On my bike I am free and I am ME!

Carrie Lehtonen – Broomfield, CO

On my bike I am free and I am ME!

I’m in love?with life. Whenever I'm on a bike, I can't help but smile and realize how truly happy I am. I live in a beautiful place that affords me the opportunity to actively enjoy nature on a daily basis. Cycling has always held a special place in my heart. I feel most like myself when I'm spinning the pedals.

I own four different types of bikes: a mountain bike, beach cruiser, road bike and hybrid. That means I have plenty of options depending on what kind of ride I want to do or how far I need to go. Lately, it seems like I’m either training on my road bike or riding the cruiser around town. But no matter which bike I'm on, I’m always happy when I’m riding.

Mountain biking has been my escape from the stress of work. The stress melts away as I maneuver the bike over whatever obstacles lay before me on the trail.
I feel confident and at peace when I'm riding. When I was riding in the Colorado Courage Classic last summer over three mountain passes, the best part was riding along my favorite lake in Colorado early in the morning – it was just me (a woman and her bike) and I was completely at peace.
Whenever I travel to a new place, my favorite way to explore is by bike whether it's through the streets of Paris or the countryside of Italy. You see and experience a place in a more real way when on a bike. There's nothing else like it!

I'm not surprised that the day I was given a second chance at life, I was on my bike. At 31 years old, I suffered a heart attack while on a 60-mile ride with friends. Despite being a healthy, active triathlete, a blood clot formed in an artery in my heart that would have ended my life if my friend hadn't convinced me to go to the hospital after the ride. Since then I've gotten even more serious about healthy eating, maintaining an active and balanced lifestyle, and spreading the word to others about healthy habits. This summer I'm organizing a bike ride to bring awareness to heart disease and raise funds for the American Heart Association, and to share my love of cycling with my community!

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