Natalie Ruscello is an Occupational Therapy student at The Ohio State University. She is a member of the Team Buckeye superpeloton and rides with Buckeye Student Riders. Natalie enjoys long-distance running and is a member of the Ohio State Triathlon Club. She also loves musical theater and participates in theater productions around Columbus. This will be Natalie’s third year riding in Pelotonia.

How did you get involved with Pelotonia, specifically with Team Buckeye? 
I first heard about Pelotonia when I was an undergraduate student from a classmate who was part of Team Buckeye. I wanted to participate but was afraid of the ride distance and the fundraising commitments.

When I became a graduate student, I had more cycling experience, and a friend of mine started a Team Buckeye peloton called Crops to the Clinic. Because I had always wanted to get involved, I joined her peloton. We dived in and rode together.

How many years have you been involved? What routes have you participated in? 
I have been involved with Pelotonia for two years, and I have ridden the 100-mile and 180-mile routes.

How do you train for the ride? 
Typically, I begin training in May once the weather is nicer. I do some shorter ride training by myself. However, I mostly train with my friend. We love riding from the campus area to Plain City, or riding the hills in Canal Winchester. I also join the Columbus Outdoor Pursuits rides whenever possible. They are based in Dublin and New Albany and provide great opportunities for mid-distance riding on weeknights. It is a great way to train and to gain group-riding skills.

Is there someone whom you ride for?
I ride for my mom, who overcame breast cancer, and for my friend Kyle who passed away in 2014 after a six-year battle with cancer.

What does Pelotonia’s one goal to end cancer mean to you? 
As one person, we can make only so much of a difference. Pelotonia gives us the opportunity to be part of something bigger and to join a community of people all fighting toward the same goal: end cancer. Pelotonia brings survivors, current patients, medical teams, researchers, students and other riders together to support one another emotionally. The money raised makes new research possible, but the event itself provides hope for those fighting and encourages medical teams to keep searching for a cure. 

Do you have a favorite/memorable moment from riding in Pelotonia?
One of my favorite moments is riding through Granville and seeing everyone who came out to support Pelotonia.  

What advice can you give for first-time participants?
Have fun and enjoy the ride! Pelotonia is not a race; it’s a journey. Take time to talk with survivors, your peloton and other experienced riders. Also, remember to rest at the stops and drink plenty of water. Lastly, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and take on a longer route.

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Whether you ride, virtually ride or volunteer, we want your Team Buckeye experience in Pelotonia to be inspiring and successful.