Barry-Roubaix a is Special Race

 Barry-Roubaix 2010. 

Barry-Roubaix 2010. 

You may only know Cody Sovis, and to a lesser extent, me, as super-fit cyclists who make Lycra look really, really good. But what if I told you that not all that long ago, Cody and I were fat and out of shape? You'd probably be like, "Yeah, based on your cookie consumption, I see that possibility." Well, here's a little story about our fitness history, and how it was Barry-Roubaix that got us back into cycling and our BMIs under 25. 

#Flashback to 2010. Everyone was still on 3G mobile connections and I had definitively removed my fake diamond earring at the behest of my girlfriend at the time. Cody and I were at GVSU down in Allendale. It's January, and we're in indoor intramural soccer. Cody, yes that one, weighs about 195 pounds. I'm weighing in at 185, but I at least lifted weights, so I wasn't nearly the Fluffer Nutter that Cody was. At any rate, during one indoor soccer game, Cody was jogging and came to a sharp stop. His gut jiggled. And jiggled. It didn't stop jiggling until after the game had ended. Cody had noticed the ceaseless blubber party, too.  

"Fucking hell, man. I need to lose some weight."

When you're fat and gross, you don't need advice. There's this misconception that fat people don't know how to be healthy. We know. They know. We all know. Stop eating trash and get off your ass. It ain't rocket science. You simply have to change your entire lifestyle and every habit you've adopted over the course of your lifetime. It's not complicated, but man, it's really freaking hard. 

What we needed was motivation. An event, a deadline, and a tangible measure of our fitness that would make us get off our asses to get fit or face very public humiliation. What we needed, we determined, was a bike race. So, Cody borrowed our Dad's (not shitting) 1996 Mongoose and I dug out my mountain bike that hadn't been ridden in anger since middle school. We circled a small race called Barry-Roubaix to force us to get out and ride that spring. It was cold. It was really, really slow because we were fat and out of shape.  But damn it, it was so much fun. 

We entered the 23-mile race just to see how it went. There were probably 200 bikes at the race that year. To put that into perspective, there are around that many in just the men's 62-mile open class in 2017. Cody and I tied for 3rd that day, but who cares about plastic medals? What we found was a community of people just like us - people trying to be fitter, healthier, and active. We lined up with teachers, soccer moms, grandpas, accountants, and bartenders. Most of us had nothing in common except the desire to not have our guts jiggle when we brushed our teeth. 

On March 25th, Cody and I, along with 3,500 of our best friends, will head to Barry-Roubaix to go for a bike ride. 1% of the people showing up will even entertain the thought of winning anything, but 99% of people will have pushed themselves on trainers, on rides outdoors in the cold, in the gym, and away from dinner tables to get just a little fitter for Barry-Roubaix. Barry is a special race because it's the one that re-introduced me to a whole group of people who want the same thing as me - to be happier, healthier, and to be able to go swimming at the beach without wearing a t-shirt into the water. 

Wes does digital marketing for Swell Development and Everpresent Marketing during the daytime. He lives in Traverse City with his two cats and beagle. Oh yeah, and his wife, Renee. Follow him on the FB and Insta for pictures of food and domesticated animals. 



Wes Sovis