Name: William Bowden
Hometown: Burbank, California
Occupation: Season Ticket Manager
Time Cycling: 18 months
Start Weight: 275 pounds
End Weight: 162 pounds
Reason for Cycling: Originally to lose weight
Throughout my life, I’ve stayed active playing softball, but I was not really motivated to take care of myself beyond that. At one point, I did Weight Watchers and stopped drinking regular soda, and I lost around 15 to 20 pounds. But I never took it seriously. I had a lot of negativity in my life, and things were just never quite what I had intended them to be. Overall, my health wasn’t great, and I had stopped caring.
My turning point came in August 2019 when my wife passed away from complications with Type 1 diabetes. I was 50 years old at the time, and I went through an intense series of emotions; I am incredibly grateful for an amazing friend who picked me up from my lowest point in November 2019. She became an inspiration for me to get healthy, and she gave me a lot of support along the way.
I started my health journey on a stationary bike in the gym. Soon, I was at the gym five days a week. I lost about 30 to 35 pounds in the first eight weeks, and I got my first bike at the end of February 2020. My first ride was nine miles on the Los Angeles River Trail bike path at Griffith Park. My friend that got me started on my health journey is a triathlete, so she had her coach take me out and teach me how to clip in. I remember thinking, “How are you guys riding 50 miles later today?!” I also remember falling over at least once. (Okay, maybe more than once!)
I immediately started using Strava to track my rides, and I got a Garmin computer for my bike. I wasn’t interested in racing yet; weight loss was motivation enough. I was riding three to four days a week, and my rides would usually be 10 to 20 miles a ride. My friend would go out with me because she wasn’t comfortable yet with me riding by myself. I also had a partially torn meniscus in my left knee, but that didn’t bother me while riding. By the end of 2020, I was cycling about 170 to 200 miles a week.
William’s Must-Have Gear
Cycology Kits — I love the fit of the Cycology clothing kits.
Garmin Bike Computer — I love all the different screen settings.
Wahoo Kickr — It’s expensive, but it’s the best Smart Trainer I’ve ever had. There is so much you can do that makes it not so terrible to ride at home.
I also worked on my diet. Before this health journey, I ate lots of fast food, visited the doughnut shop every day, and drank diet soda four times a day. The first thing my friend did was make me eat a salad; she found ingredients and a dressing that I would tolerate. Now, I make that salad three to four days a week with dinner. My training partners along the way have all taught me to not completely deprive myself, as has my therapist. For the most part, I try to eat a high-carb, high-protein diet because of my workout schedule.
I’m currently training six to seven days a week in running, cycling, and swimming, and have my first of three triathlons coming up before the end of this year, including the 2XU Malibu Triathlon Presented by Bank of America. I do multiple workouts a day at times, and I’m cycling about 120 miles a week currently, along with my run and swim workouts.
I never imagined that I was ever capable of the things I am doing today. I’ve been through a lot in the last three years, and I still deal with many things every single day. I can’t imagine where I would be if that one very incredible person hadn’t been so kind to help me out. I never knew I had that in me to accomplish all of this, but that one person opened that up for me to see. That is probably the most difficult thing to express.
I lost over 110 pounds in about 16 months. My advice for other cyclists looking to make a similar change is to find a really good group to ride with that will accept you. I found a club that I was riding with, and that was such a tremendous help as I was doing longer and longer rides. I made some really good friends. With my training ramping up for a few triathlons coming up, I’m not able to ride with them as much, but we still talk all the time. And when I can get out and ride with them, it’s a really nice welcome home.
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