In order for anyone to get to know me, they should hop on a bike and ride with me. I love being on my bicycle – for hours at a time! I haven’t always been into cycling, but after my deployment to Afghanistan in 2010 with the Army Reserve, my foot just didn’t like running anymore. Running became painful and I became depressed and unmotivated. In the beginning of 2013, I decided to buy a bike. Like most people, I didn’t know what I wanted or needed. I bought a nice mountain bike. I loved riding it. I took it to Salem Lake and as I got better, I went around the lake twice. Next, I started riding on the road and quickly realized that I was not on the right type of bike! During a military tribute ride in the 2013 Winston Salem Cycle Classic, I met a great veteran who happens to run an organization that uses cycling as rehabilitation for wounded vets. He donated a road bike to me a few months later, and I put 1,000 miles on it before I donated it back to him and purchased a new one.
Not only did I ride, I lost a lot of weight. I was starting to feel vibrant and happy and excited about life again. Whoa! Who knew a bicycle could do all that? I sure didn’t. I’ve been hooked ever since. Even today, I went on a 17-mile ride around my neighborhood. I tackled familiar hills (all of which give me a total of 1,100 ft elevation gain) and enjoyed the sun on my face. The wind could have eased up a bit! Headwinds on a ride are mother nature’s evil tricks.
Riding has presented so many cool opportunities. I’ve gotten to ride with great people, wounded warriors and some really cool cyclists. As a part of Operation Shifting Gears, I was invited to ride in the 2013 Hincapie Gran Fondo in Greenville, S.C. last October. It was colder than I could have imagined, but awesome at the same time. After the ride, George Hincapie signed jerseys for us. Here I am in mine:
I am so excited to see what this year holds. So far, I was able to ride with the Warrior Ride for two days in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Norfolk last week. Those guys and gals are so inspiring!