11 - Final Four Graphic

The Expresso Fall Frenzy saga continues! Last week, students at LSU, SUNY Binghamton, Gannon, and Schoolcraft put their quads into action to push their teams ahead—each school competing for pride, glory, and the legendary Golden Spokes trophy. Read a recap of the tournament’s Elite Eight round to get caught up to speed!

Over the past four weeks of the Fall Frenzy, 2,226 riders from 124 colleges have ridden a combined 46,154 miles and burned over 1,600,000 calories on their Expresso virtual reality bikes. Now just two teams remain in the tournament!

Results from the Final Four

In the Final Four, LSU and SUNY Binghamton—who both appeared in the finals last year—were upset by Schoolcraft, seeded 13, and unseeded newcomer Gannon University.

Schoolcraft—3,335 miles vs. LSU—2,099 miles
Gannon—2,535 miles vs. SUNY Binghamton—1,986 miles

Schoolcraft started strong and quickly drew a few hundred miles ahead of LSU. The Schoolcraft Ocelots then broke away from the defending champion and finished with over 1,000 miles more than the LSU Tigers. Coach Tommy Moffitt of LSU had expressed concerns with moving into the Final Four during football season: “The Final Four challenge is going to be tough; we’re missing some of our good riders from last year.” But, never been one to back down easily, he ended his statement with a resounding, “Here we go!”

Gannon made waves in their first Frenzy by putting up huge numbers in the early rounds of the tournament. In the Final Four round against last year’s runner-up, they took off out of the gate and never looked back. In just the first 20 minutes of competition, the Gannon Knights logged over 20 miles.

Gannon University, a first-time college in the Frenzy, beat out every opponent school by about 1,000 miles in every round.

Gannon University, a first-time college in the Frenzy, beat out every opponent school by about 1,000 miles in every round.

Houghton College may have fallen out of the tournament in the Elite Eight round two weeks ago, but that didn’t stop Joey Wilmot from driving two and a half hours to SUNY Binghamton to put in some miles for their team and to keep a firm hold on his title as one of the top ten riders in the tournament. After adding an extra 152 miles for SUNY Binghamton to his personal total, he’s now the #1 rider in the Expresso Fall Frenzy.

Individual riders are competing to be a part of the All-Tournament team. The following riders have ridden the most miles throughout the overall tournament:

  1. Joey Wilmot – Houghton – 609 miles
  2. Justin Thomas – SUNY Binghamton – 590 miles
  3. David Geyer – LSU – 508 miles
  4. Joshua Costa – Schoolcraft – 460 miles
  5. Brian Johnson – LSU – 434 miles
  6. Nathan Hatch – Houghton – 411 miles
  7. Abby Quinn – Gannon – 334 miles
  8. Brian Ratajczak – Gannon – 333 miles
  9. Scott B – SUNY Binghamton – 330 miles
  10. Pat Mog – Schoolcraft – 315 miles

448 riders from the Final Four teams rode for a combined 10,000 miles in 48 hours and burned over 315,000 calories. The effort from all the teams was incredible, and hopefully they’ve inspired you to take advantage of your own rec center’s stationary bikes—build up the miles and burn some calories!

The Championship Round

SCHOOLCRAFT (13) vs. GANNON

After losing last year’s Sweet 16 round to the University of Rochester, the Schoolcraft Ocelots have made it all the way to the Championships this year and are hoping to soon see the Golden Spokes trophy gleaming in their rec center. Gannon University installed their bikes only one month before the Frenzy but didn’t waste a minute getting acclimated and building their team. Both teams are going into the last round with over 100 riders and their eyes on the prize.

Tune into the exciting last round of the Expresso Fall Frenzy, which is taking place right now and will end at midnight EST, to see which team will capture the Golden Spokes trophy!

10 - Elite 8 Graphic

Every year, Interactive Fitness hosts the Fall Frenzy tournament where schools across the country battle to see who can bike the most miles on the digital roads of Expresso interactive bikes. The event promotes personal fitness through fun yet fierce competition, students joining together for long hours at the gym all to represent their schools. 2014’s five-week tournament began with 124 colleges across the country. Three rounds of competition—each lasting 48 hours—and 36,189 miles later, just four teams remain.

Results from the Elite Eight

The four teams moving into the Final Four are LSU, SUNY Binghamton, Gannon, and Schoolcraft.

LSU – 1,413 miles vs. Carthage – 1,327 miles
SUNY Binghamton – 1,849 miles vs. SUNY Oswego – 1,288 miles
Gannon – 1,514 miles vs. Vanderbilt – 960 miles
Schoolcraft – 2,147 miles vs. Houghton – 1,865 miles

The drama of the last two days of the Expresso Fall Frenzy was like nothing we have ever witnessed. Strong riders from eight colleges—competing for pride, glory, and the legendary Golden Spokes trophy— poured sweat over their Expresso virtual reality bikes to push their teams ahead.

SUNY Binghamton and SUNY Oswego battled it out with a 100-mile gap until the last few hours of the tournament. The runner-up college from last year’s Frenzy, Binghamton was out for blood, breaking free in the last five hours to end up with over 500 miles more than Oswego.

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The Battle of the SUNYs! As the runner-up school from last year’s Frenzy, SUNY Binghamton beat out their neighboring school, SUNY Oswego, in the Elite Eight.

Houghton College, a newbie school to the Fall Frenzy, was overtaken by Schoolcraft. Last year, Schoolcraft, which is currently seeded 13, rode only hundreds of miles and was knocked out in the Sweet 16 round by the University of Rochester. This year, Schoolcraft rode thousands of miles to knock out Houghton. This was despite Nathan Hatch’s 185 miles and Joey Wilmot’s incredible push—he rode 175 miles in 48 hours! Houghton’s getting knocked out of the competition was an upset for Wilmot, who was the top rider in the overall tournament by mileage, having ridden 457 miles these past three weeks.

Individual riders are also competing to be a part of the All-Tournament team. The following students have ridden the most miles throughout the overall tournament:

  1. Joey Wilmot – Houghton – 457 miles
  2. David Geyer – LSU – 377 miles
  3. Brian Johnson – LSU – 363 mile
  4. Justin Thomas – SUNY Binghamton – 315 miles
  5. Alyson Dickson – Vanderbilt – 293 miles
  6. Joshua Costa – Schoolcraft – 290 miles
  7. Nathan Hatch – Houghton – 281 miles
  8. Brian Ratajczak – Gannon – 265 miles
  9. Pat Skeate – Carthage – 258 miles
  10. Corey Olson – Carthage – 255 miles

In the end, 689 riders from your Elite Eight teams rode for a combined 12,367 miles in 48 hours and burned over 400,000 calories! The effort across the board from all of these teams was courageous and inspiring.

The Final Four

LSU (1) vs. SCHOOLCRAFT (13)

LSU is the heavy favorite in this matchup since it won last year’s Fall Frenzy in the Championship Round against SUNY Binghamton. LSU has a reputation to protect but Schoolcraft wants it this year!

SUNY BINGHAMTON (2) vs. GANNON

Binghamton knows exactly what they’re doing after making it through to the finals last year. But Gannon, even as the newbie school, hasn’t fallen short yet; they’ve trumped the competition all three prior rounds, proving themselves with hundreds of miles more than their opponent.

Tune into Fall Frenzy from October 21–22 to see who captures the Golden Spokes trophy—and think about racking up your own miles the next time you head to the gym!

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The drama of the last two days in the Fall Frenzy is like nothing we have ever witnessed. Four of the eight matchups saw lead changes in the final day. The upset of the tournament came from unranked newcomer Houghton knocking out the #5 seed Iowa by just 1.5 miles. Final score:

Houghton –  613.4
Iowa –  611.9

Houghton held off a late surge in the closing seconds thanks to Joey Wilmot who contributed an astonishing 233 miles over the 48 hour round.

In another notable upset, unranked Vanderbilt, lead by top rider Alyson Dickson with 117 miles, knocked off the #6 seed Rochester. This was a back and forth battle all day until Vanderbilt took the lead in the waning hours for the final time and rode their way into the elite eight.

The biggest battle of the tournament thus far was between SUNY Oswego and Valparaiso. Plagued early by internet connection issues, Valparaiso gutted it out and took the lead with less than 10 hours to go but in the process they over-extended themselves and could not hold onto the victory. In the end SUNY Oswego, lead by Ryan Rankin with 123 miles, won the monster battle racking up 1,386 miles with Valparaiso finishing just short with 1,316 miles.

Carnegie Mellon earned the most combative award. Lead by all tournament contender Mark Zajicek, The Tartans logged 978 miles on just two bikes. This was a monster effort against all odds, but it was not enough to launch them through to the next round as they drew a tough matchup with Schoolcraft who posted the highest totals of the round with 1,426 miles.

In the end, 820 riders from your Sweet 16 teams rode for a combined 11,788 miles in 48 hours and burned over 400,000 Calories. The effort across the board from all teams was courageous and inspiring.

THE ELITE EIGHT

LSU (1) v CARTHAGE

LSU is the heavy favorite in this match-up but Carthage is a cheeky newcomer who had done what they needed to do to get through to the next round and won’t go down without a fight.

SCHOOLCRAFT (13) v HOUGHTON

Houghton has become the Cinderella story of the tournament after knocking off #5 Iowa, but the road doesn’t get any easier. Schoolcraft just sent home #4 Carnegie Mellon with over 1,400 miles in the biggest ride of the sweet 16. Houghton captain Joey Wilmot can’t do it alone. He is going to need to rally the troops to have a shot at making it through to the Final Four.

SUNY BINGHAMTON (2) v SUNY OSWEGO

The battle of the SUNY schools is one to watch! Binghamton knows exactly what they are doing after making it through to the finals last year. Oswego is scrappy and proved that they have what it takes to come back and win late. Look for some big miles out of this matchup.

GANNON v VANDERBILT

Gannon is the scariest team in the tournament but they have yet to be tested. In both the Qualifiers and the Sweet 16 they blew their opponents off the road early and never looked back. Vanderbilt started slow but came on strong towards the end of their battle with Rochester and may be peaking at the right time. They will test Gannon in this matchup for the first time in the tournament. Lets see how Gannon responds.

ALL TOURNAMENT
At the end of the tournament the top 10 individual riders will receive All Tournament Honors. So far…

1) 281 miles Joey Wilmot Houghton
2) 220 miles Mark Zajicek Carnegie Mellon
3) 205 miles Brian Johnson LSU
4) 200 miles David Geyer LSU
5) 184 miles Alyson Dickson Vanderbilt
6) 176 miles Tristan Leonhard Valparaiso
7) 175 miles David Shearer Gannon
8) 175 miles Brian Ratajczak Gannon
9) 162 miles Joshua Costa Schoolcraft
10) 162 miles Ryan Rankin SUNY – Oswego

“In bike racing, a win by an inch is as good as a mile!”

Our top rider from the Tour d’Expresso now has both to his credit. In July he took the coveted Yellow Jersey home by a convincing 8 minutes over his nearest competitor, with a number of stage wins along the way.

More recently he took his talents outdoors where his Expresso training paid full dividends. Check out the photo finish and read about how this elite athlete put in 2500 virtual miles over the past year to pull off this victory.

Joe you are an inspiration to all of us at Team Expresso. Congrats on both of your victories. I feel for your competitor this is how I felt on the Stage 15 of the Tour d’Expresso.

Ride on!

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The Expresso Head Coach is looking for leaders and inspiriters to take on the responsibility and role of Expresso Team Captain. A Team Captain will need to inspire and recruit their team to compete in the Top 100 monthly challenges. Certified Team Captains will be recognized with a Team Captain jersey next to their name on the leaderboards and will be invited to the official Team Captains group where they can collaborate and provide feedback directly to Interactive Fitness to help shape future challenges and features. Details on Team Captain certification are as follows:

Team Captain Certification

To become certified you must earn your Century trophy by riding 100 miles and attend a team cardio training webinar. Webinars are typically held on the first Monday of each month in the morning and in the afternoon. View the training video below:

http://expresso.com/Learn/TeamCardio/TeamCaptain

Team Captain Certification

At the end of the training you will receive a link to an online form. Fill out the form by pledging to three tactics that will best inspire and recruit your team.

Team Captain Certification

Upon completion of your pledge, the Team Cardio Head Coach will review your form and provide your certification. Certified Expresso Team Captains will be provided special tools each month to help motivate and recruit their teams.

Upon certification, Expresso Team Captains will be recognized with the Team Captain jersey next to their name, unlock the ability to purchase the official Team Captains t-shirt, and receive an email invitation to join the official Expresso Team Captains group.

Become at Team Captain at the following link:

http://expresso.com/Learn/TeamCardio/TeamCaptain

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rebirth

To our dedicated Expresso bike owners,

Over the weekend this video was leaked on YouTube featuring myself riding games that are currently under development. It was, our intention for the new games to make their public debut at IHRSA, however, as this video has already come to light, I would like to issue the following statement to address the barrage of questions that have come in as a result of the footage.

A wise man once said that to discuss the future we must look to the past. Since the birth of Interactive Fitness in September of 2009, the Expresso experience has improved dramatically for bike owners with eLive. In 2011 we added Rabbit Run, Falcon Flight, Camel Country, and Grape Stomper to your bikes. In 2012 Mini Mayhem, City Express, Ravens Roost, and Lost Valley took center stage. In 2013 we launched the CyberCycle, Expresso HD and introduced the Top 100 Team Cardio program.

Last year “new games” were our most requested feature, which is why today, after 4 years of hibernation, we are proud to announce Project Khaleesi: The Rebirth of the Dragon.

 Project Khaleesi

Over the past year we have been hard at work building not one, not two, but nine new maps for you and your members to explore, enjoy, and conquer. Each map presents different elements and challenges that will put the fun in fitness like never before.

NEW WORLDS AND MAPS

Pictured here is the menu for the new games. The three different colored icons on the left show the different worlds – each with three maps outlined with the same color.

Treasure World

The maps of the Treasure World are littered with coins and other goodies. Your members will need to explore and collect as much treasure as possible, picking up speed and point bonuses along the way. Conquer the Coin Toss map to unlock the Pirate’s Cove map. Then plunder Blackbeard’s booty to unlock and teleport over to the Outpost map.

Dragon World

The maps of the Dragon World are fraught with peril. Your members will need use their brains and brawn to catch coins and tame these mythical beasts. The master hunters of the Dragon’s Island map will unlock the Dragon’s Return map. The legendary riders who return victorious have one battle ahead of them upon unlocking the Dragon’s Revenge map. Strong legs and an even stronger will are needed to achieve greatness in the world of the Dragon.

Puzzle World

The maps of the Puzzle World each present a unique challenge for your members. Only after navigating the zoo in Animal Adventure will they unlock Downhill Drama. A quick descent will open up the entrance to Maze Mania. Enter with caution and ride with passion.

GAMEPLAY OPTIONS

In addition to the nine new maps we have added 35, 40 and 45 minute options for gameplay and each map will be playable in 3 modes:

Speed Mode: Includes lots of speed bonuses that don’t expire! Speed mode is great for kids and adults who like to live fast. Its also great for getting the lay of the land before advancing on to Tactics or Power mode.

Tactics Mode: Max out your score with both speed and points bonuses. Tactics mode will feel familiar for those who have spent time in Proving Grounds.

Power Mode: Includes only points bonuses. You will need to earn every inch in power mode but you will be rewarded handsomely with lots of points. Power mode is not for the feint of heart.

OFFICIAL LAUNCH DETAILS

You are invited to witness the rebirth of the dragon at IHRSA. The Interactive Fitness booth (2162) will be just off the main walkway behind Technogym. All worlds and maps will be unlocked for the show and you can contact me directly to setup a meeting and reserve a time to play.

Post IHRSA, Project Khaleesi will be released publicly to our HD owners with eLive who can expect to begin playing in summer of 2014. Moving forward, major updates will be focused on the HD platform so that we can continue to innovate and keep the fun in cardio fitness.

Ride On, Ross Stensrud CMO Interactive Fitness

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On October 27th, just before the Expresso Top 100 Ghostbusters II challenge ended, Linda Atkinson, age 60, rounded the bend to complete the ride she saved for last: Savage Revenge. She pedaled hard on this celestial 20-mile ride through virtual space at the Waterworld Geelong facility in Norlane VIC, Australia. “You’ll never catch me!” she yelled to Gary Simpson, who she was racing to the finish line on the bike next to her. Linda beat Gary by three minutes.

The GB II challenge required riders to beat “ghosts” or personal best times in past rides. Because she was new to the Expresso bikes, she had not ridden this route before and opted to ride it twice that day. With her friends cheering around her, Linda completed Savage Revenge the second time. “I had a cry when I finished it because I knew I was at the top [of the Expresso leaderboards] and I was so proud,” explained Linda. Linda went on to ride 600 miles in October, 350 miles in November, and 400 this month.

15 years ago, she would not have been able to accomplish this. Linda has a condition called Hypothyroidism – her immune system is attacking her thyroid gland – as well a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Linda worked 20 hours a week and was also a room attendant which is tiresome for anyone, but Linda suffered from extreme fatigue and tightness in her chest. After being placed in many hospitals, she was diagnosed and treated. Slowly her energy returned. “I’m very grateful to have my health back and now I look forward to riding the bikes every day,” she says.

Linda joined Waterworld nine years ago and began using the spa mostly. It was a six-year process to become active again, but she slowly fell into an exercise routine. In July, the instructors at her facility created an active adults program called Livewell. This program is designed for adults over the age of 55 to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle. The program’s participants are required to get a doctor’s approval, meet to exercise together at the facility, and are given weekly exercise goals to meet. “My instructor, Pam, uses weight-training, balance exercises, and cardio with the Expresso bikes.”

During Senior Month in Australia, in October, Livewell created an Expresso bike challenge asking the members to compete for the most miles. Linda won with 500 miles and was awarded a t-shirt and gift bag. She continued to ride the rest of the month and reached 604 miles by the end of the month. This was her first win on the Expresso bike and not the last. “It made me stronger and very happy,” she explains. “It was quite a social event too. I met a lot of people through it.”

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She competed in the Ghost Busters II Expresso Top 100 challenge while simultaneously racking up miles for the Livewell challenge. On that day at the end of October, she chose to do Savage Revenge twice to get it done and over with. She took only a half an hour break between the rides. She explained that the first Savage ride was harder because she rode slower to leave a margin to beat her personal best time. The second ride went much quicker. “I felt elated [after completion].” she says. “It was very emotional for me because of my history of illnesses. It was like winning a gold medal.”

Hypothyroidism and her B-12 deficiency cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Linda is more than managing – she’s competing and conquering. “I love seeing that you get in front of a ghost,” says Linda. “I’ve got a competitive nature and I love seeing the finish line!”

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Risher Fitness to Distribute the Expresso HD and CyberCycle products.

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Sunnyvale CA, December 16, 2013 — Interactive Fitness, the leading provider of interactive exercise equipment and exergaming software platforms, today announced the partnership with Risher Fitness in Texas.

“We’re delighted Risher Fitness Equipment is joining the dealer family at Interactive Fitness,” said Roger Reina, Senior, Interactive Fitness Senior Director of National Dealer Sales. “Well known for exemplary customer service, innovation and a progressive product line we’re confident the Risher team will be a dynamic addition to distributing the new Expresso HD product line in their region.”

“On behalf of The Risher Companies and Risher Fitness Equipment, Inc. we are very excited to announce that we will partner with Interactive Fitness and Expresso,” said Josh Mann, Regional Manager of Risher Fitness Equipment. “With much anticipation, we will represent Interactive Fitness in the new phase of the Expresso Bike. We believe Interactive Fitness is a great fit for our portfolio of products. Not only because its a unique bike but the fantastic people behind the product that has made it such a success over the years.”

About Risher Fitness

For 20 years, The Risher Companies (TRC) has been providing fitness and wellness solutions for your work, community and home. TRC provides commercial fitness equipment sales, fitness center design services, facility management, staffing, programming and corporate wellness.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, and serving major metro areas of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma, TRC has garnered an excellent reputation across the fitness and wellness industry. TRC’s portfolio of clients consists of multi-family, corporate/office properties, health clubs and studios, master planned communities, country clubs and hotels, universities, school districts, and government entities.

About Interactive Fitness

We believe that exercise should be fun instead of boring. We believe in engaging people in their workouts instead of distracting them. We believe technology should connect people through Team CardioTM rather than encouraging isolation cardio. We build products for people who think like us. Learn more at http://ifholdings.com.

Contact
Roger Reina
rreina@ifholdings.com
(215) 983-1109

FallFrenzyChampion

Click to view the bracket

On Tuesday, October 15th, 93 colleges all over the U.S. and Canada hopped on Expresso bikes in their rec centers and turned on the Glee soundtrack to ride the most miles in the Expresso Fall Frenzy Tournament put on by Interactive Fitness. This March Madness bracketed tournament whittled down each week, in 48-hour rounds, until one college would take home the golden spokes trophy and claim the Fall Frenzy championship title. After five weeks, students and faculty gathered with sore legs at the Football Operations building gym on Louisiana State University campus to celebrate their victory over SUNY Binghamton college in the final round and 9,074 miles it took to get to the end.

LSU champs

The Expresso bikes have a visual screen with over 40 digital roads and trails to choose from. The bike reacts to the terrain that appears on the screen allowing the rider to shift and steer as they ride. The resistance increases when the rider pedals uphill and decreases downhill – but there is no coasting on an Expresso bike. Kevin Mawae, retired NFL player and Louisiana State University alum, added 43 miles to LSU’s totals. “It’s a whole heck of a lot better than riding a regular stationary bike,” says Mawae. “You feel like you’re accomplishing something. I feel like I’m working harder.”

SUNY Binghamton went into the final championship round as the underdog with six bikes against LSU’s ten bikes, but that pushed them even harder. In the end, their 3,102 miles could not beat LSU’s 3,348. Jenna Domin, Binghamton’s Fitness Program Coordinator, worked with Chris Griffin, the Aquatics Program Coordinator, to promote and rally riders to represent Binghamton. They extended the rec center’s hours, put a table in front of the bikes with a laptop on it to register riders, and created prizes for top riders. “We don’t have a ton of sports [at SUNY Binghamton]. A lot of the students who are working out in the fitness center aren’t athletes,” Domin said. “The Fall Frenzy gave them a chance to be on a team.”

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SUNY Binghamton racking up the miles against LSU in the Championship round

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The Expresso bike is hooked up to the internet to record mileage and calories for riders to challenge themselves further each time they ride. The riders were required to register through the Expresso.com website to sign up for their school’s team in order for their miles to count. From there, they could choose whatever tour, challenge their “ghosts” – or past rides – and race against their neighbors. All miles counted towards the Frenzy. “I like how innovative the bikes are,” said Josh Patkin, top rider at Binghamton. “It allows users to track a wealth of information very easily and even allows for an aesthetic and exciting bike ride as if you were outside, in the comfort of a gym or at home.”

At Louisiana State University, the excitement grew exponentially as the tournament progressed. Tommy Moffitt, LSU’s Strength and Conditioning Coach, explained that they just rode for fun in the qualifying round, but after they won and moved into the Sweet 16 against Lorain Community College, the human competitive nature took over. The amount of riders to strap on their purple and gold sweatbands grew exponentially from 45 to 214. Moffitt used Facebook to encourage the cycling team to join. “It took off after that [qualifying round] and everyone wanted to be a part of it,” said Moffitt. “Everyone banded together and said that we were going to do whatever it took to win the competition.”

Carnegie Mellon University went all the way to the Final Four, leaving Harvard Business, Cedarville, Ithaca Wellness, and IRSC, UNC Wilmington, and University of Texas at Arlington in their wake. This 12,000-student school may have less than half the population as LSU, but these Tartan Scottie Dogs had bark in their bite. Pattye Stragar, Fitness Operations Manager, brainstormed with the students to jokingly hack the LSU fitness department to cut off their power. In the end, they were no match for LSU’s powerhouse football and cycling teams. Kim Farrah, Carnegie rider with 44 miles in the Frenzy, achieved her only personal victories anyway. “Until that time I had not used those bike much,” Farrah said. “The challenge encouraged me to work out. It challenged me to bike distances I never thought I could.”

Carnegie Mellon celebrating in their Final Four Frenzy t-shirts

Carnegie Mellon celebrating in their Final Four Frenzy t-shirts

The Final Four winners, Marist, SUNY Binghamton, Louisiana State University, and  Carnegie Mellon received a $250 Professional Development scholarship as well as a set of 25 Fall Frenzy t-shirts. Mirroring the Tour de France, Interactive Fitness recognized Lorain Community College, University of Rochester and Carnegie Mellon as the “Most Combative” because of the extreme milage their riders put into the tournament. Marist rode to the Final Four but fell to SUNY Binghamton with a student-run team and only 26 riders. As Marist rider, Nicholas Di Gruccio’s famous Fall Frenzy tweet once said: “What I’m about to do on this Expresso bike isn’t for me, for the team, or for the school, but for America.”

On Tuesday, November 19, Louisiana State held a Fall Frenzy award ceremony and Interactive Fitness presented the team with the official golden spokes trophy and the Championship title. Although Carnegie Mellon did not make it into the Championship, Pattye Stragar, was honored to make it so far: “They [students] started talking about their favorite trails and then riding the same trails side-by-side so they could see each others ghost and, once again, we created this competition not only with UT Arlington but with each other.”

Almost 600 riders lined up to the Expresso bikes for the qualifying round on that Tuesday morning one month ago. By the end, over 1,500 riders registered to represent their school in the Fall Frenzy tournament. Marney Yu, 19-year-old Business Accounting major and top rider for University of Texas at Arlington, rode for seven hours in the qualifying round accomplishing 70 miles. “I am neither fast, nor strong, just determined,” she says. “I would like to show other people that even average people like me can make a difference.”

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Tom and Diane Walton have been married for 43 years and live in Powhatan County, Virginia. Tom and Diane are both retired teachers. For the past nine years, they’ve been enjoying their retirement by fishing in local ponds. On Monday, Tom hunted and caught a wild turkey by the James River in anticipation of the holidays. With the exception of the first Ghost Busters challenge in June, Tom and Diane have been ranked in the top 15 worldwide in the Expresso Top 100 monthly challenges for the past ten months. “I found out you could compete and competing is something I respond to,” says Tom.

In May of 2012, before the Top 100 challenges existed, Tom and Diane first hopped on an Expresso bike at the Greater Richmond YMCA. They spent time riding every tour and casually rode until December when they started to practice chasing dragons on Proving Grounds. The next month, the first challenge was released: Turkey Day Giveaway, a race for the most calories burned. Tom and Diane started to climb the leaderboards and in March, Tom and Diane took 2nd and 3rd place in the world for dragon chasing in the Dragon Hunter challenge. “People see us in our 60s and say ‘if they can do it, we can do it too’,” says Tom.

Tom & Diane's Stats

Click to view Tom & Diane’s Stats from the past year

By July, the Waltons were fully immersed in the Expresso world. The month’s challenge was Le Tour d’ Expresso, a competition in which riders needed to complete the tours allotted on certain days. Simultaneously, Interactive Fitness created a FUNraiser just for YMCA’s. They agreed to donate ten cents for every mile ridden that month to the facility that rides the most miles. The couple went into the gym every day, about 2 or 3 times a day, and use word-of-mouth to promote the program – resulting in about 30 Expresso participating riders. The strategy was to complete the rides designated for the Tour de Expresso that day, then ride as much as they could for the FUNraiser. 75 people rode 9,643 miles, won, and raised $538 – then a YMCA board member matched it. Their facility provides services for low-income residents, which influenced the gym to win. Although the Top 100 challenge spans the whole month, the FUNraiser ended on the 17th – but the YMCA members kept riding. Tom explains, “we were in it for the money at first, but then it was about pride!”

Tom and Diane grew up with active lifestyles and are driven by competition. Tom played basketball in school and Diane had less of an opportunity to play sports because her family moved around often, but kept active in her own time anyway. Diane explains that she may be more competitive than her husband, “I’ve got an older brother and he never let me be on his team until I started to beat him.”

Tom placed more importance on health after his father and sister passed away from stomach complications. The couple feel lucky to be healthy and vivacious. Diane proudly admits that they don’t need medicine to live day-by-day. Tom explains his emphasis on fitness, “you only get one body and you need to try to take care of it,” he explains. “I just feel like if you don’t use it, you lose it.”

Since retiring, Tom and Diane compete in half-marathons monthly on top of the Expresso monthly challenges. Their youngest daughter, Mary, a certified personal trainer, motivated her parents to enter a half-marathon at Disney World. It’s now the couple’s fourth year completing the Disney run, Richmond half marathon, and the Virginia Tech run. They average about 16-24 miles a week running around Powhatan. Tom explains how running and biking on Expresso have helped each other and increased his endurance. “It started out as more of a cross-training for running and now you could say that running is a cross-training for riding the Expresso bikes,” says Tom.

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In addition to running and biking the Expresso tours, Tom and Diane became absorbed in chasing dragons in the Expresso game, Proving Grounds – or the “chase game”. Tom says that he used to get 12,000 points in a 5-minute game and now get’s 44,000 points. He explains that his strategy is to recognize the terrain, stay away from certain parts of the map where it’s harder to obtain points, and even focus on some Chase game secrets. On the months when the challenge does not interest them, like the October Ghost Busters 2 challenge, they follow the Chase points leaderboard for the month and occupy spots in the top 5 or better. “I believe that my mind is mentally sharper now than before I started,” Tom says. “It’s good for the brain and makes me concentrate more.”

In August, Expresso released the Summer Sprints challenge with three sub-challenges. Tom and Diane participated heavily in the Chase portion called the Dragon Hunter Sprint. Again, Tom and Diane recruited riders to participate. Tom recalls the challenge, “a 75-year-old guy with both his knees replaced rode for eight hours that day,” he says. “We had more fun that day than any other because of the Expresso competition.”

One of the younger riders pulled up the Interactive Fitness Facebook page on his smartphone and noticed that a fellow dragon hunter by the name of Ken Dunn posted that Tom must have been cheating because of his accumulation of points. Ken later admitted that he knew the Powhatan facility closed at six so he stopped riding, thinking the YMCA would no longer be competing. But the YMCA stayed open late that night for the challenge. At seven, Ken saw the couple’s facility was still racking up points and gave up. Tom and Ken didn’t previously know each other but Tom wanted to contact Ken. “I called him and it was a lot of fun,” Tom says lightheartedly. “He said to me, ‘maybe you could give me insight into the Chase game,’ and I said ‘no, you’re too dang good!’”

There are about 23 YMCA’s in the Richmond area and the Powhatan one is one of the smallest. Tom explains that winning the Top 100 challenges is their claim to fame. “People ask us what we were doing and they would say it’s amazing that we could ride so much in a day, but it really isn’t,” Tom says. “Anyone could do it. If you set goals and work at it, you’ll improve.”

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