January 2018 Athlete Story- Adam Walker

Adam Walker of the Cycling Co
Adam is a former National Team road and mountain bike athlete who tells horrible dad jokes ;) and plans to race in this years 7-day BC Bike Race!  Learn more about Adam in this month's Fit Balm Athlete Story. 
Tell us a little bit about yourself/Give a little bit of a background? 
I'm a former Canadian National Team road and mountain bike athlete who is now a cycling coach and instructor at The Cycling Co and with Cycling BC. I started racing in the 80's (yes, I am old!) and retired from competition in 2000.
With the pressure of racing out of the way, I went to live in Whistler for the better part of a decade. At this time, mountain biking was really exploding and I started doing some instruction and guiding in Whistler bike park and around the valley. In the winter, I skied and snowboarded a lot, while working as a bartender at night. Not necessarily the healthiest lifestyle.
About 10 years ago, I moved back to the island and settled at Bear Mountain. I was working in the hospitality industry as a general manager of restaurants and hotel food and beverage programs. I was almost 40lbs overweight, overworked, depressed, and too out of shape to keep up with all of my riding buddies. Something had to give.
Almost as if I asked for it (maybe subconsciously, I did), my life almost instantly changed.
The restaurant I was working at closed and all of the sudden, I had time on my hands. I started riding again. A little bit at first. Then more. And then more.
I got bit by the bike bug once again. I was packing on the mileage and the weight was melting off my body. I was smiling a lot more.
Somewhere along the line, I think it was 2014, I was asked to lead a group of riders preparing for the Tour de Victoria. I was instantly reminded of how much cycling knowledge I had buried in my DNA. This group of 20 recreational riders was inspiring me to ride just as much as I hope I was inspiring them. That year at the Tour de Vic, I was the fastest rider in my age group, finishing 8th overall. Now as a former national champion, you might think that this might not sound that exciting, but as someone who had so recently been to the "dark side", overweight and out of shape, this was a sweet, sweet day.
What motivates you to stay healthy? 
I guess I'm just trying to fend off the effects of age! Haha. I just feel better when I am fit. I like to ride fast. And I like to ride a lot. I can only do this if I'm taking care of my nutrition and my rest and recovery. Also, at 45, I know that it is even more important to maintain a healthy lifestyle as we age.
What is something that you have done recently to help others?
In addition to helping my clients reach their fitness goals and develop their riding skills, I am the Head Coach for the Cycling BC iRide kids cycling program. I coached 3000 kids last year alone!
What is your favourite Fit Balm product, and why? (If you have not yet tried any, what would you like to try?)
I'm really looking forward to trying the muscle balm. I'm constantly sore. I may be a chronic over-trainer! lol

What are 5 quick facts that your best friend would use to introduce you?

I make terrible dad jokes
If I go more than two days without getting on my bike (or some other adrenaline-fuelled endurance sport) I start to go mental
I love rock n' roll, preferably turned up to 11
I love to cook
I love my wife and my dogs more than anything (except my bike!) haha

What is your occupation? What inspired you to pick this profession? 

I started The Cycling Co. in 2016. (thecyclingco.com, @thecyclingco on Instagram) I realized that there were hundreds of people out there who were discovering mountain biking, but there were few resources locally to provide the skills for them to learn in a safe, fun environment. Coaching is so challenging and unbelievably rewarding. I've never felt job satisfaction like I do after teaching a great lesson with some of our awesome clients.

Can you tell us a little bit about your athletic background/what sports or type of fitness you do?

As I mentioned earlier, I was a bike racer for many years. I started out racing on the road but switched my focus to off-road part way through my career. I still ride the road a bit, but I really love playing in the dirt, so I spend most of my time on my mountain bike.


What would you say to someone who is trying to start living a healthier lifestyle?

Start with small changes to your lifestyle. New Year's resolutions and major overhauls tend to fail in most (over 90%!) of people. Begin by adding more veggies to your diet. Go for a walk with your partner or your kids. Go for a bike ride. Small changes make big differences when the cumulative effect happens over time.


Do you set goals? Will you share those goals with us?

Well, I have decided to race the BC Bike Race this year. It's a seven-day mountain bike stage race where 600 riders from around the world race every day for seven consecutive days around Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and Sea to Sky, finishing in Whistler.
Let's just say, I want to be fast for this one.

What do you think the world needs most at this time in history?

Real leaders. Leaders with the best interest of the planet and humanity at the top of their list.

Favourite… if you can list just one!

Movie? Pulp Fiction

Snack Food? Miss Vickie's plain potato chips with dill pickle chip dip. I'll take down a whole bag.

Article of clothing? A good ol' pair of blue jeans

Quote? "If you think you can do a thing or can't do a thing, you're right!" Henry Ford

Athlete? ME! I've never really looked up to athletes as icons. Perhaps I did when I was younger, but as doping pervaded cycling in the 90's and 2000's, I lost respect for many who I once held in high regard. I have always been a clean athlete and I am very proud of that. Love yourself.

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