Weighing in at 305 pounds Randy John Jr. knew he had to make a change. And it’s been a little over five years since he turned his life around.
“I like to say I’m just a guy off the couch, who needed to make a change in my lifestyle,” John Jr. said in an email to ICTMN. He explained that he’d never had experience with cross country (XC) bike racing before his desire to lose the weight kicked in. Today, the Dine biker has overcome obesity and depression to compete in the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships going on today in Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
From July 15-19, the race brings hundreds of the top mountain bikers from across the country to compete for national titles in cross-country, short track cross-country, downhill, and many others.
John at about 305 pounds before losing the weight.
John competed in the cross country men’s Category 1, 30-34 race, which began early this morning. It’s a 5.46 mile course, running for 100-120 minutes, which reaches an elevation of over 8800 feet. Category 1 in the national championships is one step away from becoming a professional mountain biker. “It’s just an honor to be a Dine’ and to be considered one of the fastest XC mountain bikers,” John said.
To cycle in the national championships, John qualified at the Squash Blossom Classic Screamer mountain bike race last Sept. in Gallup, N.M. His friend, Tatanka Means, contacted ICTMN by email explaining that John had a “pretty amazing,” and inspiring story to share. “[He’s one of few] Native racers at the pro level in mountain biking, road racing and triathlon competitors,”[sic] Means wrote.
A recent picture of John. He has lost the weight and bikes cross country.
And for John, it seems like shedding the weight was just the first step.
“My goal in life is just to encourage other American Indians who are battling obesity and health problems [and tell them] that they can make a change for the good and enjoy life!” John said.