If you’ve read my blog long enough, you may know that I’m a proud graduate of Juniata College! I try to find reasons to return to campus. This year, I’m honored to serve as President of the Alumni Association – so I find all kinds of reasons to return and give back to the place that has given me so much (I even found my wife there!!).
A number of months ago, I happened to meet a current Senior, Nate, who happens to be active in Juniata College’s Cycling Association. As far as I know, this club didn’t exist when I was in school (of course, I wasn’t really riding at the time – so there’s a chance it existed and I just didn’t know). Nate and I exchanged some good cycling banter – and we agreed that there should be some alumni/student rides at some point in the future.
Well, Juniata’s Homecoming Weekend occurred last weekend – and I was on campus helping out with some events. Luckily, Nate had contacted me prior to coming up – and we arranged for a ride during the weekend. Even better, we decided to hit the Allegrippis Trails right outside of town!
If you missed it, I did a quick review on the Allegrippis Trails earlier this year. If you don’t want to go back and read it now, I’ll give you some quick highlights:
- Windy, fast singletrack
- Approximately 26 miles of trails
- Hoop-de-hoops galore!
- Did I mention windy and fast?
So, I was fortunate enough to combine a number of things I love in one day: mountain biking and Juniata College. If only my wife and kids were along to ride on my back, it would have been even more perfect!
We started out Sunday morning – and I expected the Fall morning to be a little too cold for my tastes. I couldn’t wimp out, though. Fortunately, the morning wasn’t as cold as I had anticipated – and my warmer cycling gear kept me plenty warm.
There were seven of us that hit the trails that morning:
- Three current students
- Their faculty advisor
- The father and brother of one of those students
- And me
As usual, anytime you ride with some cycling buddies for the first time, there’s always a sense of angst. You’re not quite sure how you’ll fare among them. This time was no different. These kids were half my age and were skinny guys.
We started out – and they were generous enough to let me tag along without getting too far behind. A few times, they turned on their afterburners and took off – but never in a way that made me feel too out of place (or out of shape enough to turn in my cycling card).
And they were super-friendly and a lot of fun. Easy to joke around with (which is a necessity in the sport of cycling). Overall, they exemplified the typical student who is perfect for Juniata! They even let me in on their private Cycling Club Facebook page (I feel so exclusive!!).
Now, I get updates on the fun things they’re doing on campus. Who knows? Maybe I’ll just be able to make it to one (or some) of the events in the upcoming year!
I hope they learned something from me, too. The networking that is so important as these students start entering the workplace is so important. Not everyone is into golf (not me!). These networking sessions are more important than “hard sell” meetings. Just relax. Have fun. You just never know where things will lead.
So – Thanks Juniata College Cycling Association! Ride on!