I didn’t actually hear the term “Athena” in the cycling world until about 6 months ago. My coach (and friend) George Vargas said something about being in the Athena category. Not wanting to show my ignorance I thought - powerful sprinter? WTF is he talking about? And then I googled it. Great. There is a whole category for fat lady roadies. Awesome. I was mildly thankful I wasn’t named after a horse! (sorry boys)Now, I knew this world of cycling was weight centric. Anything where you pull your ass up mountains on two wheels I suppose should be. But I never let my size sidetrack me from what I wanted to do. When George told me he wanted me to be down at 150 pounds for the century I am training for, I thought he must be crazy. I am 5’11. I haven’t weighed 150 pounds since the sixth grade when I was 4 inches shorter. He also wanted me report my weight to him on a DAILY basis. Um, no. I am not ashamed of my size. My fighting weight is 165 Thats high school, size 8 god- it-would-be-awesome-to-be-there-again weight. But I haven’t been there in a long time. At 29 years old in the span of 14 months I gained over 130 pounds. I knew something was seriously wrong. I was sick, but no doctor was able to find why. My blood tests were normal. Medically I read “normal” but I definitely was not. I blame HMO medical and inexperienced doctors for letting it go on so long. But eventually I was diagnosed with stage 3 thyroid cancer and autoimmune disease that had essentially rendered my thyroid completely useless for god knows how long. Surgery and radiation and steroids led to another 20 pounds and I found myself on my 30th birthday in remission, but at 330 pounds. HOLY CRAP. At that point, I decided it had to go. I joined weight watchers and started working out every day, focusing on indoor cycling. It took me 15 months of HARD WORK, but I got down to 175 and was ecstatic. I held that for 7 years. Became a spin instructor. No - I was not skinny, but I was happy with my size. Then over a period of 4 months, I started gaining weight. I felt bad and I knew something was wrong. I had come out of remission. This time my wonderful doctor told me “If you want a cure - you need to go to the mayo clinic”. So I did. Surgery and treatments later, I am not in remission but my cancer is under control. BUT- I still haven’t lost my “cancer weight”. And it’s been 3 years. I am happy and healthy. In two years I rode 11k miles. I run, I teach and I eat well. I cut out 99% of my processed food and eat what roams or comes out of the land only. But somehow, I just cant seem to lose this fifty pounds. I know that my health and medication don’t help, but really it is about the motivation to live on brown rice and chicken. To give up my biweekly lattes and pastry. Everytime I get on my bike, I feel like I OWN my athena title. I wear a kit (albeit an XL one) and I am not ashamed. But I am self-conscious of how it affects my abilities on that bike. And for that reason alone, I hope I find my motivation soon :).