Grant Chudik is an undergraduate student in the College of Engineering. He is a member of the Team Buckeye superpeloton and rides with Buckeye Student Riders. When Grant isn’t busy with schoolwork, he does research at Ohio State’s Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute and is active in a business fraternity at Ohio State. This will be Grant’s 6th year participating in Pelotonia.
When did you first hear about Pelotonia?
I grew up in Westerville and remember hearing about it back in middle school. When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, he wanted to get involved with Pelotonia to help fight for a cure. My dad and a few of our neighbors decided to start riding.
How did you get involved with Pelotonia, specifically with Team Buckeye?
I started riding in Pelotonia the summer between my junior and senior year of high school with Team Huntington. When I became a student at Ohio State, I got involved with Team Buckeye Student Riders.
What routes have you participated in?
The first four years, I rode 180 miles, and last year I rode 50 miles.
How do you train for the ride?
I don’t like riding on my own. My mom and our neighbors also ride in Pelotonia, so I like to train with them. We all go on the big rides together, usually from Westerville to Galena and back.
Is there someone who you ride for?
My mom, sisters and I all ride for my dad. He was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was 13. After his diagnosis, he got involved with Pelotonia. In the years when he felt okay, he rode 50 miles. Unfortunately, the medication my dad was on stopped working, and he passed away my sophomore year of high school.
My dad was an inspiration to our family in the way fought the disease and still was involved with Pelotonia. After losing my dad, how can I not be involved with Pelotonia, especially when he tried to help when he was sick?
What does Pelotonia mean to you?
The first couple years I rode in Pelotonia, I didn’t fully absorb the weight of the event. But the more I thought about it and the more I dealt with the loss of my dad, I realized how important this event is. There is a man who stands at mile 60 with sign that says, “thank you for saving my wife’s life,” and when you see it, you know riding in Pelotonia is really helping people. Even though I lost my dad to cancer, there are people who are being helped and can still be helped by Pelotonia-funded research.
Do you have a favorite/memorable moment from riding in Pelotonia?
The first year I participated in Pelotonia, I rode with my two sisters and my one sister’s boyfriend. There’s a point at mile 70 where you can choose a hilly route or a less hilly route. We were feeling pretty good at that point and decided to take the hilly route. We all agreed it couldn’t be too bad.
The first few miles were fine, but then it got brutal. It was straight uphill and downhill. Because we all rode at different speeds, we would separate and meet back up on the top of each hill. One time we all took off together, and after five minutes, I looked back and no one was behind me. I decided to go back and check on them. All within five minutes, my one sister’s bike broke and my other sister had flipped over her handlebars. Thankfully, everything turned out fine. We were able to get the bike fixed, and my sister only had a few scrapes. Looking back, we all laugh. We also decided to never go on the hilly route again.
What advice can you give for first-time participants?
My best advice is to take in the moment. Soak in that fact that all the people cheering for you have had their lives impacted by cancer. Also, I appreciate how much Pelotonia means to the community.
Anything you’d like to add about Pelotonia that we haven’t covered?
When I started getting involved with research at the Davis Heart and Lung Institute, I saw firsthand how Pelotonia funding is being used to facilitate studies. I’ve seen graduate and medical students, and private investigators move forward with work and projects because of Pelotonia funding. Continuing to expand cancer research validates why we all ride.