FFFC: Please introduce yourself to our readers.
TB: I am a born-again athlete. I say that because I played sports throughout high school and most of college, fell off the wagon and found a love for health and fitness again through sports as an adult. As a Physical Therapist with certification as an Exercise, Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach, Personal training certification, one would not expect that I was obese, at one time weighing over 200 pounds, but I was. With Weight Watchers and my two fitness loves, cycling and Crossfit, I jokingly say that I went from fat to fit and haven’t looked back since. Most recently, I went on to become a Crossfit Level 1 Instructor and a Certified Wellness Coach. My passion is helping women achieve a lifestyle of fitness by exposing them to fun fitness activities through my organization, So Fit Ladies
FFFC: How and why did you get started riding?
TB: Actually, my dad started riding the year before I did when he turned 60. When he first told me he rode his bicycle 25 miles, I was like, “is there something wrong with your car?” Eventually, a friend of mine asked me to ride on the Silver Comet Trail (a paved path that leads from Georgia to Alabama). I rented a bike, we rode 25 miles and I was hooked! Within 2 weeks I purchased a bike and haven’t looked back since.
FFFC: Which type of bike(s) do you prefer to ride?
TB: I prefer road bikes (the type like they ride in the Tour de France). I realized I have a need for speed, so there is no other choice for me.
FFFC: What do you like most about riding?
TB: It gives me a chance to think. I come up with my best ideas and get rid of stress while I’m on the bike. Since I have been trying, unsuccessfully, for many years to sit and meditate, this is perfect for me. Because of its cyclical uni-directional movement, I often refer to it as my moving meditation.
FFFC: What is the furthest distance or longest time you have ridden?
TB: I have completed a few centuries (100 mile rides) since I began cycling in 2011. I have yet to break the 5 hour mark, but I’ll get there one day.
FFFC: Do you belong to a riding group? Shout’em out right here.
TB: I do not ride alone…EVER. Shortly after we began riding, my friend found a group called the Metro Atlanta Cycling Club, whose mission is to promote cycling in the black community and promote camaraderie among all cyclists. They have become like family to me, looking after me, encouraging and pushing me to ride harder, faster and longer. In addition, they help keep me in check, because they lead a healthy lifestyle and are positive influences all the way around.
FFFC: What do you do to stay in riding shape (exercise, nutrition, etc.)?
TB: Nutrition is key, no matter what sport you take on. I try to focus on getting 8 glasses of water, 5 servings of fruits and veggies daily and limiting processed food (anything in a box, bag or can). I’m not always on point, but if I can do that 80% of the time, I’m good.
In terms of exercise, my other love is Crossfit, so during the winter season, you’ll find me doing Crossfit three times a week to improve my overall fitness level and strength base so I’m ready for the bike when Spring rolls around.
FFFC: What was the biggest challenge when you started riding or still is even now?
TB: CRAMPING! It is no fun to have your muscles lock up when you’re still miles from the car. I have learned how to control them for the most part with proper hydration and endurance training. I tend to cramp more often at the beginning of the season than the end.
FFFC: Do you have any upcoming races or rides planned? Share the event details here.
TB: I usually participate in the Tour de Pink, an organized ride to raise money for the support of women and families of women diagnosed with breast cancer before age 40. To join the team you can go to www.ysctourdepink.org/goto/sofitladies password GoGetIt2013 or donate to the cause at www.ysctourdepink.org/goto/tavona
FFFC: Who helped you as you learned the ropes of riding?
TB: I was fortunate enough to have a club full of mentors. These guys have been riding for years and really took me under their wing to show me the ropes. Every opportunity I got, I was on someone’s wheel, listening to how and when they changed gears, asking questions about this or that.
FFFC: Any advice for someone interested in starting to ride?
TB: I’ll tell you like my father told me, get a middle of the road bike. If you really think you will enjoy road riding, don’t waste your money on a cheap bike, you’ll only end up spending more money for a new bike next year. If you tend to be a loner or one with a different schedule, make sure you find safe biking paths or trails to ride on. Ask your local bike shop if they have a bike safety, handling or basic repair class. It is very important to know how to change a flat and perform basic maintenance on your bike.
FFFC: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
TB: I guess I’d have to say the biggest accomplishment was finishing one of my centuries in less than 5 ½ hours. We held 20 mph for the first 50 miles without stopping. I never thought I’d be able to do something like that in a million years.
FFFC: Who are some of your riding idols (Male or female we don’t discriminate)?
TB: My idols are local Atlantans. Lori Palmer, who is an all-around elite athlete. Not only did she compete for the University of Florida in cycling, she was a competitive swimmer and just ran the Boston marathon. My other cycling idol is Danielle (Dani) Grabol. She has overcome a lot of obstacles to become the elite athlete that she is, recently completing the 3000 mile RAAM (Race Across America). These women race with and beat men, which makes them my biggest heroes J
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