About Me

 

Where it all began

 

        At an early age I was a noticeably restless kid with some behavior problems throughout elementary school. While some said I should be medicated for this restless behavior, my parents and I believed in naturally curing this problem. The solution was quite simple. One doctor recommended running me wild, unleashing my energy in exercise to calm my restless behaviors. This is indeed what I did. I started out on a swim team in 3rd grade and transitioned into Pop Warner football in 5th grade. I loved to hit people in football and started to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment I would get at the end of a day’s hard practice. In the 2nd year of Pop Warner football my Coach David Haines died. This tragic happening took place just a few weeks before the end of the season.  Before he died he gave my entire team a plaque of Vince Lombardi’s famous speech, “What It Takes to Be Number One.” Being an 11-year-old at the time, I had no idea what an impact this speech would bring later down the road in my life. The following words have stayed with me throughout all of my struggles and efforts since the day I read them:

 

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.”

-Vince Lombardi

 

          This incident changed my mentality for the rest of my life. Rather than think of football and exercise as fun and games, I turned my mentality into giving absolutely every ounce of energy and effort into my athletics. Giving a 100% effort into any challenge that arises in life and leaving nothing behind in training. To train and push my body like there is no tomorrow. While this may be some of the most painful experiences at times, the feeling of triumph and joy after pushing through these painful experiences is all the more gratifying. The euphoric high that arises from concluding a long and hard fought goal is the greatest. A feeling like I do not want to be anywhere else on the planet at the time. No drugs or alcohol needed, just the triumphant feeling of physical exhaustion for a good cause.

 

High School Years

 

        My drive for exercise started in 8th grade as I slowly transitioned from Pop Warner football to running. Weightlifting also started in 8th grade. I would love the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day and began to understand the concept of the natural high feeling. I continued to want to go further and further. 1600-meter, 3200-meter, and 5K races just would not cut it in High School cross-country and track. I loved the high mileage. My favorite schedule was one that I would make up which consisted of 70-100+ mile weeks over the summer. In 10th grade I got an award called the “Golden Shoes” award that was given out to the high school runner running the most summer mileage. I ended up running 700+ miles in the 10-week period. The golden show plaque read a powerful quote that I have become more and more connected to ever since I read it:  

  “If the miles behind me could be put into words before you… you would feel my efforts, my struggles, my desires, most of all you would see my joy…Watch me from afar run the trails and hills and miles upon miles and you will see…”

-a runner

 

          As high school progressed I found one my biggest inspirations in high school came from a movie and book, based on a true story:  INTO THE WILD. I became moved deeply by this story and I could feel for Christopher McCandless and his desire to trek across the country by foot and eventually live off the land in the Alaskan Wilderness. Unfortunately, McCandless ended up dying in the Alaskan Wilderness. But from the book I understood his motives and the concept of man becoming at one with nature and the road. I began to apply the meaning I took away from this book to drive my own goals and passion. 

  “The sea's only gifts are harsh blows and, occasionally, the chance to feel strong. Now, I don't know much about the sea, but I do know that that's the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions, facing blind, deaf stone alone, with nothing to help you but your own hands and your own head..."

-Christopher Johnson McCandless (Into the Wild movie)

 

            This discipline I had in my running and exercising drove me to working hard not just in my athletics but also in schoolwork. I maintained a 4.0+ grade point average throughout all of high school and ended up graduating magna cum laude.  

 

After High School

 

On June 8, 2009, I left on a journey which led me 1,259 miles up to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania via bicycle where I met my uncle, Danny Chew. From there we departed for Alaska ,crossing the border 47 days and 5,115 miles later. This was the absolute best time of my life. A footloose life on the road with no one to tell me what to do except myself. The Alaska trip ended up being a 13,769 mile journey, ending on October 31, 2009 , that my Uncle said “transformed me from boy to man.” Memories of the trip continue to build as the days go by. Looking back in triumph and satisfaction that I never gave up and pushed through when my hope was down. Accomplishing the trip left me with a feeling of euphoria and confidence like none other.

Longing for another trip ever since the trip to and from Alaska ended, I then departed on another cross-country adventure, this time to from Longwood ,Florida to California and back. This trip came to a halt on just the second day, when I got hit by an S.U.V. near Newberry, South Carolina. Refusing to let this stop me from my journey to California ,I reluctantly got driven up to Pittsburgh from the middle of South Carolina. Driving on the familiar and absolutely gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina was not the same as it had been on bicycle one year before. Giving in to being transported by a vehicle was the smart decision, however, for there was a potential fracture in my knee. It was later clarified by a Pittsburgh Sports-Medicine doctor to be deemed healthy.

The trip to California started on  June 20, 2010. Unlike the trip to and from Alaska ,this trip had a deadline: to be back home in Florida before August 23, 2010. Nevertheless the 61-day, 7,737-mile trip had absolutely amazing and very memorable moments. A whole new journey in which my uncle and I met new people, saw new lands, and had fun and unforgettable moments together.

The highlight of the trip must have been the beautiful Northwestern California CoastI loved to see that such a beautiful and undeveloped  Pacific Northwest  coast still exists. The  California trip came to an end on August 19, 2010. Just like the day I reached the Alaskan border and the last day my return from Alaska, this day was one the happiest days of my entire life. A feeling like I did not want to be anywhere else on the entire planet. I was so at one with my adventure and travel that nothing else in life mattered. Once again, the person who has led me to my dream, and who has been there for the greatest memories of my life, was my uncle. True Companions and Friends Forever. 

 

 

                                                                      Coaching

During the fall of 2015, I started coaching athletes in cycling. It began with training one on one with a father and son who were coached by my own coach, David Guttenplan. I began giving these two specific instructions on their training rides which led to them accomplishing their training goals. From there onward, I continued finding athletes that wanted to challenge themselves and push them further in the sport of cycling. Being coached by Bob Tyler in 2013 to my 3rd place at the Under 23 National Time Trial, I know all about the discipline it takes to follow a training plan and execute results. Combined with graduating from U.C.F. in the spring of 2017 with a Sports and Exercise degree in Coaching, I am determined to make an impact as a coach.

 

Turning Memories into Words

 

 

 Upon the conclusion of High School, I became more and more fascinated about writing and began to keep a journal at the start of my journey to Alaska. Throughout the 140-day and 13,769 mile journey, I documented the happenings of each day along with my feelings and insight. When days were lonely or euphoric, I would continue to motivate myself by writing my journal. My Uncle has kept journals since he was a teenager, knowing he can look back and see what he did as he grows older. One of my big goals is to turn my cross-country trip adventures into a book. A book not only to tell the about the exciting and memorable journey, but to motivate and provide insight to those looking to follow some sort of un-conventional dream. The journey would also tell about how my Uncle and I built a tight companionship through patience, mileage, and mental struggle and euphoria. The book would also talk about obsession, excess, and ultimately the passion for bicycling across the country. The book would also center around the idea that if I want something badly enough in life, I will continue to push on until accomplished, proving only to myself that I can do it. Living up to the pressures of society and conformity is like a destruction to a man's wild spirit. Much of society would think that if one is not bicycling for some sort of cause than their efforts would be useless. I believe that if the passion is strong enough, then not a second of the time would be wasted, regardless if it meets societies needs. The journey to Alaska was to prove to myself that I could do it, nobody else.

 

Ultra-Marathon Cycling

At age 19, I qualified for the RaceAcross America (RAAM) by riding 462 miles in 23 hours in 56 minutes at the Sebring 24 hour race in Sebring, Florida. This was 2nd place in the RAAM division. In this race I had to battle breathing in smoke from forest fires nearby and had to stay mentally tough due to riding the last 13 hours around a 3.7 mile non-lit track. Last year I rode 419.7 miles and was 2nd place as well. Each year I completely shattered the course age group record. This set the unofficial UNDER 20 YEAR OLD WORLD RECORD for a 24-hour non-drafting bicycling race.  One of my favorite attributes about time trials is that it is me against the clock. All of my efforts and the ability to suffer will determine my outcome. In this race there were no road racing strategies or worrying about tactics. The goal was quite simple, to ride as many miles as I can in 24 hours. After concluding the Sebring 24-hour race, next up on the list was the solo Race Across America (RAAM). Read more about my RAAM experience under the Race Across America link.

Mileage Feats:

  • 2008: 10,017 miles (Transition into cyclist from runner)

  • 2009: 27,560 miles (Florida to Alaska and back; 13,769 miles in 140 days)

  • 2010: 30,726 miles (Florida to California and back Summer; 8,246 miles in 63 days)

  • 2011: 20,928 miles (Solo Race Across America Summer)

  • 2012: 17,043 miles (From Cat 3 to Cat 1, with higher intensity training)

  • 2013: ~12,000-15,000 miles

  • 2014: ~12,000-15,000 miles

  • 2015: ~12,000-15,000 miles

  • 2016: ~12,000-15,000 miles

  • Biggest Day: 462 miles (Sebring 24-hour race 2011)

  • Biggest Week: 2052 miles (During the 2011 Race Across America. Day 1-7)

  • Biggest Month: Over 4,000 miles (6/20/10- 7/20/10)

  • Biggest 365 day period: 34,400 miles (August/2009-August/2010)

 

My Other Physical Talents

 

        I have always been super flexible since I was a young kid. To this day, I have the ability to twist myself into a pretzel and bend into other unique positions. The major flexibility is not so much in the back but rather in the legs, hips, and torso. I can still pull my feet backwards to my head, although the high mileage on the bicycle bent down on the handle bars most likely strains or limits this flexibility. My flexibility came largely to my advantage as a wrestler and I was able to avoid getting pinned pretty much throughout all of high school. During the three years I wrestled in high school, I wrestled over about 80 matches and only got pinned two times. Sometimes referees had to blow the whistle and put the match to a halt because they were afraid I was bending too far. Little did they know that this was not hurting me; I was simply using it to my advantage.

          I am also good at climbing trees and used to love to climb up and dangle in trees for hours when I was younger. I loved climbing around and dangling on playgrounds and metal bars as well. I can make a complete workout without touching one weight or going into a gym, by doing push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, bicycling, and climbing trees. I love the outdoors and warm weather.

          I tend to do a lot of high-repetition and long-endurance weight workouts, and prefer to be lean and durable over big and bulky. I would also consider figure body-building down the road one day. I have a quick recovery time so I can pound myself with medium- to high-intensity efforts and recover and continue on with many more sets. In weightlifting I tend not to “max out” in any exercises and often the lowest amount of repetitions I will do is three to five. My hard efforts and recovery time are the same for bicycling intervals. I am not the best sprinter or max power producer, but I can hold a long sprint and endurance effort.  

 

Super-Slow Workout

 

        When I was I started lifting weights when I was 13, I would typically focus on quantity over quality. As a runner and wrestler and high school, I would love the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day through weight lifting. The weight training transitioned into my addiction for high mileage. I loved focusing on high repetitions, sets, and a long workout time. While I felt accomplished at the end of the day, I really was not improving my running times and wrestling skills to their fullest potential like I could if I focused more on specificity and quality.

        In 2010, I started up training with Gary Anger doing his "Super-Slow" workout out. This workout involves pushing the weight as slowly as possible both inward and outward, recruiting the maximum amount of muscle fibers and stressing the system to its fullest potential. As time progressed, I started decreasing the total workout time and increasing quality with Super-slow. At first I thought I would lose tone/fitness in my body. This however, was not the case. In fact, I noticed that I became stronger and more efficient on the bike and kept up the same tone/ fitness. I would combine the super-slow with a Push-Up/Abdomen to keep a strong core. 

        After starting Super-Slow, I noticed an increase in my 1-minute and 5 minute power, improving my Anaerobic and V02 max values. As hard intensity training and super-slow working out progressed, I noticed results in my bike racing.

        The Super-Slow workout is about 25 minutes. The workout is intense and hurts. Often people look at the product of one's body and initially may be jealous but forget about the pain and struggle that went into the training to produce the body/ result. There is no cheating or shortcuts and Gary pushes me to the max. Long solo miles and super-slow training is perfect in the winter months/ no racing time. I would definitely recommend Gary Anger/Super-Slow for any cyclist looking to maximize performance through weight training and also anybody looking to start up with a personal trainer.

Learn more about Gary's Super-Slow workout at his Lifetime Results Website:

 

http://www.lifetimeresults.com/

               

Alaska Trip                          

 

California Trip

 

Alaska Trip

 

Super-Slow Working Out Results

 

 

Flexibility