The Last Drop crew is made up of many unique people and perspectives, and we want to highlight some of these people, starting with high school teacher and cyclist Dustin Corpuz. In this interview we chat about teaching, how recovering from Covid is affecting his cycling, achievements and lessons learned, and so much more.
My name is Dustin Corpuz and I am a high school teacher. I have always been passionate about sports and active living. Growing up I played soccer competitively, as well as a number of sports on the side, from tennis, hockey, skiing and golf. I have always enjoyed team sports, because of the comradery and friendships gained. In addition to being involved in sports, I have also enjoyed being outdoors, from fishing, camping and hiking.
I am currently married to a loving, supportive wife and am a father of a silly, adventurous five year old daughter. Family has always played an important role in my life, as I have three brothers and come from a fairly large Filipino family.
My passion for cycling originates from my father and uncles who meet every weekend to cycle and ride in local charity rides each year.
Does cycling influence your teaching (or vice versa)?
Both in cycling and in school, I think to accomplish your goals, it takes hard work. Nothing comes easy in cycling when you're trying to achieve your goals, whether it’s finishing your first century or your first Triple Crown. You’re going to have to put the time in and it’s not always going to be easy.
Similarly, when it comes to learning, it takes hard work. I try to push my students to not settle with mediocrity when it comes to their learning, and encourage them that the product of hard work is more satisfying than when you don’t try.
What's your cycling origin story?
My dad is a big time cyclist and has played a large role in my passion for cycling. I started cycling as a teen, as I would join my father and his friends on mountain bike rides on the weekend. My weekend would usually involve waking up early in the morning, going for a ride up the local mountain and then going to play a game of soccer.
I began dabbling in road cycling in my late teens, when I would take my dad's road bike for a ride around Port Coquitlam, my hometown. I began to cycle more frequently when I began to ride with friends and family in my 20’s. Eventually, it turned into a weekly ritual, catching up for a social ride or solo adventure.
What's your favourite cycling memory?
I have had many great memories on the bike, but here are two of my favourite memories. Firstly, I will always cherish my weekend morning rides with my dad climbing up Burke Mountain with the bike my dad built for me. Like many kids, I always pictured myself in the yellow jersey riding in the Tour de France, as I climbed up that mountain.
Another has to be riding a charity ride my friends and I organized, where we rode 160km and raised $50,000 for for women and children caught in human trafficking.
Can you tell us more about this?
For a few years, one of my close friends and I would always talk about organizing a ride with friends to raise money for a charity. Really we were looking for an excuse to organize a peloton of friends to go on an epic ride together. In 2020, we pitched the idea to a friend who was the director of Ally Global, which is a non-profit organization that works with local officials in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to rescue women and children from human trafficking.
Little did we know that when we pitched the idea of riding 160km to Cultus lake that it would turn into a movement where others would organize their own charity events on the same day. Some did marathon walks, wake boarded for 12hrs and hiked from Horseshoe bay to Deep Cove.
What is one of your cycling achievements?
Two of my biggest achievements in cycling are; conquering my first Triple Crown and completing my first century ride (160km). Completing my first century ride was a pretty amazing feeling. I know that thousands of people have rode 160km + in a day, but after finishing that ride I felt like I accomplished a historical feat in the annals of cycling.
Tell us about a cycling challenge.
As an athlete/cyclist I have had my fair share of broken bones, injuries and falls. I have always used cycling as a motivation to get back on the bike and have not allowed a fall to discourage me from biking. But, as I’m doing this interview, I am currently dealing with another challenge to my cycling.
Two months ago I had COVID and after recovering I began easing back into cycling, during that process I experienced a higher than normal heart rate and longer times of recovery. After meeting with my doctor, these were signs of post-COVID and it would take time for me to fully recover to my normal fitness.
For the first time, I felt hesitant to push myself as it could result in further harm. I’m learning that patience is required and it’s better to “take the scenic” route back to cycling than worrying about pushing “watts”.
Every injury is hard, as you feel frustrated with the disability of not being able to do what you enjoy. It’s hard to compare the this to a purely physical injury like a broken bone, as I am going through the post-COVID experience right now. I say that because in every injury I have had, I have dramatically felt like it was the worst thing I have experienced. One thing is for sure, that all injuries take time and patience. Post-COVID feels like it’s going to take patience.
What have you learned from cycling?
Cycling has taught me that when you push your boundaries, you’ll surprise yourself with your results and what you are capable of. I think we often put limits on our abilities, but cycling has shown me that if we don’t put limitations on ourselves, we turn dreams into reality (per se).
Cycling has helped me set goals and made me a much more motivated person.
Going back to my teaching, the last 2 years I have been on a journey to be self-critical of my practice, and trying to make my lessons better, improving my instructions. To be more understanding of where my students' needs are, and try to meet them. Cycling has pushed me to not settle for mediocrity in the various aspects of my life.
What are some of your cycling goals?
A couple of my future cycling goals are to ride in more Fondos events and organize international cycling trips.
One ride on the books in the near future is to cycle Mount Baker south of the border in Washington State. Another dream would be to travel to France and climb some of the mountains featured in the Tour de France like the Alpe de d’Huez. It would be amazing to watch the stage, and then ride the mountain stage the day after. My best friend’s father in-law did this a few years ago, and it sounded epic.
In these goals, I would like to take my cycling to new places, and continue to push my level of cycling and fitness. Lastly, I would like to continue to share my passion for cycling with my family and friends by heading out on rides and enjoying the experience.
What would you tell your younger self?
If I could do it all over again, I would have liked to have competed in my teens, either in mountain biking or on the road. My uncle would always say to me growing up that I should compete in cycling, that I had the mentality and physical attributes to do well. But, at the time I enjoyed cycling for the pure recreational/social experiences.
I don’t regret those experiences, each moment is special to me. But, as a teacher, I have had a few students that have gone to provincial and national championships. I have enjoyed my conversations with them, discussing their experiences and I have found them fascinating. In some ways, I am living vicariously through them!
What do you love about The Last Drop?
Growing up and playing team sports, I have always loved the friendships and comradery that you develop. Cycling can be a lonely sport at times, training and riding alone. But, joining the TLD has brought back the same feelings as being a part of a team. Together we are pushing one another to accomplish Team achievements and our own personal achievements.
You can follow Dustin's cycling journey on Instagram.