Written By: Barry Lewis
The following post was written after Barry completed the ITU Long Course Duathlon World Championship for Team USA. In honor of his last 90 minute class of the season (this Saturday April 30 from 7:30-9:00 AM), we wanted to share this with you. Barry is a man of strength and power; he is both empowering and empowered himself. We feel honored to have such an incredible, yet humble, athlete and teacher on our team at Body Cycle Studio. Barry is a firm believer that you can do anything you set to your mind to, be it a 90 minute class or a 90 mile race. He believes in you, and we do too. We hope our readers and riders take as much inspiration away from this piece as we did. Thank you for being you, Barry! Enjoy!
September 6 2015, Zofingen, Switzerland—
The anticipation had been building for months and it was finally time. I quieted the inner voice that wished for one more month of hill training, one more week of speed work, one more interval session. I’d done the work. I was ready.
I scanned my fellow competitors as we prepared our spaces in transition, went through our pre-race rituals, and lined up at the start. The butterflies in my belly calmed as I looked past the start banner and up the steep incline that would set the stage for the day. As the gun fired, a huge grin crossed my face and I let loose with a shout of absolute joy. There I was, in the shadow of the Swiss Alps, racing one of the world’s most challenging multi-sport courses, against the best Duathletes on the planet—and it was only because the Body Cycle community had shown me so much love and support.
The notion of a fundraiser had blossomed from an innocent social media post I’d made after being invited to join Team USA for the race, and the incredible Management and Operations team pulled out all stops to dedicate a day of classes to funding my trip. They hit up contacts for donations, put together a silent auction, sought media attention, promoted the fundraiser, and made it all work. My fellow instructors cranked out
special classes. We had a run and yoga session. A happy hour capped off a super fun day. And the donations rolled in.
Two hours later, I lay on the ground in a state of shock, my feet still clipped into the pedals after sliding across the road and into the curb. The rain had stopped, but the roundabout was still slick; my tires had lost their grip and I’d gone down hard.
The group I’d been battling with faded into the distance as I slowly got up and took inventory. My bar tape was shredded, but I hadn’t broken anything or bent up a wheel. I straightened my brake lever, put my chain back on, remounted, and took a few tentative pedal strokes. My hip throbbed under my torn shorts. Blood dripped from my hand and elbow. My shoulder was sore. I had 100 kilometers of tough riding ahead, and then another hilly run, but everything seemed to be in working order. I dismissed the idea of quitting almost before it entered my head.
How many times had I asked people in class to dig deep and work through the pain? How many stories had I shared of people overcoming setbacks and motoring on in spite of the odds? A few hours of discomfort was nothing in the grand scheme of things, and this was the perfect opportunity to live by my words.
As my first slow pedal strokes became more powerful, I was overcome with feelings of GRATITUDE. As always, my wife had been full of encouragement and made daily sacrifices while being a source of non-stop support. Friends and teammates had been at my side throughout the season and seen me off with a lifetime’s worth of positive vibes. So many BodyRockers had donated, participated, and offered inspiration throughout my preparation for the epic event. I resolved to get to the finish, no matter what. I might have lost my groove. I might be forced to walk instead of run. I might not meet my goal of making the podium. But I would do what I could. How else could I possibly thank all those who supported my dream?
The rest, as they say, is history. Believe you can, and you will!
To everyone who contributed to my journey, thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you some more. You got me to the starting line and you got me to the finish. It’s as simple as that!
Editor’s note: Barry completed the race, which was the ITU Long Course Duathlon World Championships, held on the historic Powerman Zofingen course. After running 10K, biking 150K, and running 30K, he placed 2nd in his age group. Three weeks later, he won his age group at Ironman Chattanooga. His win at Chattanooga qualified him for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, which he’ll be racing for the fifth time this coming October. Though his website www.bltlewis.com is a work in progress, you’ll eventually be able to follow him there. In the meantime, check him out on Instagram @bltlewis. And come to his class!