BetterRider of the Month! A new feature I am adding to introduce you to some our students that I am inspired by!
The July 2011 BetterRider of the Month is Jen Hanks. Jen took a camp from us last October in Fruita and her life has changed a lot in the last 9 months. A few months after the camp Jen faced a huge challenge and overcame it in stride. Her courage, passion and dedication to the sport inspire me. She keeps smiling, riding and making her life better! Here is her story, I hope she inspires you as much as she inspires me.
Jen Hanks bio:
I grew up in the Midwest and started mountain biking while attending the University of Iowa. Mountain biking originally served as a substitute to my childhood sport of Hunters/Jumpers (Equestrian). In 1999, I moved to Salt Lake City for graduate school and the beautiful Wasatch mountains. Upon completing my Masters in Occupational Therapy, I upgraded to pro in 2006. Originally my focus was on cross-country distance races, however after having the opportunity to compete in the TransAlp Challenge stage race in 2007, my passion changed to ultra-endurance events.
Some cycling highlights include:
2007 XC Utah State Champion Pro
7th Co-ed duo (with my husband) 2007 TransAlp Challenge
3rd overall solo women: 2009 Breck Epic
2nd overall OpenWomen: 2010 Lumberjack 100
In January 2011, I found a small lump in my breast. I thought I was too young, too healthy, and too fit to have breast cancer, however my pathology report revealed Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Since my diagnosis I have undergone multiple surgeries to remove the cancer from my breast as well as chemotherapy. At this point, I have no evidence of disease!
I am very proud of my cycling achievements, my career, and most recently my blog about my story as an athlete with cancer. (www.athletefightscancer.blogspot.com). I hope that I can educate women to do self-breast exams to aide in early detection and inspire women to stay fit and healthy during treatment. I also hope to show that a return to high-level athletic performance is possible after breast cancer treatment. Look for my return in 2012!
I (Gene) will be checking her blog for updates and look forward to hearing of her continued successes both on and off the bike!