The Rider

June 9, 2010

A Walk On The Weiler Side

Filed under: Rider Profiles, Team Pelotonia — The Blog @ 6:01 AM

Griffin in action during a triathlon

At some point in the not-so-distant future, Griffin Weiler will be faced with a difficult decision: a career in the business world – or as a professional triathlete.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do both at the highest level.

“I love both of them,” said the senior-to-be and economics major at Penn State, who is also a member of Team Pelotonia powered by roll:. “But I’m happy I have the opportunity to choose between two things I really enjoy … and right now I’m leaning more toward my (economics/business) career.”

One choice that wasn’t difficult was getting involved with Pelotonia. Fundraising and service to the community are Weiler family traditions, as are triathlons – and now, peddling the Pelotonia. The four Weilers – parents Peter and Karen, Griffin, 21, and his brother, Mac, 18 – will all be riding again this year.

“We literally rode together the whole way last year, we did the 180-mile route and we’re going to do it again this year,” Griffin said.

Peter and Griffin compete together in triathlons. This is obviously an old photo - as Peter is wearing a Penn State shirt! We won't tell Gordon Gee, if you don't.

He grew up in State College, PA, where Peter was vice president for development and alumni relations at Penn State.

Peter was also a triathlete – and passed this passion on to his sons.

“Once he had the kids, and with work, he stopped doing it,” Griffin explained. “Then when I was 15, I started getting into it and decided to do a race and he decided he’s do it with me – and it took off from there.”

Peter beat Griffin in that first race – and it took a few more years for the son to finally surpass the father.

“I think when it happened it was pride and probably it was a bit of a bummer for him,” Griffin said.

Griffin is now a top age-group triathlete – and is strong enough in the cycling portion of these grueling races to keep up with the other members of Team Pelotonia. He and Alex Pratt, a fellow Nittany Lion, started the team – and Alex is Pelotonia’s director of procurement.

Peter was named Ohio State’s senior vice president for university development in 2007 – and is in charge of all of the university’s fundraising efforts.

At Penn State, Griffin is also involved in fund raising, as a board member of the Penn State Dance Marathon. The group does indeed sponsor a non-stop, 46-hour dance marathon, plus dozens of other fundraising events. Last year, it raised $7.8 million – and the money goes to fight pediatric cancer.

On to the bike...

“I found my calling,” Griffin said of his involvement in what’s known as “the THON.” He’s also discovered he’s a whiz at organization – and oversees thousands of student volunteers.

The THON was started in 1973, is the nation’s largest student-run philanthropic group – and has raised more than $60 million.

Griffin now spend his summers in Central Ohio, with his parents – and last summer he got involved with the inaugural Pelotonia, as volunteer and rider. Peter is a member of the Pelotonia board of director.

“How many times in our lives do we have the opportunity to truly give back, with no strings attached, and help people who need help,” Griffin said. “We can get on our bikes and ride for people who can’t get on their bikes.”

All of these activities – school, training, a summer internship, volunteer work and even a bit of a social life – eat up a lot of hours. It takes dedication and discipline – and the ability to operate on only a few hours of sleep a night – to make it all work.

A scene from the THON at PSU

“Yeah, it can be hard to get up at 5 in the morning when I don’t want to,” Griffin said of his hectic schedule. “But I know I’m connected to the Thon and Pelotonia and the team and that I’m not just training and racing for myself. I’m racing for everyone involved in the organizations and everyone who needs our support.”

10 Things About Griffin…

Favorite ride

Maine

Dream ride

The French Alps

Current bike

Giant TCR Advanced

Dream bike

The SL version of his current bike

Favorite movie

Tommy Boy

Favorite TV show

30 Rock

Favorite book

Into Thin Air

Favorite musician/group

Frank Sinatra

Favorite athlete

Chris Lieto

Favorite post-ride meal

A burger at Five Guys

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1 Comment »

  1. I met this guy in person. If I had a baby, I’d want him to autograph my baby – he’s that cool. That sounds sarcastic but it’s mostly serious. Best of luck to Grif, all the Pelotonia riders, and the Pelotonia mission!

    Comment by Jim C. — June 12, 2010 @ 10:20 AM


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