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Challenge Profile: Cara McKaskle

Cara McKaskle has a special National Bike Challenge story.  

Not only has propelled herself to the top of the Conway, Ark., Commuter Challenge, she’s seen the power and generosity of the bicycling community firsthand. We caught up with Cara to hear more about her NBC experience.

You’ve jumped ahead in your local challenge — what’s your goal for the totality of the NBC? 

I want to exceed the previous month. I know life is sometimes difficult, but that’s why this is a challenge, right? I’m also OK with staying consistent. It’s more of a personal challenge, but knowing that I’m competing with others gives me a little extra push. 

The Challenge has propelled your fitness — tell us more about that. 

In January, I started eating healthier and working out more. I’ve lost 63 lbs so far. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve learned that I love new things — healthier foods and a wide variety of exercising that I never knew that I would physically be able to do, such as cycling. I still have a long way to go, but I know sticking with it will be worth it.

What kind of bike do you ride? 

I LOVE my Specialized Dolce Comp. I’ve named her Lola. She’s white and trimmed in as much pink as possible. And my bike has a special story... Shortly after I put a deposit towards my bike, I received a phone call from Tara, the owner of The Ride, my local bike shop. She told me I needed to come over as soon as possible. I get there, and she says, “You know how we put that sold sign on your bike?” And I’m immediately thinking someone must’ve sold it by accident. But I’m paying it off (slowly) so she can just go ahead and order me another one because it’s going to take 3 months at least for me to pay for it. I say, “Yes..” She says, “You have great friends!” and hands me a gift bag with a card in it. I start reading..shaking..crying.. It’s been paid in full by some of the best friends anyone could ever have, and I also received a gift card to purchase a helmet. I stand in awe at how compassionate and loving people are. So, it is a prized possession, and I feel like I’m taking a piece of everyone who helped me get my bike with me everywhere I ride.

What do you love most about bicycling? 

I love the breeze — the sounds of where I ride. Early in the morning, I love the glisten of the dew that the sunrise brings. It’s beautiful, and I am so blessed to be able to see it. 

Where do you go from here? 

Upward and onward. I am currently training to compete in a triathlon. Can you guess which leg I am doing? CYCLING! And in the fall, I’m going to be taking part in a 40-mile classic. I think the main thing is to keep at it. Don’t stop. It’s so easy to find an excuse in this time and age. Convenience is everywhere. But I say challenge yourself. Aim higher.  

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