The Rider

August 11, 2010

Roland Along For Pelotonia

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

Roland Kreml was new to cycling a year ago – and like everyone else, was new to Pelotonia when he arrived for the Friday-night registration/opening ceremonies at the inaugural ride.

The first Pelotonia ride had a big impact on Roland

He was with a friend, who took him over to the survivor’s tent – and introduced him to an elderly woman, who was a cancer survivor.

“When we were leaving she shook my hand and asked if I was riding,” Roland said. “I told her I was and she looked me I the eyes and said ‘thank you.’ That changed what this was all about for me. She had understood what it was really all about and now I did.”

Roland is the captain of Team O-H-I-O, which includes about 35 Ohio State staffers who know what Pelotonia is all about and want to be part of something special.

“We’re also riding for a woman who worked in the office,” said Roland, who is the IT director for university development. “She died (about two weeks ago) and was very special to all of us in the department. She was a great person, she always had a smile for everyone.”

Riding isn’t something Roland did much of until last year when he started training for Pelotonia.

Like so many others, he had put away his bike after high school or college – and forgot all about the joys and stress-relieving magic of riding. Pelotonia has helped rekindle this love affair for Roland and so many others.

Here's Roland and some friends at the innaugural Pelotonia ride

“It has changed my life,” said Roland, who has lost about 20 pounds over the past year and is in great shape. “I enjoy it because, at work, we have all these on-going, big projects that take a long time to complete. With riding you start in the morning and after a certain amount of miles, you’re done. It’s fun and a challenge and helps clear your head.”

As he’s gotten more experienced, Roland has learned all about the social and communal aspects of cycling.

“The biker’s code is if you see someone with a problem, you help out,” he said.

This recently happened to Roland after he blew a tire – and was struggling with the new-fangled CO2 cartridge/pump he had just bought.

“A group of riders came by and stopped and asked if I needed any help,” said Roland, who did need help – and got it from a few members of the biking community.

Roland and his wife, Tonya, have two children, Tara, 11, and Wayne, 9, who is already starting to get the bike bug according to his proud father.

This year Roland plans to ride the 102-mile route to Athens during Pelotonia – and it will be his first-ever century ride.

It sounds like he’s ready.

He’s done a few metric centuries – 100 kilometers, or 62 miles – and has been experimenting with what and how much to eat and drink.

Look for this logo on the jerseys of the TEAM O-H-I-O peloton

As much as he’s excited to conquer his first 100-mile ride, Roland knows the physical challenge and sense of accomplishment for a ride well done are only part of the Pelotonia equation.

All he has to do is think back to the woman he met at last year’s ride and the coworker who recently lost her cancer battle. And then there’s the TEAM O-H-I-O jersey.

“It has a Block O on the back,” Roland said. “And what makes up the Block O are all the names of the people we’re riding for … and it’s very special to us. And the scary thing is the more we talk to people about Pelotonia, the more you find out how many people have been affected by cancer. It’s everywhere and too many people are suffering.”

10 things about Roland…

Favorite ride

Pelotonia

Dream ride

Austria

Current Pelotonia bike

Fuji Delrey

Dream bike

Not sure yet

Favorite movie

Aliens

Favorite band/singer

Sting

Favorite TV show

Leverage

Favorite book

The Cuckoo’s Egg

Favorite athlete

Chris Spielman

Favorite post-ride meal

Steak, mashed potatoes and a Guinness

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