Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cycling Champion Mike Zagorski

Cheribundi Ambassador living life to the fullest

by Janine Frank

What does a two-time national cycling champion have in common with an architect, a construction engineer, a Scotsman, a surfer and a new dad? It's not the beginning of a weak joke; it's a description of Mike Zagorski. He's a very busy man who is about to become even busier.

With his first child due in September, Mike is trying to squeeze in a lot of cycling these days. The 32-year-old lives on O'ahu in Hawaii, where he's currently training and competing in BMX events. Although his national champion status comes from track racing, Mike says the BMX training this year is helping him hone specific muscles he'll need when he gets back on the track next year.

To stay in top shape and add variety to his fitness regimen, Mike also enjoys hiking and surfing. In fact, he says he finds it hard not to fall into a daily surfing habit.

When he's not outside exercising, Mike has a full-time job as an engineer for a construction company. He recently received his architect license and is now working toward a Masters degree in Construction Project Management.

Although Mike admits that it's often difficult to balance his career with such an active and demanding athletic life, he makes it work because cycling is his lifeblood. Since the age of 10, he remembers taking off on his mountain bike in the Scottish Highlands, where he was born and raised. These “epic” rides introduced him to the enduring thrill of cycling. He and a friend once rode their bikes to a World Cup event where they got to ride the course after the race and meet many of that era's top riders. After that, he was hooked.

These days, Mike shares the BMX track with many cyclists far younger than himself. He's been competitive for 17 years, which is just about as long as some of his competitors have been alive. Mike says that eating well has helped him maintain a competitive edge. Because he lives in Hawaii, fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood are plentiful. He's often able to forage wild grown strawberry guava on the roadside during training rides. 

Because it's so warm in Hawaii year-round, Mike is very conscious of staying properly hydrated. He drinks Cheribundi tart cherry juice during rides, along with a lot of water. He says the cherry juice adds variety to his fluid intake and also helps reduce muscle inflammation.  He adds that he also drinks Cheribundi on rest days to help speed up his recovery time. He says, “You don't put regular gasoline into a Ferrari and the same can be applied to athletes. Junk in = junk out.”

One of Mike's favorite sayings that helps him keep achieving his goals despite his busy life is, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” To that end, Mike has big plans for this September. Not only will the new baby make her appearance, but he's also been invited to fly with the Blue Angels. He will be enjoying the exhilaration and some really fast-moving scenery from the back seat of the #7 jet during their performance in Kaneohe Bay.

Here at Cheribundi, we're glad that Mike is constantly challenging himself to reach higher and go farther and faster, not only on his bike but also in his professional life, home life and his spare time. Keep living the dream, Mike! Cheribundi is happy to be part of the ride.

Janine Frank lives in Lafayette, Colorado with her husband, two sons and golden retriever. She writes about fitness, natural products and the great outdoors.

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