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Hometown: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Occupation: Performance manager for Cox Automotive
Time Cycling: I got my first “adult” road bike in 2013
Start Weight: 180 pounds
End Weight: 151 pounds
Reason for Cycling: I've been an athlete all my life; usually participating in team sports. My dad and I used to ride bikes together, but when the team sports ran out, I remembered his love for cycling. The rest is this adventure!
I used to eat out a lot, almost every single night. I had a hectic job with long hours, and I didn’t have time to cook. But when you eat out, you don’t know what ingredients are used. Oil? Lots of it. Processed foods? All the time.
At this time, I owned a 2014 Trek Lexa SL (a 10 Speed with Tiagra components). It was black and pink, and I thought it was the coolest thing. I loved the feeling of being on two wheels under my own power. I would do a long ride of about 30 miles on a Saturday morning, and eat and drink the rest of the day. I was not fast on my bike, but I dreamed of it—I wanted to get back into better shape.
My turning point came in October 2019, when I was 39. I was away for a work conference and when I looked in the mirror, I couldn't believe what I saw. I then looked at the pictures of me on my bicycle. I didn’t like who I saw, and I realized I needed to make a change. I was turning 40 years old soon, and I wanted to lead a healthier life for my daughter. Most people say they would give up their lives for their children, but how many are willing to lead a healthier life for their children?
First, I changed my diet to mostly plant-based food. I still eat salmon (Omega 3s for the win!), and I still use butter and cheese sparingly. But for the most part, I eat plants in their natural form. There are so many different ways you can make a potato interesting, and it's so simple. I wish I had known about cooking this way when I was busy and ate out all the time. I always thought cooking had to be a big production for which I never had time. Most nights now, my dinners are ready in 15 minutes. Or I will set the rice to cook, go do a workout, and come back an hour later when it’s ready.
When I started to race in 2019, I took my training up a notch. I got a Garmin Edge 520 to track my rides. To train, I used some plans off of Training Peaks. And now, my YouTube watch "History" is filled with Dylan Johnson, Global Cycling Network, and Cam Nicholls. As for my bikes, I’m currently loving my Chapter 2 Sky + Blue.
In January 2020, I joined a local cycling club, Blue Mountain Velo. I found friends who were focused on the same goals as me—having fun on my bicycle and living the healthiest life possible. We have multiple rides a week for all different riding levels. Saturdays are typically 50+ miles at 17+ MPH. Tuesdays are a fun 35 mile jaunt around town, and Thursdays are for development of new riders and helping members learn how to ride in a group ride.
Cycling went from a hobby to a passion. In the past two years, it’s given me some of the most meaningful and important relationships of my life. I’ve got a few races on my calendar for 2021—my goal is to do my best in them.
I have lost nearly 30 pounds in a year and four months. I have more muscle definition and energy than I ever have before. But most importantly, I’m happier than I ever have ever been before. Losing the weight with cycling and getting healthier was a springboard to the best time in my life so far. Cycling for weight loss isn’t about looking better (although sure, that helps.) It’s about being a healthier person. Join a local organization or club and make new friends. Just go ride the bike.
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