility in terms of how far you want to ride.”
Though he said the route change will be a good way to open the event up to everybody, Fast said he will miss some of the challenges of the old route.
“I am a fairly serious cyclist so I’m kind of going to miss (Starner) Hill,” Fast said. “It was one of those things that you hate when you’re doing it but you feel so good when you’re done.”
Blake Chaney, a third-year in zoology and rider management captain of the OSU student team, said he will also miss some of the challenges of the old route.
As a veteran Pelotonia rider, Chaney said he is looking forward to a change of scenery and variety in training routes leading up to the main event.
“It will be nice, especially for the people like me who have ridden the whole way through each year, to do a new route,” Chaney said. “It will be a much more scenic ride for the weekend of the big ride for Pelotonia in August.”
During the 2010 ride, Michelle Kazlausky, 57, was killed when she was hit by a truck Aug. 21 in Hocking County. The Lantern reported Sept. 26, 2010, that failed brakes on the truck were linked to the crash.
Jon Fish, a fourth-year in finance, said the new route won’t be affecting his decision to participate in this year’s ride.
Last year was his first time participating in the ride and he said he was impressed by the support the riders received and found it easy to raise funds for the event.
“The cool thing about it was there was just a ton of support along the way,” Fish said. “The fun part is not the destination, it’s the ride itself.”