I hope Rachel doesn't mind me using her blog to post this, but Facebook limits you to 420 characters and I am too wordy 8^).
Get ready for my story...
Yesterday was a super great day and the culmination of almost 2 years of hard work. Many of you in my friends list have known me for most of my life. I have always been overweight and struggled with asthma since grade school. We all have our challenges and struggles and mine has always been my health and making healthy choices.
By 2008 I weighed 427 pounds and I had a number of health problems including asthma, chronic allergies, sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure, and plantar fasciitis. I know it is easy to look at someone that is that overweight and have a lot of thoughts cross your mind. I can attest that for some it is very very easy to get that big and once you are that large it is almost impossible to correct. You health and weight and your body's constant hormonal cravings tend to breed more overeating and sedentary lifestyle. Think of it in my case as carrying 20+ 10lb sacks of potatoes around all day, it can wear you out and discourage you.
Memorial day weekend 2008 was my turning point when a serious 4 wheeler accident split my head open and broke my neck in 3 places. It made me realize that life is short and I wanted to spend more time alive with my family. I also wanted to change for myself. This is the key - all change has to come from within. I decided to have gastric bypass surgery. Trust me that this is not the easy way out and for many who reach weights like mine it is the only way out. Oct 27, 2008 I went in for surgery. This first 100lbs came off fairly easily. The last 100 came off from strict diet and exercise. I still struggle getting the last 20 or so pounds off and from being so overweight I don't look normal from all my loose skin around my upper body.
That being said I FEEL GREAT. I am more than 200lbs lighter and my asthma is much better as are the allergies, the other ailments are all gone except for joint pain. No more diabetes, no more sleep apnea, no more high blood pressure. My energy levels are up.
Yesterday was the culmination because I completed my first CENTURY ride, I rode in the Bike the Bear race, and I completed 102.15 miles in 2 laps around Bear Lake in North Eastern Utah and Southern Idaho. This has been a goal of mine for more than a year and it felt so good to complete it.
I want to thank my wife, Rachel, and my kids for supporting me and believing in me. I want to thank my Mom and Dad Bowman for coming out and participating yesterday and for their support. Edgar and Jenny Villacorta for their support and participation - We all had so much fun and thanks for taking Rach and I out to dinner last night to celebrate! I also want to thank my brother, Dave Taylor and Doxtek for gifting me the Trek bike over a year ago.
There were hundreds of riders, mostly Boy Scouts. Many had signed up for the 50 mile race and I have to say that the first half was much more fun riding with all the other cyclists. The second lap I was by myself and I saw only a handful of other riders. I did have an accident at about mile 65 when I made a turn and didn't notice a patch of dirt and I slid. The last 30 miles were the hardest as I had to tackle some tough hills for the second time and I was running out of energy. The Aid stations were mostly closed. I ran out of water at mile 80 and rode another 8 miles to the last aid station where they were packed up to go. I grabbed water and filled up my Camelbak and ate 3 apples for energy. I rode a few more miles and was feeling tired and wiped when Rach called me. She came out to me and I was 8.5 miles from the finish. I stopped and drank some more and had some more to eat. Her and the kids that were with her would follow and then pass and wait for me and yell as I passed. We leap frogged like this until there were the last 2 miles. She then drove ahead to wait for me at the finish line.
It makes me emotional as I write this to think of all the love and support I received yesterday from my wife and family. THANK YOU SO MUCH. I love you Rach and I love all my kiddos. I love all of my family and friends - thanks for putting up with me!
This is not going to be my last bike ride - I told my wife that I am a cyclist now and so I look forward to more rides next season!
Thanks for indulging me in my story.
5 months ago