Ideas, Goals and randomness

December 9th, 2011 by Don Walker

Every now and again, I go off on certain issues. By “going off”, I mean I become slightly more opinionated than I should. Sometimes those within earshot are left wondering “what? did he just say what I thought he said?” and others think “Right on! I was thinking it, but I didn’t want to say anything…”

Call them Idea’s or random thoughts or drivel, if you will. But when I say them, they most assuredly make sense to me, at the time anyhow…

I had an idea recently that really made sense to me, but I am not too sure if anyone else would understand.

See, I got out of the shower and as I stand there trying to get all the water off my body as fast as possible ( because the air temperature in the house is kept like a meat locker so I don’t have a huge gas company bill each month), I looked up kinda briefly into the huge mirror that sits above our sinks in the bathroom. I noticed that, wait for it… I am fat. I “went off” on myself saying “whats up, fatty?” and “you fat bastard!”. I was disgusted and I knew I needed to do something.

Now, if you know me, you know I joke about being fat, but honestly, I am probably in the 50% range of most Americans. Half are skinnier than me, the other half are fatter than me. Ok, well, maybe 75% are thinner, but I digress…  So as I stand there in the bathroom glaring at what I have become, I had to think to myself, “well, just how did I get here?”

Then it dawned on me, I like to eat. I like to cook and eat. I like things that are bad for me. Like Food. Like Beer. Like Chocolate. (insert the “you’re just like a woman” comment here) However, I realized a couple of other things. One is that while I was living in Speedway, I was unhappy.  I know it sounds like sour grapes, but lets just say enough negative events had unfolded and I knew it was time to make a change in my life.  I was miserable and for some very legitimate reasons. And that unhappiness led to over-indulging in food and drink. But, that unhappiness also led me to feel I needed a change of scenery.

Lesley and I decided it was time to move on. At first, I had seriously considered Rock Hill, South Carolina. Why, you ask? Because they are constructing a brand new cycling facility, including a 250m outdoor velodrome. I didn’t know person one in Rock Hill, so we explored other options.  Then some of our friends from Louisville had suggested we explore their city as an option. As we looked around, we became more impressed with what we saw. After what seemed like an eternity, we found our dream home. We put an offer on the house and 8 weeks later, we moved in!

So, what does all this have to do with me being fat and unhappy? Well, everything actually!

See, as I stand on that bathmat in my new home, toweling off my wet, “big boned” body I made a decision. I am in a new house. I have a beautiful family. I need to take care of them and provide for them for a long time. As I thought to myself, “it won’t do them any good if I coronary at a young age” I began to think of other issues surrounding my weight. “who wants a bike made by a fat guy who doesn’t ride a bike himself?”, “how can I do everything I wanted to do in life in this body?”, “I want to race my bike again!”, and then the last thought was something my good friend (and 3 time Olympian)  Erin Hartwell said “People don’t respect you if you’re fat”. Erin had noticed as he packed on the pounds after his competitive years were over that despite the fact he carries 2 Olympic Medals and several World Championship Medals and had been a US National Champion several times as well, that people just don’t view you the same. Its not that its “disrespect” so much as it is that they don’t listen to your opinion, or take your opinion as seriously as they would if you were fit.

My career is the bicycle industry. Its not just a job, its way more deep than that, its my LIFE!  I am not implying that I am not getting the respect I deserve, but, those words really impacted me. I knew then and there a change had to come. It, as they say, was “the moment of clarity” when I knew what needed to be done.

So, as I sit here at my desk thinking of how I am going to improve my life, my health and my position in the bicycle industry, I made some goals. I will now share them with you.

1. By December 25th, 2012 I will drop 100 pounds

2. I will race Masters Cross Worlds in 2013 here in Louisville.

3.  I will race a full schedule of road and cross in 2013

4. I will upgrade to a Cat. 2 by the end of the 2013 season.

They are lofty goals, I know. But in the interest of my health I believe I can achieve them.

So, from this point forward, its time to nut up or shut up.

I began my quest last night with a few of my Rio Blanco Racing teammates. We went on a night ride in Louisville. Sure, it was only an hour and 10 minutes, but I had to start somewhere. I am just happy I have friends who will help and encourage me to become (half) the man I used to be. (Thanks guys!)

As for Erin, he went from 240 pounds down to 160 pounds in a year and the WON Masters National Madison title.

He’s back to getting all the respect he deserves… Now its my turn!