From Men’s Pro Team rider Chris Williams
There’s a period in everyone’s life where riding a bike becomes uncool. It usually coincides with the acquisition of a driver’s license and the discovery of girls and beer. For me, this started at the age of 17 when I ditched my bike for a “ute” (an Australian utility vehicle) and the usual vices of teenage life.
During this time, the farthest I pedaled a bike was to the corner– and even that was a struggle. Competitive sport was a thing of the past as I enjoyed my party years at University. And as I slowly gained a few pounds, I was probably well along the road to heart disease. That all changed one day, thanks to my girlfriend.
I relocated to the city to attend University and moved into a share house with an eclectic range of people, including someone who was into triathlons. We sat in front of the television one Saturday morning, watching a triathlon race, and as Australian triathlete, Courtney Atkinson, emerged from the water, my girlfriend was quick to remark how ‘fit’ he was. Sure, he had rippled abs, a tanned body and could hold his own in a pair of budgie smugglers, but could he concentrate during a Pharmacology lecture after an all-night party?
I was not going to be out-done by this guy. “I could do that”, I stated. And with those four words began the demise of the ‘fat me’. Within a month I had sold my pride and joy V8, country-bumpkin “ute”, quit smoking and bought my first ever road bike. I had no idea what I was doing.
My journey to fitness was not always smooth. From having to ask a friend to explain where the gear levers are during the test ride of my first road bike to purchasing a wind vest in the middle of summer (because I thought it was a short-sleeve jersey), I have a montage of stories, both successful and unsuccessful.
Three months after that fateful day in front of the television, I completed my first ever triathlon. Also during this time, I slowly began to give up the swimming and running components and focus on cycling; and I have not looked back since.
Now, almost 12 years on, I’ve started a career as a professional cyclist with Team Novo Nordisk, and I’d lucky enough to call the girlfriend who gave me the good advice my wife. And if it weren’t for her and my bike, I’d probably still be sitting on the couch in front of the television.