Junior balances work, college life with Little 5 racing

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Riley Peppler racing in last year’s Women’s Little 500 race

On Friday and Saturday, students from across IU will race in the legendary Little 500 bike race – and School of Education student Riley Peppler will be among them. 

Peppler is a junior studying Secondary Physics Education. This year’s race will be her second with the team from Christian Student Fellowship. After seeing CSF compete during her freshman year, Peppler knew she wanted to be a part of the team.

“The weather was beautiful last year, and the track was in really nice condition. I was extremely nervous leading up to the race, but on the day of the race I felt more excited and confident than I expected,” Peppler said. “I remember the first time I got in the race thinking to myself, ‘Wow, I am really riding in the Little 500!’ It almost felt like it was not real. I trained all year for this one race, and then race day came and went all in a blur of excitement, tiredness and joy!”

As any rider can attest, balancing school work and training for Little 5 can be a challenge. As if going to school and preparing for a major race weren’t enough, Peppler also stays busy being a Resident Assistant, working in the Housing Assignments office and tutoring students. In order to get everything done, she plans her training workouts, which involve being on her bike 1-3 hours every day, at the beginning of the week around larger school assignments.

“Essentially I am very organized but also very flexible as schoolwork takes more time than I planned or I get asked to stay over at work,” she said.

With race day fast approaching, Peppler will be working hard to keep nerves at bay, something she has experience with.

“Last year my nerves were heightened days before the race and actually dropped on race day. Before the race, I chose to listen to music and read in order to divert my focus from the race and the nerves that went along with it. Also spending time with my teammates and joking around with them helped me feel much more confident and excited leading up to the race instead of nervous,” Peppler said.