This is a pretty amazing story of being motivated to change your life. A bit scarily so since I don't know if I would start racing cyclocross if I had Angina...a discipline that is known for it's lung and heart busting intensity. Still, it's nice to see people racing who aren't wafer thin and it's even nicer to see that Ernest Gagnon has managed to go from 570 pounds down to 330.
As you watch him, however, you start to get used to the big guy in bike shorts, especially when you realize that Gagnon himself is way past being self-conscious.
"You know, I'm riding in spandex in Boston with these guys. Never thought I could do that [and] it's liberating in a way," Gagnon says. "It really [forces] you to be honest with yourself, accept who you are; because if you can't accept who you are, you can't do anything."
Before the race, Gagnon goes for a ride around the course with his lieutenant, Catalano, who gives him tips about how to ride it. Gagnon rides along on a custom-built titanium bike that is reinforced to hold his weight.
After checking out the course, he lines up in at the start in a crowd of 60 other racers, and after a few nervous, final moments the race is off.
The racers hurtle along dirt paths, and through soccer fields on bikes designed for racing on pavement. There are obstacles in the course like barriers that they have to jump over, or steep hills they run up with the bikes on their shoulders.
The slender, athletic racers are panting and working hard. For Gagnon, however, it's actually physically dangerous. He has angina, and his doctor told him not to let his heart rate get too high during the race, or he could end up in the hospital; something that has happened before. Full article and audio here.