Occupation: Sales Manager
Hometown: Gilford, New Hampshire
Start Weight: 315
End Weight: 185
Time Cycling: 1.5 years
Reason for Cycling: I have 2 daughters, 4 and 5, and even though I do this for me, I want to show them they can do whatever they want in life, as long as they are willing to work for it.
About two years ago, I weighed over 300 pounds. I had two babies two years in a row, and I was unmotivated. But I felt upset because I couldn’t play with them, and I felt tired all the time.
Since I was a runner in college, I bought a pair of running shoes and decided to start running again, building up from a quarter-mile, to a half-mile, up to longer runs. And I started to lose weight, which was really encouraging.
It gave me the guts to reach out to a local trainer who I had been following—he’s an intense ultra athlete. I felt ready to start working with him to take the next step in my weight loss. At that point, it was January 2019 and I was still running. He suggested I get a bike and at first I wasn’t sold.
Finally, I was convinced, and my mom got me a Felt hybrid bike as a combination birthday/Mother’s Day gift, and as soon as I got on the bike, I fell in love. My bike is nothing crazy, it’s pretty basic and a lot of the pieces I’ve added and gear I used are from friends, including the stem, the pedals, and gloves.
My trainer does a challenge every April called “real gains” where you ride outside every day for 10 miles. In the mountain of New Hampshire, that can mean riding in rain, snow, or thunder. But I did it and became borderline obsessed. Now, every time I get on the bike I want to go further, which is how I got into ultracycling.
I did my first triathlon in June of 2019—two months after I started riding. I mapped out a route and did it myself. During the cycling portion, I fell off my bike so hard and my chain ate my leg, but I still finished.
At the beginning of my health journey, I started following the keto diet and lost about 100 pounds. It was a great choice for me at the time, but once I got into ultracycling and triathlons, I realized I needed more carbs. I’ve been completely plant-based for about six months—I like to say I’m fueled by craft beer and french fries.
This year, I ended up doing a lot of races on my own due to COVID-19 cancellations, but it got boring after a while. By November, I was feeling really unmotivated, so I told my trainer I wanted to do something ridiculous. I live in New Hampshire and work in New York, so I talked to him about riding to Albany and back in a weekend.
I left on a Saturday at 3 a.m., got to Albany at about 8 p.m., slept for three or four hours and headed back at 3 a.m. the next day. In total, the trip was 362 miles with about 17,500 feet of elevation gain and 33 hours in the saddle. My husband, who is my biggest supporter, was basically my GPS after I got super lost partway there. By the end, my feet were really hurting so he took off his shoes and drove barefoot so I could ride in his shoes for some relief.
I also love swimming, and while I mainly focus on cycling, I sometimes do triathlons. I’ve also gotten into mountain running. This week, I’m completing a Ironman triathlon-distance swim (2.4 miles), bike (112 miles), and run (26.2 miles) just for something to do.
If everything happens how it’s scheduled, my 2021 is going to be really busy. I am registered for the Iowa Wind and Rock race, which is a 340-mile unassisted ride you must complete in 35 hours. And, I’m going to be doing a ride from New York City to Niagara Falls in early summer, which will be about 500 miles. I also am signed up for a snow shoe half marathon in Vermont, have some half marathons planned, and am signed up for two half-Ironman races. Eventually, I want to do the TransAmerica ride.
The biggest challenge for me is the long-term commitment. My trainer always says to me, life wants you to fail, but you can’t let it. I lost my dad when I was 20 years old and he always told me you get out of life what you’re willing to put in. And I’m really making the most of it now. I feel more alive and better than I ever have. It’s a lot of work, but I’m going to keep doing it.
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