A few days ago I got the below message on facebook. It was from Ernest Gagnon who is battling with his weight. Through cycling and the support of the cycling community he has been able to come down from 570 pounds to around 300. In his message he expressed interest in one day doing a Spartan Race.
“Hi Paul, I was wondering if it be okay to add you as a friend.. Not sure if you know who I am but I’m a cat 4 cyclocross racer, also do road and want to do mtb soon.. I use to be 570lbs I’m down to 300 all from riding. There are some stories on at the following links.. http://www.npr.org/2012/10/09/162586325/instead-of-surgery-man-pedals-off-the-pounds and http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/06/news/a-bicycle-and-a-few-friends-lead-a-big-man-into-an-even-bigger-world_226368 so yeah hope its okay to add you and maybe we can talk and who knows ride some day… Thanks! btw huge fan of the spartan race, want to do a race someday. Ernest.”
After chatting with him for a bit I learned Ernest has been bullied much of his life and is unsure of himself as to whether he could do a race. Knowing how much obstacle course racing (OCR) has given back to me and others in lost confidence, I just knew he has to a do an OCR event! Ernest lives up in Massachusetts and I figured the recently added Sprint at the Spartan Race World Championship weekend in Killington Vermont would be the perfect first race for Ernest.
I am asking the OCR community now to step forward in supporting Ernest is his quest to overcome his next obstacle through reaching out to him, encouraging him, and if you can, running with him in his first race in Vermont at 1pm Saturday September 21.
Through his accomplishments in cycling, Ernest has found value and truth in spandex. He has a personal Spandex Theory whereby he believes spandex helps people accept the truth about their bodies. In a show of solidarity to Ernest , I have promised to run the race with him in one of my cycling kits (outfits).