On June 8-9, Larry Mattson's 1957 Case Institute of Technology graduating class will celebrate its 50th reunion with the Case Alumni Association (CAA), along with several other classes. Mattson's reunion sparked an idea—a 2,800 bike ride back along the old Route 66, which he traveled on his way to a new life in California as an engineer following graduation.
Mattson, 72, left Santa Monica, Calif., on April 1 and arrived in Cleveland on Memorial Day. About 50 alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends joined Mattson on Saturday, June 2, at the Maple Grove Picnic Shelter in the Rocky River Reservation/Metroparks for the "CAA Metric Century Ride" to Lake Erie for the ritual cross-country "wheel-dipping" ceremony. Prior to leaving California he dipped his back tire in the Pacific Ocean. When he arrived Gordon Park Pier at East 72nd Street, Mattson dipped his front wheel into Lake Erie to celebrate his arrival in his hometown of Cleveland. With about 52 days of actual riding, Mattson rode more than 50 miles a day atop a carbon fiber Trek road bike that weighs all of about 19 pounds.
Mattson turned 72 on April 3, the third day of his ride and the day he tackled his first big hill just outside of Los Angeles.
Mattson says he currently rides almost every day and averages about 100 miles per week. To get in shape, he participates in organized metric century rides, which is 100 kilometers or 63 miles. These rides, coupled with some special seminars geared toward endurance athletes, helped him get ready to tackle his grueling ride.
"I got my hands on a book written by a couple that did this ride on a tandem bike in the late 1990s and that really inspired me," Mattson said. "I then decided to get in touch with the CAA when I was back in Cleveland last August. They helped sponsor me."
The CAA's All-Classes Banquet will be held on Friday, June 8, at 7 p.m. at the InterContinental Hotel and Conference Center in Cleveland.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.