Since my transformation, during which I lost 135 pounds, fitness has become an important part of my life. So, as often as I can, I want to bring to you a bit of the motivation that drove me to change my habits.
My friend Heather McCann recently started a company called Valley Sweat Life, which is a resource for fitness information in the Central Valley.
With her blessing, I will bring to you here on FresYes.com some amazing stories and explorations of our fitness and health community. And I encourage you to check out Heather’s site and follow Valley Sweat Life on Facebook and Instagram!
[The following was posted on Valley Sweat Life on January 4, 2018 and has been edited for clarity and formatting.]
Behind The Scenes: Pinnacle Racing Team with President Michelle Brown
Michelle Brown is the co-founder and current President of Pinnacle Racing, an elite team of local athletes training in cycling and running. Michelle has been teaching and coaching for over 18 years. When she’s not on her bike, she’s a 6th grade teacher, an indoor cycling instructor at Fresno’s RIDE54, and a mother to two young boys.
We wanted to know how this team started and how it’s evolved, and Michelle was the perfect person to answer those questions and more.
Valley Sweat Life: What is Pinnacle Racing?
Michelle Brown: Pinnacle Racing is a group of 40 men and women (mostly women) who are dedicated to serving our community through volunteering, philanthropy, and growing athletes, all while focusing on a healthy lifestyle and balance within their own lives. Our main sponsor is Pinnacle Training Systems, owned by Felicia Gomez. Her philosophy on health and wellness is pretty much exactly what our team encompasses.
How did you get started? How has it evolved?
Pinnacle Racing used to be called Pinnacle Women’s Racing. There were about seven women who rode bikes together. We wanted to form a racing team for many reasons. First, our sport is male dominated and we felt that the women in this community had no place to go to feel supported. Second, there wasn’t another female team around the valley.
As the years went on, all of the women but myself have moved on to different teams or just decided to not be affiliated with a team anymore. I have been our President for the last five years. We changed the name to Pinnacle Racing to bring on men if we wanted. There are currently a few men on the team. We initially started as just a cycling team and have evolved into a triathlete, cycling, and running team.
What changes have you made to excel in this?
My strongest discipline is cycling. All other disciplines are very difficult for me. After my first child, I was depressed and felt unbalanced in so many ways (as many mothers feel… especially older mothers). I battled with my weight and, after about a year and a half, I decided to see a nutritionist to help me get my world under control. She gave me the tools I needed to get my weight where I wanted; however, she didn’t help with my fitness.
Luckily, our team has one of the best athlete trainers in the valley, Felicia Gomez. She gave me some coaching to help get my body back to my happy place… and then I found myself pregnant again! Ha. Go figure. However, this time, I wasn’t worried or depressed. I knew that I could do it again. So I spent my pregnancy getting fat and eating ice cream (I did run until I was 20 weeks pregnant but then didn’t do anything until the end!). This go-round was very different. Three months after baby, I was back. I still pee all over myself when I run, but I feel good about myself and am happier, healthier mom. Thankfully, I have amazing teammates who all helped and supported me along the way.
How do you balance it with the rest of your life?
What is truly awesome about this team [is], we all understand that family comes first. We are all working professionals and full-time parents. I am a school teacher, coach, and small business owner. We have a couple of stay-at-home moms, but let’s be real, that is a full-time job! This team has an amazing board who picks up my slack when I’m not on my game (Shaylyn Lewis, Denise Ramirez, who is the one who holds us together, Felicia Gomez, and Kim Karanovich). There isn’t a person on our team who doesn’t understand when kids get sick or work calls. We train when we can, we train together when we can, we train alone when we can… but one thing is certain, if our phone rings and it’s a teammate’s number on the screen, we answer and we are there.
How has this changed your life?
This group of women has given me a home, especially in my darkest times. They are my people. So, they haven’t just changed me, they are me. They are my friends and my family and I will forever be loyal to them until the day we decide (as a team) to no longer be a team, which is not anywhere in our future.
What’s awesome about this team is what’s next is anything. What’s next for me is the season of raising my babies and staying healthy and balanced. My team knows that my kids are my number one. I race here and there to support events, but I am nowhere near the racer I am capable of. Will I be one day? Hell yes. Right now, I can’t. Luckily I have a team who gets that! So we do our families, we do life together, we stay healthy together.
Personally, I would like to do a full Ironman [triathlon] when I am 40. I know it is possible and I know I can do it. For my team, I hope we continue to support each other in life and grow our team as the team sees fit. Race together… laugh together… cry together… and love each other.
Balance in life can be hard but knowing you have amazing people to call on and help pull you up, is what we are about. My people are amazing people and I am so blessed to call them friends.
Visit Pinnacle Racing Team on Facebook.
I love where I live, and I also love what I do. I'm lucky to be able to work in a profession in which I get to build relationships; one that has me meeting new people each and every day and helping them to build new lives in my beloved city. I'm lucky enough to work in a profession in which I can marry cutting-edge technologies and marketing techniques to good, old-fashioned, nose-to-the-grindstone work. I am lucky enough to work in a profession that allows me to work as an advocate for my clients; to use every tool at my disposal to get a job done well for them, and with as little stress and expense as possible.
I love my city. I love my job. One inspires my excellence for the other.
Fresno? I say FresYES