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“Cancer is not something people openly talk about.”


Cancer is not something people openly talk about. I have been through it with my Mother, close friends and a close scare myself. I have a rare condition that closely relates and about 90% of people like myself who have it are every overweight and have diabetes. Having a metabolism that is two times slower than the average male, losing weight requires double the effort. I knew that I would need to be active all of the time to even maintain a healthy lifestyle and not end up like that 90%. I found that going to the gym “worked”, but it was a band aid as I had no idea what to do there.


My parents. My father who is 69 was diagnosed with MS a few years back, but road bikes all of his life. He pushed through the struggles and came out on top, until the MS became too much and he had to hang up his riding shoes. My mother who we lost 2 years ago to Stage 4 lung cancer, never gave up, not once. I was there from start to end and there was never a “I can’t do this” in her. She pushed it through 3 years of Chemo until the very end. So when I am struggling to do anything that I think is impossible, I look at what they pushed through and I overcome the pain and finish it out, no matter what.


The drive to keep getting better and using the strength from the gym to use that for what I do outside of the gym. Pushing my legs to go faster up hills, over bigger jumps and higher drops when mountain biking. Using the strength in my upper body to get through the crux of a 5.12 while on lead when your fingers and forearms are on fire. Utilizing the entire body when kayaking 15 miles and remembering that was only one way, you still have another 15 miles back.


To continue to build my endurance for everything I do.


I can see it in all aspects of riding, climbing and kayaking. I am faster, stronger, and can go out longer where before I would feel tired. feeling mentally and physically healthier and having the drive to want to come and work out and being bummed when I can’t.


When I joined CFN I was terrified since I was all sorts of out of shape and everyone I saw was toned and looked like they had just walked out of Patagonia catalog. I quickly realized no one cares what you look like. They care that you are there trying, rather than not. That drove me to push myself beyond what I have ever done before. 7 months have gone by and I am outside the scope of the 90% and healthy and I can ride, climb and paddle faster than ever. I designed my tattoo on my calf and it reminds me of why I am doing this and who for. You’ll never get better if you don’t push yourself beyond what you’re capable of.


-Matt W

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