|The eastern end of the Bypass.|
A Made Up History of the 322 Bypass which is probably more correct than any other history you'll find.:
Someone decided to make a highway bypassing State College in the distant past. Following much graft and corruption, the land was acquired and the road built sometime in the early 70's. Due to more graft and corruption, the ends were never connected, and the 4-lane highway became almost the exclusive playground for PSU distance runners. Then, sometime in the mid-80's, graft and corruption finally led to the ends being connected and the road was taken away from its rightful owners. Cars now far outnumber runners. Graft and corruption continues, just not on 322.When I arrived on the scene, the Bypass Loop was already an entrenched run in the Rolodex of the team. Most times it consisted of starting at Rec Hall, running to the bottom of four hills on Big Hollow Road and jumping a fence to gain access to the now east-bound lanes. The run then proceeded west-bound on the east-bound lanes until the exit after Waddle Road. Coach Groves was always a fixture on the overpass on Waddle Road (which led to Toftrees), watching the shenanigans going on below. Following the exit of the bypass at Valley Vista Drive, the loop continued down to Circleville Road to Atherton Street and back to Rec Hall. It was said to be 10 miles. Who knows. It was a horrible run, with traffic to dodge, fences to jump, and lonely desolate stretches which inspired no one.
The Bypass Loop was often used as the time-trial for the traveling XC team. I was lucky my first year and somehow managed to worm my way into a place on The Van of Death. I was never really that lucky again, although I one time "went for it" and led everyone to the looming figure of Coach Groves at Waddle Road, who later said he was pleased with my effort. The effort failed anyway, as by then we were loaded with talent and the Number 3 or 4 team in the Nation.
Other memories of the Bypass Loop come to mind. Thursdays and some Fridays were almost always days off or pre-meet days and sometimes we traveled in small packs to different runs. Sometimes these runs found us exploring the tunnels underneath the road, which are quite extensive. The main underground tunnel is maybe 1/2 mile long from near Toftrees and ending near the bottom of 4 Hills (which isn't really open anymore to the usual runner). This tunnel is quite extensive and rather scary to try to run. When it rains, I'm sure it's a Death Trap. There are also other tunnels at either end, the one from Centre Hill GC to the base of Mt. Nittany at Lemont being another one I explored. Still another made an excellent short-cut from the Stadium to Big Hollow Road extended leading to Houserville, using the Bypass to bypass the Deer-Pens!
Also, during one Bypass Loop that the 1/2 Milers somehow had to run like the rest of us, several hitched a ride back to Rec Hall when they gave up on Valley Vista Drive or Circleville Road. Their only mistake was getting out of the car in sight of Coach Groves, wearing his usual stop watch around his neck. Somehow all 3 of them made it back onto the team in the next 2 weeks and all was sorta, kinda forgiven. As a coach, I would never make a 1/2 miler run that damn Bypass Loop. But then I'm not a coach.
|He'll catch you every time.|