In years past, the cycling club would congregate in front of Brotman Hall every Friday and Saturday morning to prepare for their ride.
Among them was president Jeffrey Sau who said that there’s nothing like the rush that comes from cycling.
“I joined the club because i figured it was my gateway to the world of racing and I also wanted to ride with some people who also enjoy biking. Racing for me, riding for me in general is freedom,” Sau said. “Nothing beats the speed on flat areas and grinding on hills to keep up with the pack. Although it’s painful at times it’s never not fun. I love going fast and feeling the adrenaline.”
However, the coronavirus pandemic is keeping the Beach’s cycling club from its usual 8 a.m. gathering time.
Brian Coriaty, associate director of Club Sports and Recreation, said in an email to Sau that the cycling club can no longer engage in in-person activity for the remainder of the semester, per recommendations from the Long Beach Health Department.
Breaking the news of the school’s disapproval for meeting in person wasn’t the first time Sau had to break some bad news to the club. In March, the club was shut down due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. The timing of which, Sau said, was absolutely awful.
Sau and vice president Joshua Villas spent the month of January learning how to run the team and encourage its members from previous cycling leaders German Rodriguez and Enrique Coral. The upcoming race season was highly anticipated following a less than desirable fall season of last year.
Sau and Villas took over the leadership of the club when Gerry Guttierez, founder of the Beach Cycling club, died in a cycling accident during a race he was participating in at El Dorado Park.
“A reason we chose to continue the club is we saw that Gerry still had love for cycling up until his unfortunate passing,” Sau said. “Still desiring to foster a community of people who love cycling and sharing that joy with people who love cycling and sharing that joy with people who don’t have experience or piquing interest in cycling.”
Morgan James, the club’s newest member, is a former East Tennessee State University women’s triathlete and strong advocate for women’s cycling. Her arrival has added to the positivity around the club’s redeveloped squad.
Like most other programs at the Beach, Villas, Sau and James have to train separately until at least 2021, according to Coriaty. The future of the 2021 race season has yet to be determined.
With a $300 Associated Students, Inc. grant, club treasurer Heliodoro Sigala and Sau are working on adding activities that welcome recreational riders. The club’s focus is now on increasing membership by scheduling rides like “Slow Saturday,” a moderate morning ride that ends with coffee and donuts.
First-timers, experts or recreational riders are welcomed, said Villas, if and when things go back to normal. The Club and Recreations Department said in an email that further instruction and decisions “depend completely on the health climate, regulators and California State University guidelines.”
If the club is permitted to resume group activity, the city of Long Beach’s bike path guidelines from the Public Information Office will be enforced. According to the city’s press release, individuals engaging in outdoor activity should stay six feet away from others that don’t live in the same household, wear a face covering and avoid crowded areas.
If interested, Beach students can contact Sau or Villas by searching the club on BeachSync via the Okta portal.