My Friend Ernest

Jun 29 2012

Ernest riding with the Boston crew

Ernest riding with the Boston crew | Matt Nunnelly, VeloNews.com

It hasn’t been the best month-and-a-half here at Cyclocosm. More accurately, you might say it hasn’t been the best month and a half for your humble narrator personally, but open-ended complaints make for poor reading.

So let me just say that it was a very nice break from the recent routine to see my friend, Ernest Gagnon getting some serious press coverage for the riding he’s put in over the past year-and-a-half.

The article is no exaggeration—in the fall of 2010, I started riding with a guy who was scared of his own shadow and could barely get out his car; it’s kind of tough to believe that today he’s the same guy who knocks off three-hour rides and is better at line selection than most Cat 3 ‘cross racers I know.

There have been enormous strides outside of racing, too. Working your way through the jam-packed beer garden at DC’s Standard at the peak of happy hour, or schlepping an over-sized custom 29er on the Metro are tasks that make me, at 5’8″ and 170lbs, feel endlessly awkward. To see them so ably navigated by a guy of Ernest’s size, who spent a decade holed up in his apartment, held hostage by his own anxiety, was as impressive as watching him cruise any muddy off-camber.

All the improvements aside, Ernest is just a good guy and a great friend. People have a tendency to get caught up in their own problems, no matter how middling they actually are—bad results, lousy equipment, difficulty training, etc. To see a guy like Ernest, who’s overcome more than most of us will ever have to face, be fired up to simply throw his leg over a bike makes me happier every time we get out for a spin together.

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8 Responses to “My Friend Ernest”

  1. Jon MacKinnon 29 June 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    I read the original post this afternoon and saw your name mentioned. I think it’s great how much Ernest has achieved and hope to hear more about him in the future. Major props to you and the other guys for being decent to him too. There’s a lot of elitism in cycling (and life in general) and I can’t help but think that a lot of people would have turned their backs on him due to his size. I hate to think what would have happened in that situation, so I take my hat off to you, and the others, for being a down right decent guys.

  2. Pamela 29 June 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    I love this story!! I am a 6′ woman who started out over 300 pounds on her own bike. I love to ride and have been getting up early every morning, even weekends, to ride and so far I’ve lost 25 pounds and I feel great. Reading Ernest’s story is so great and makes me want to keep on peddling. Thank you so much for sharing and next March, in Phoenix Arizona, we’d love to have you come and ride in the American Diabetes Association Tour De Cure as part of our team!! Keep on peddling!!! Never give up!!!

  3. Scott 1 July 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Nice. Helping change lives with the bike. Nothing better!

  4. Martin Criminale 1 July 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    Go Ernest! And everyone that has helped him get out on a bicycle.

  5. Hubert 1 July 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Awesome story!

  6. Peter Mnde 5 July 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Great story; I read the VeloNews piece too. Earnest is to be commended for his determination to make a change. The riders that have supported him too.

  7. Bunot Triathlon 23 August 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    wow! very inspiring story. Cycling is one of the most and perhaps the easiest way to lose weight.

    form couch potato to a super lean body.

  8. Chris 2 October 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Great story, and GO EARNEST! Many of us have started or returned to cycling in less than optimal condition. He is an inspiration for me NOT to get lazy as the Northwest winter sets in and ride, rain or shine.

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