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A Man, A Bike, A Plan

(Photo - Butch Byers)Butch Byers began his work at SLAC as a contractor, hobnobbing with full-time employees on his daily lunch break bicycle ride. Ten years ago, when a fellow rider mentioned an opening at ES&H, Byers snagged it and ended up leaving biking in the dust—until recently.

"I hadn't biked much since I started working at SLAC and had kids," Byers, the Department Manager of Chemical and General Safety, said. "After having surgery last year, I was looking to recover and help myself overcome stress at work in a positive way."

When a friend tipped Byers about Team in Training, a national endurance sports program, he signed on for a big challenge. Along with 41 teammates, Byers will bike a 100-mile "century" ride around hilly Santa Barbara in March.

"There are people on my team who were novices just like I was. We've all improved so much, and there's a sense that we're all in this together," Byers said. His teammates, who were strangers at first, are now his good friends. "It really has been a bonding experience," he said.

Since last November, Byers' crash course in cycling has kept his calendar full. The teammates train solo during the week before biking together on Sundays and receiving expert training on two Saturdays each month. In return, Byers and his new friends raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

"I've heard the most amazing stories since I've been doing this," Byers said. "I really admire my coaches, who have dealt with leukemia themselves. It's so positive—I feel good about the cause, so I feel good about myself."

For more information, see Byers' personal training site or the Team in Training homepage.

—Alison Drain, SLAC Today, January 31, 2007

Above image: Colleagues Ernie Gomes (left) and Kirk Stoddard (far right) offer their support on Byers' Friday lunchtime ride. Anyone interested in joining should meet at noon on the north side of Building 24. (Click on image for larger version.)