College aims for a repeat victory this Fall Frenzy
BY ELAINE GEROU
Get ready to sweat, burn off calories and relentlessly compete with other colleges, because this year, Schoolcraft is hungry for a repeat performance in the Fall Frenzy bike tournament.
This October marks the third annual Fall Frenzy tournament sponsored through Expresso Bikes. What occurs is intense stationary biking during five rounds of competition, each of which are 48 hours long. This lasts for five consecutive weeks from Tuesday at 12 a.m. to Thursday at 12 a.m. each week. The participating colleges and universities that bike the most miles advance to the next round. The first round will shrink the pool from 140 teams to 16 and then progress similarly to a March Madness tournament.
What makes this biking event unique are the Expresso bikes. They are all equipped with interactive screens above the handlebars to project a virtual course in front of the biker. There are over 40 courses to choose from that all have different scenery and elevation changes. Bikers are able to physically turn and switch gears unlike typical stationary bikes.
Due to the elevation change feature the bikes also offer, Lisa Cunningham and Jake Fedewa, both Fitness Leads organizing the event, suggest riding easier courses, so it is easier to bike more miles. Two of the best options are the Expresso Speedway one-mile loop with no elevation change and the Campus Loop, which are four to five miles with less than 100 feet elevation change.
“Even the experienced riders do it [bike the Expresso Speedway] because you can do it the fastest, and you just keep going around,” said Cunningham.
Last year, Schoolcraft came out on top of the 124 colleges that participated to win the Golden Spokes Trophy.
“It was exciting—the energy in the Fitness Center was great. We had involvement from students, community members, faculty and staff. Everyone was very supportive,” said Cunningham.
A $500 professional development scholarship was also awarded to Schoolcraft for the win, which was given to two students with high GPAs and who biked many contributing miles.
Jose Ramirez was one of the scholarship winners last year with 485 miles under his belt after the 10 days he was able to bike.
“At first, I wasn’t that committed, but once I saw there was a lot of involvement, I got hyped, so I started coming at midnight,” said Ramirez. “When I heard that we were going against other schools like Louisiana State University and State University of New York, I was like ‘I want to beat those guys.’”
Ramirez would bike two to three hours at a time into the early hours of the morning and sometimes go to sleep just to wake up to hop on the bike again.
Although Ramirez has an intense school and work schedule he plans to ride as much as he can this tournament because he said all it’s a great environment—even at midnight. He said all the bikers joke with and compete against each other to push everyone to do their best.
Jack Washka, who has been a physical education professor at Schoolcraft for 48 years, biked about 70 miles last year and even offers his students extra credit for participating in the event, giving them incentive to start riding.
“It’s a chance for students to get to know each other in a different way and center themselves around one goal,” said Washka. “We are under the gun. We have to produce or we get knocked out.”
To win last year, it took over 300 people for Schoolcraft to reach 11,522 miles. Schoolcraft aims to match that effort this year and even increase miles ridden. One bike has been added to the collection at the Fitness Center, boosting it to nine, so higher mileage should be attainable. Word of mouth promotion will be necessary for greater results though.
“We don’t want to see those bikes empty for those 48 hours,” said Fedewa.
Even for people who have little time and are unable to ride multiple miles at a time, Schoolcraft would like their help.
“Every mile counts,” add Ramirez.
The Fall Frenzy will officially begin Tuesday, Oct. 6 at midnight, and the Fitness Center will be open the entire 48 hour round. Make sure to get a membership to the Fitness Center and set up an account on an Expresso bike before the craze begins.
The roads may be digital, but the sweat is real. Join in on the fun, and help defend the title for Schoolcraft. For more information or to follow the tournament,