Member Spotlight: Eric Mah

Member Spotlight: Eric Mah

Today we interviewed Eric, one of our Nitro members, and talked about his cycling journey, recovering from a crash, and finding community and connection with other cyclists.

Tell us about yourself

Hi there, my name is Eric, I am 32 years young! I was born in Vancouver, Canada and have been living here all my life.

My passions in life are living a healthy lifestyle and working hard. I firmly believe that being a nice and kind person is very important in life as it is just too short to keep resentment or bitterness towards anything. Always look on the positive side of things.

One of my favorite foods is sushi, and I love hiking, sports, the gym and traveling. I work for the District of West Vancouver in the Building and Development department.

How did your cycling journey start?

I started my cycling journey like many, during Covid. I originally was competing in dragon boat and was heading to France to represent Canada in the World Club Crew Championships. Unfortunately Covid shut down dragonboat and we were unable to attend.

I took up cycling as a way to try something new and also stay fit. I quickly fell in love with the sport and decided to continue pursuing it as more and more friends joined. I enjoyed being outdoors in the sunshine with friends strolling around the city and also exploring new places on a bike.

Some of my favourite cycling memories include heading down to the border, riding out to Mission, and just going out for a stroll with friends - whether it was to blow off some steam, race a bit or just have talks about life.

It was such an amazing way to connect with old and new friends and I enjoyed being outside and feeling free.

Tell us about some cycling highlights!

Some of my biggest cycling successes and achievements have been to ride up on the mountains such as SFU, Cypress and Grouse. I still want to conquer Seymour and then do a triple crown which should happen soon.

The most memorable achievement was heading out to Mission on a ride and cycling back along Abbotsford and Langley. It was such an amazing experience going on some long roads during the sunset and feeling the peacefulness.

Cycling for me has always been more fun riding with a group, so it definitely has been a great highlight to find like-minded people to cycle with.

How has cycling changed you?

Cycling has changed me as a person because I’ve been able to meet so many amazing people in my cycling journey. Old and new friends!

I’ve learned to enjoy the little things, picked up a few life lessons and strengthened old friendships. It has reminded me that hard work and patience pays off, and you have to keep persisting through the tough times. This consistency allows you to be stronger and more humbled for the things you do have.

I have become increasingly grateful and appreciative of all the people in my life and for all the things the world has to offer, every adventure I go on solidifies that.

You had a crash last year right?

Yeah, it happened August 28, 2021. I didn't get enough sleep the night before and was joining my friend on his 200km ride. Was heading up to Horseshoe Bay and rode too close to the shoulder on Marine. I went downhill super quick and didn't have time to react, slid off the shoulder and scratched my whole left side of the body. I tumbled a bit and went into a ditch.

The house across the street recognized that sound, as multiple cyclists had accidents in that specific spot and came out to help with bandages and water.
I had damaged a lot of my left side (nothing broken fortunately) and had to take time off cycling.

It took a month and a half to heal from the injury, but after I healed up I was still too shocked to ride, so my season ended there...

I ended up taking the whole year off and became unfit, dropping all sorts of activities I used to do. I didn’t take care of my mental and physical health and it was definitely hard to get back.

I overcame it by first getting my damaged bike repaired. I started to ride more (and joined the TLD fam), which brought back my confidence. With support from friends and family, I started slowly getting out of my rut.

Since then, I take turns a lot safer, and I stay in the middle of the lane more when there are no cars. Again, luckily no damage to my body except for the cuts and road rash so I am grateful nothing was broken.

I did a cornering clinic recently and it has helped me so much with restoring my confidence. I am definitely a more cautious and safer rider because of the accident, as I don't think any injury is worth it, no matter how fast you're going. Definitely had to keep a positive attitude and work on being more confident and brave.

I grew a lot during this time as I learned more about myself and my weaknesses/limits. Great support as well as the strong will and grit to get back into it is now something I appreciate more in myself. It’s hard to accept that you lost yourself and that you have to overcome your own demons to excel.

What are some future cycling goals?

Some of my future cycling goals would be to try bike packing and gravel biking. They have been so popular and I recently did a trip to Victoria and loved it! It would be awesome to explore BC on a road bike.

Some of my fitness goals would be to attempt the triple crown. I’ve done Cypress and Grouse individually so I have yet to do Seymour and then all 3 at once. Definitely looking to hit that this summer! I also want to do some longer rides such as Harrison or Squamish. Lots of goals and not enough time!

 

What has cycling taught you?

Something that I’ve learned from cycling is how important our mental health is. I was on autopilot, just working like a machine, until I started cycling.

It allowed me to take time for myself. To go on those long rides either myself or with friends, and get a clear head or relieve stress. With Covid restricting activities, it was nice to be able to be out, and also to be cycling with friends.

This increased my productivity and kept me healthy while everything else was closed down. I think it’s easy for us to forget how important our mental health is, and when we get into an unhealthy routine, it just continues and builds up. I’m now definitely more aware about taking time to de-stress and make sure I am healthy in body, mind and spirit.

One piece of advice I would give myself at the beginning of my cycling journey is to be patient, when you go into cycling and you get excited, it can be very easy to be hard on yourself when you are not performing or if you get injured. Take the time to heal and take the time to keep training. Nothing worth it comes easy and you have to put time into things that matter and will help you to learn and grow.

 

What's it like being part of the NITRO tier?

I originally joined wanting to just be a standard member and thought I would be satisfied with it... But as I got more into the club and talking with people, I realized eventually that Nitro was the way to go!

Not only was there the competitive aspect of it, but being a Nitro member gave me access to so much more resources. Nitro members have access to coaching clinics, more rides (longer and farther out), and amazing workshops.

You definitely get more value out of being a Nitro member. Whether you're just starting off, or coming from a competitive background, the atmosphere is very welcoming, and I am glad that I switched over to Nitro. Take that step, you won't look back and question it!

Why do you love being part of TLD?

What I love about being a part of TLD is feeling like a family. I was surprised that a lot of old and new friends were in the club. I would never have thought I would find a group so supportive, on and off the bike.

I love the rides, the atmosphere, the energy, all of it. The Last Drop is full of amazing humans, and I love that we have a common goal to strive and make ourselves better than we were yesterday.

Follow Eric's journey on Instagram

 


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