Felt Bicycles is a proud supporter of US Military Endurance Sports, a registered 501 (c)3 non-profit amateur sports organization whose mission is “to promote endurance sports as part of a healthy lifestyle to active and Veteran members of the US Armed Forces.” USMES members are some of the most passionate cyclists and triathletes anywhere, and they’re as dedicated to promoting bike riding as part of a healthy lifestyle as they are serving the people of the United States and its allies. This blog series showcases a few USMES athletes who exemplify the spirit that all cyclists share, one of perseverance in the face of adversity and relishing the unique freedom that a bicycle can provide all individuals. (Photo courtesy of Pactimo / Adam Pawlikiewicz Mesa)
Bryant Trinidad Lopez-Cepero wasn’t always an elite athlete. When he first tried to enlist in the military, he was told he had to lose 50 pounds. And, later, as with so many athletes and individuals who struggle in such difficult efforts, Bryant’s weight often came back.
“After returning from my first deployment, I was depressed and stress eating, and I was not in a good place,” says Bryant.
A Master Sergeant who Bryant admired convinced him to try cycling and, later, triathlon. This eventually led him to joining USMES.
“Thanks to the articles on nutrition and fitness and the support of my teammates, I’ve gone from the out-of-shape guy to a national-class athlete,” says Bryant. “USMES is entirely 100% responsible for me being athletic and competing at this level. Now I’m one of those guys in my squadron who’s consistently the most fit, and I often mentor younger Airmen on how to handle nutrition and find exercise that they love enough to motivate them to get and stay in shape. I want to represent USMES in everything I do, especially cycling.”
Among other notable accomplishments, Bryant became the Colorado State Champion in the track disciplines of Team Sprint and Match Sprint. Read on to learn a bit more about Bryant, and what fuels his desire to compete and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
(Photo: Bruce Buckley)
FELT: Tell us how you first got into cycling.
Bryant: I started out after my first deployment, a MSgt (Joe Grunditz) I worked with got me into it. At first it was just a cheap way to get to work, then a hobby with triathlon, and then a vital part of my normal routine when I started to become the “Fit” guy. I got into Competitive track cycling in San Jose a few years later.
FELT: Tell us about your service experience.
Bryant: I’ve been a part of the US Air Force for 11 years. I’ve spent four years working on C-17 cargo aircraft, two years working as an aero repair tech on C-5 and KC-10s, and five years working as an education specialist.
FELT: What are some interesting facts about yourself that you’d like to share?
Bryant: Before I joined the Air Force, I weighed 255 pounds at 6’1” tall, and I had to drop 40 pounds just to join the military.
FELT: Tell us about your experience training and competing with USMES.
Bryant: I actually learned proper nutrition and training plans through the resources made available by the USMES website and teammates who taught me, so that’s been awesome. As far as competing, I started competing with my regional team in Alaska who ignited my desire to be as competitive as possible. There’s nothing quite like smashing a sprint for first.
FELT: Tell us about your short-term and long-term competitive goals.
Bryant: In the short term, I want to win a national title in the 1km time trial cycling event. Long-term, I want to see how far I can take that (1km) and the team sprint and help organize junior development when I retire.
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