Thanks to Andrew Singson, our faculty adviser and Professor in the Waksman Institute and Department of Genetics, for doing this Q&A!
College is a great place to take up a new sport. Cycling is a club sport at Rutgers and open to all students. Members of the club can test their athleticism in competition and experience the camaraderie of a team. I discovered bike racing in college and thirty years later I serve as the Faculty Adviser for the Rutgers Cycling Team.
The Rutgers University Cycling Team supports all disciplines of competitive cycling. The current emphasis is on road racing and cyclocross (a kind of off-road steeple chase on bikes). The RU cyclists have had success with a recent string of six consecutive Division 1 Eastern Conference championships in cyclocross. Members of the team have also competed in track and mountain bike events. Our student athletes often get fit for competition with local training rides, charity rides, and tours. This makes the sport particularly visible as these athletes are moving billboards sporting the big “R” and the logos of team sponsors.
Students purchase the majority of their own equipment and run the operations of the team. Rutgers Cycling has been funded in part by Rutgers Club Sports, the promotion of races, and local sponsors. Despite these generous supporters, it is still a challenge to cover the cost of travel, entry fees, and equipment.
I was very excited to receive a call from the Rutgers Foundation with news of an alumni donor. The donor was former Rutgers Football Quarterback and Safety, Sam Mudie. Sam graduated from Rutgers in 1962 with a BSME and then got an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1964. During his time with Rutgers Football, Sam led the nation in pass return yards. Further, he led the Scarlet Knights in total offense and scoring and was named the undefeated ’61 squad’s MVP. He was drafted and spent two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He subsequently worked at IBM before taking a new career direction in Los Angeles where he owned Swensen’s Ice Cream stores in Hollywood, Beverly Hills and West LA. Sam married a graduate of the Rutgers University Camden Law School, Patty Glaser.
Recently I had the honor of joining Sam for a bike ride near the scenic coast of Southern California. Below is a short Q&A compiled from our ride and correspondence:
Rutgers Cycling: How did you get into cycling?
Sam Mudie: I took up cycling at age 40 after my left knee finally quit working. This was after five years of running 10Ks and half marathons. I look forward to riding my bike every day when I awaken.
RC: What are your favorite places to ride a bike in addition to around the cost of Southern California?
SM: Our mountain home in Hilton Creek, California is at 7000 feet elevation! The roads are devoid of vehicular traffic and is a mecca for road riding. For three years I was involved in organizing the Whiskey Creek Stage Race in Mammoth Lakes. I am also a founding member of the Sierra Cycling Foundation, a bicycling advocacy group.
RC: Did you compete in cycling?
SM: I competed for one year and quickly decided that race organizing was the better choice.
RC note: The Whiskey Creek Stage race is a multiday race like the Tour de France but not as long. The professional race was once won by Olympic Gold Medalist Alexi Grewal with overall time of 9 hours 10 minutes and 32 seconds. This is a grueling event for anyone.
RC: Do other members of your family enjoy bike riding?
SM: My two grandsons, John Cole (12 years old) and Drake Samuel (9 years old) are both cyclists.
RC: What led you to supporting the Rutgers Cycling Team?
SM: Riding around Southern California I would see cyclists from UCLA or USC out training. I corresponded with the Rutgers Foundation about donating to the RU team.
RC: What other sports have you supported?
SM: I have made donations to Crew, Fencing, Swimming and Lacrosse.
RC: Why have you chosen to support these smaller sports?
SM: These sports do not receive the same level of university investment as the major revenue producing sports. The student athletes are just as committed to these sports. In a way sports like cycling are more accessible to the entire student body. They are also sports that you can enjoy through your own participation even after college.
RC: Rutgers Cycling would like to thank you for your financial support and your thoughts.
SM: I’m a pretty low profile guy but maybe by showing my support it might encourage other alumni to financially support cycling and try it out for themselves.
If you would like to donate to Rutgers Cycling, please contact the Rutgers Foundation and request funds be directed to Rutgers Cycling, a Rutgers Sport Club.