David Metraux | Reader Athlete Aug. 2011

David MetrauxAge: 32
Family: Madeleine, 3-year-old daughter
Director of Information Technology for the Vt. Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Primary sports: Cycling and running

VS: How much cycling do you do each year?
DM: Last year I rode almost 1,800 miles, but I think it should count double because I do it while pulling my daughter in her bike trailer. Since we started riding together, we’ve done over 3,000 miles.

VS: What kind of setup do you have?
DM: I ride an old mountain bike because you need a heavy bike to pull the trailer. I’ve got a mid-entry-level Trek, which has a heavy frame. I’ve already broken one axle from pulling the trailer. Maddie weighs 45 pounds, and the trailer is 35 pounds. When you add her snacks and books, the total weight is probably over 85 pounds.

VS: Where do you ride?
DM: After work we do a lot of 10-mile rides around the Kingdom. On weekends we do some longer rides, and we’ve done trips of 55 miles two or three times. We do some traveling, as well. There’s a nice bike path by the Charles River in Boston, and we like to ride in Franconia Notch State Park, N.H. There is a very hilly, winding eight-mile bike path that is more like a paved hiking trail. It’s so steep that sometimes you feel like you’re barely moving. It’s an extreme workout with the trailer. On Maddie’s second birthday, we rode the Tour de Farms in Shoreham, which is 30 miles. It was one of her all-time favorites.

VS: Will your daughter be getting her own bike soon?
DM: I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but since she doesn’t read yet, I guess its OK: she’ll probably get her own bike this year. She’s got a tricycle now. My hope is that in addition to getting her on her own bike, we’ll transition from the trailer to a tagalong. She still enjoys the trailer, though. When I come home from work, she’s already got her helmet out, and she’s ready to go. We can talk while she’s in the trailer. We used to sing the alphabet back and forth, and now she’ll ask me to do math problems. I’ll call out addition and subtraction questions for her. That works really well when we do the bike path at Stowe, since we can count the bridges. We also talk about the animals and practice making the sounds they make. It’s a pretty interactive experience.

VS: You used to do a lot of traveling. Is that still the case? Your website lists a goal of visiting as many countries as your age.
DM: I’m 32 and I’ve been to over 40 countries, but since moving to Vermont, I’ve been doing more traveling within the U.S. I used to do a lot of backpacking trips. In college I did a semester in Hong Kong and afterwards spent nine months backpacking through Asia. The best part was the Northern Philippines where you can see these incredible rice terraces. Imagine the Green Mountains but completely covered with rice. It was a phenomenal view.

VS: I understand you recently lost quite a bit of weight. Care to explain how you did it?
DM: After moving to Vermont and getting a sedentary computer job with the state, I put on about 30 to 40 pounds. When my daughter was born, I wanted to be a role model for her, and that’s when I decided to get back into fitness. I hadn’t cycled since I was a kid, and I hadn’t run since high school, but I knew it was time to get back into both disciplines. I began riding, and when Maddie was old enough, I got the trailer for her. I also started counting my calories rigorously, and I lost 55 pounds. I’ve kept it off for three years. I began running again. I worked my way up to a 5K race and then a half-marathon, and this year I did my first marathon right here in Vermont.

VS: How did that go?
DM: My goal was to finish in less than four hours but that didn’t happen. I finished in 4:22:15. Despite the fact that it was really painful, it felt awesome. It was probably wrong to set a goal other than finishing, since before my half-marathon I’d never run more than eight miles. I’m not going to be setting records anytime soon. The big goal was four hours but the realistic goal was just to finish, and I did that. You can choose to be sad about not meeting a goal or be excited about finishing, and that’s a healthier route to take. I have exercise induced asthma, so I had a hard time with the humidity, and I had to walk at a few of the water breaks, but I’m very proud of my accomplishment, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Once you do the race, you have even more respect for it, and it’s more realistic to set a goal the second time around. They do a great job with that event, and the crowd is awesome.

VS: Your website has some stunning photography. Do you still take pictures?
DM: I’ve had a few photos published in travel magazines but these days my focus has changed and most of my pictures are of my daughter.

Phyl Newbeck

Phyl Newbeck lives in Jericho with two spoiled orange cats. She is a skier, skater, cyclist, kayaker, and lover of virtually any sport which does not involve motors. She is the author of “Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers: Interracial Marriage Bans and the Case of Richard and Mildred Loving.”