By Marisa Penkauskas
Over the past five weeks, 145 colleges from across North America came together in their rec centers to represent their schools and ride their virtual reality Expresso bikes in a tournament unlike any other: the 2015 Fall Frenzy. The bikes have screens with over 40 digital roads and trails to choose from, and the Fall Frenzy is a competitive March-Madness style tournament that encourages students to make friends, work together with rec staff, and get fit by riding them. But mostly, the tournament is about fun!
Schools competed in 48-hour rounds that consisted of upsets, late-night cycling parties, and new-found friends. Participants didn’t mind that resistance builds up in the pedals of these bikes as hills appear on the screen, and enjoyed that they allowed them to shift and steer as they went. Schools competed for t-shirts, banners, as well as the championship title and coveted Golden Spokes trophy.
After a rigorous, record-breaking championship round, the exhausted but elated students, staff, and faculty at Saint Mary’s College of CA counted down with the clock and shot confetti in the air to celebrate their victory over last year’s defending champion, Schoolcraft College!
Saint Mary’s College of CA—5,126 miles
Schoolcraft College—3,771 miles
The Saint Mary Gaels—led by Assistant Director of Recreation Programs Kevin Grant, Jennifer Deasy in Aquatics, and Ashley Anand and Danielle DiMeglio of Recreation Operations—managed an upset in winning the event. By putting up Frenzy decorations, flyers, and even a snack table near the bikes to fuel the team, they enticed 244 people in the Saint Mary’s community to hop on the bikes in the two-day championship round. Between setting up music and keeping up with refreshments, Kevin said, “We are loving this event and it has been an ‘all hands on deck’ mentality—so much fun. The member community of SMC deserve all the credit. We noticed a strong sense of community throughout the event. Diverse and distinct members were involved in creating an enthusiastic environment throughout the tournament. The students saw this challenge as an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the Saint Mary’s College community.”
Meanwhile, the Schoolcraft Ocelots broke records and won victories of their own. Pat Mog in facility operations supported the team by riding through the night. In any given round, he never rode less than 100 miles. His best round occurred in the Super Sixteen, up against Lock Haven University, where he rode 356 miles. He now holds the record for most miles ridden in the tournament—1,142 miles—beating out Joey Wilmot at Houghton College by 382 miles!
Lisa Cunningham, Fitness Lead, and Patty Donohue, Fitness Center Manager, led Schoolcraft to victory last year and were out to defend their championship title. Despite being defeated by the Gaels in the final round of the 2015 Fall Frenzy, the Ocelots broke a record for the most miles ridden in any Fall Frenzy tournament with 13,860 miles. Lisa spoke about their strategy this year: “There was a positive energy in the fitness center all day long and we were blessed to have a lot of determined riders who put the team first. It was no longer about individual miles and goals, but more about the speed and getting fresh legs on the bikes.”
Students from both schools used the #ExpressoFallFrenzy hashtag to both recruit more riders to their rec center and get them pumped about the final round.
— M Burkey (@PaleoBurkey) October 28, 2015
The All-Tournament Team consists of the top 25 riders that ride the most miles throughout the duration of the tournament. They receive honors and a special t-shirt to represent their victory as an asset to their teams.
- Pat Mog – Schoolcraft College – 1,142 miles
- Tamara Wrone – Schoolcraft College – 707 miles
- Christine Lehman-Engledow – University of Iowa – 542 miles
- John King – Houghton College – 540 miles
- Brendan McLaughlin – Marist College – 522 miles
- Michael Waldyke – Schoolcraft College – 415 miles
- Jennifer Deasy – Saint Mary’s College of CA – 404 miles
- Charles Whitehouse – Saint Mary’s College of CA – 402 miles
- M Burkey – University of Iowa – 384 miles
- Josh Harper – Saint Mary’s College of CA – 366 miles
- Jake Fedewa – Schoolcraft College – 359 miles
- billy smythe – Schoolcraft College – 359 miles
- Ethan Fox – Marist College – 352 miles
- Stephanie Omlin – SUNY – Binghamton – 347 miles
- Mark Valentino – Marist College – 341 miles
- Ray Mattingly – Marist College – 332 miles
- Dyche Anderson – Schoolcraft College – 320 miles
- Nick van Saten – Saint Mary’s College of CA – 319 miles
- Mark Zajicek – Carnegie Mellon University – 315 miles
- Mark Rotondi – Marist College – 315 miles
- Branden Kitchen – Gannon University – 311 miles
- Jim Seay – Schoolcraft College – 304 miles
- Ryan M. Lamberton – Saint Mary’s College of CA – 297 miles
- Joshua Costa – Schoolcraft College – 295 miles
- Thomas Marshall – University of South Dakota – 290 miles
In the end—over the course of five tough weeks—2,375 riders rode a combined 59,000 miles and burned over 2,000,000 calories on their Expresso bikes. All the schools came together as a community and put sweat, time, and effort into each ride. We can’t wait until next year’s Fall Frenzy to see the competition ramp up yet again!