Peloton Profiles: Hannah Saiz and Larae Schraeder
Several dozen Kenyonites, both current and former, will be riding among 6,000 others when Pelotonia kicks off tomorrow (a full list can be found here). They’re faculty and staff, students and alumni, and today we’re bringing you the stories of just two of them: Hannah Saiz ’13 and Larae Schraeder ’97. We’ll bring you two more profiles tomorrow, as the riders speed towards Gambier.
You may have heard of Hannah Saiz because of her status as a star Ladies swimmer, and, in fact, she admits she is “barely a cyclist.” Despite this, Saiz will be riding a full 100 miles along a winding route from Columbus to Gambier. Even though she is not riding in Pelotonia’s longest route (180 miles), Saiz says the ride “still remains a challenge [for her], and a representation of a difficulty that can only scratch the surface of the awful realization that settles in for someone who realizes he or she has cancer.” While Saiz has known people who have struggled with cancer, she says that for her, “riding in the Pelotonia is not about cancer — at least, not about cancer in the way that most people think. I am riding for myself, and for my curiosity.” For Saiz, pushing herself to ride 100 miles “is just a step in trying to understand” the immense difficulty of living with cancer.
Although she’s never participated in anything like Pelotonia before, Saiz did complete a triathlon last summer without any training beforehand. She also takes part in Relay For Life, another cancer-research fundraiser, with the swim team every year. Asked if she thinks Kenyon is up to the challenge of hosting such a huge event, Saiz said “Kenyon is the absolute best place to host events like this. Maybe it’ll feel a little over full with so many people, but it’s only one night, the ride is great publicity for Kenyon, and it gives Kenyon a chance to help with a great cause.”
Larae Schraeder graduated from the Hill in 1997, but she’s remained nearby: Schraeder got married at Kenyon several years ago, and currently works for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company in Columbus. According to her pelotonia.org profile, Schraeder was motivated to join Pelotonia this year in part because of the excitement of Kenyon being the event’s new destination. As with Saiz, Schraeder is riding not solely to fundraise, but to help get herself in shape and to feel good about riding for a good cause. There’s also a personal connection: “when I was a freshman at Kenyon in 1993,” Schraeder writes, “my grandfather helped me move into the dorms right before he started treatments for prostate cancer. The treatments worked, which meant he was still in my life four years later when he came to campus to celebrate my graduation and to schlep my stuff out of the dorms for the last time.”