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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A bicycle and a few friends lead a big man into an even bigger world [VeloNews]


Two years ago, Ernest Gagnon weighed 570 pounds. The 30-year-old lived in self-imposed exile in his Massachusetts apartment, leaving only to go to work and to the grocery store. He was depressed, lonely and suffering from crippling anxiety.
Then the doctors gave him the news and two choices: Gagnon had type 2 diabetes; he could undergo gastric bypass surgery or die.
Gagnon chose a third option — cycling.
Today, the big man from the small town of Billerica is on a mission from the bike gods. He’s lost more than 200 pounds. His blood-sugar levels have been reeled in from off the charts to the high end of acceptable. He’s rapidly becoming an Internet celebrity in the cycling world .
Even better, Gagnon finally fits in somewhere. After a decade of isolation, Gagnon has friends. Unlikely friends. Bike racers.
“I’ve kind of always been into cycling,” Gagnon said. “But because I was big, everyone said, ‘Oh, you’ve gotta be a football player. You can’t do that cycling stuff.’”
So he quit, while still a kid.

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