Chris Balis is the Weekly Rider! Chris has been on an amazing journey over the last two years. He's gone from 150kg to 72kg through hard work over a 2 year period and has discovered a entire new way of life in cycling.
Brendan Edwards spoke with Chris about this life changing transformation.Prepare to be inspired.
Words and Images - Chris Balis
In January 2014 I was admitted to hospital with a suspected TIA (mini stroke). I spent a week in hospital and it forced me to have a really good look at myself. I weighed 150kg. I was on medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I was taking blood thinners and I had Sleep Apnoea forcing me to sleep with a CPAP machine every night. I was obese and an absolute walking and ticking time bomb!!
So, I made the decision to seek help and investigated options for weight loss surgery. After several consultations and endless hours of research, I decided to undergo a Sleeve Gastrectomy. In May 2014 a large portion of my stomach was permanently removed leaving me with a very small stomach.
This was the catalyst for me being able to even think about getting on a bicycle. The journey has been fantastic. I’ve done things I hadn’t been able to do since I was a teenager. I now weigh in at 72kgs. My fitness is improving all the time. A lot of people to thank…my Personal Trainer – Simone Hudson, Bill Bouhalis for his advice, support and company on the bike, fellow Rowville Riders and especially my wife, Helen, and children, Anthony and Stephanie.
Name - Chris Balis
Lives - Vermont South
Specialized S-WORKS Roubaix SL4 DISC Di2
FAVOURITE LOCAL RIDE
Riding up to Mt Dandenong and through the Dandenongs to Emerald
CURRENT CYCLING GOAL
My short term cycling goal is to complete the Crucifix in the Dandenongs and ride up Mt Baw Baw. My ultimate cycling goal is to head over to France and ride during the Tour De France…hopefully in 2018!!
HOW DID YOUR LOVE OF BIKES COME ABOUT
I bumped into my son’s old footy coach, Bill Bouhalis about 18 months ago and the discussion about cycling came up. I was intrigued at the amount of cycling he did and also the group he regularly rode with, the Rowville Riders.
I had only recently purchased my first bike, a 2014 AVANTI Blade flat-bar urban bike (didn’t really know much about bikes back then!!). Bill offered to take me out for a ride and I jumped at the opportunity.
I still remember the first time he took me up on the 1:20…I had no idea what he was talking about!! It was a great baptism into cycling and am eternally grateful to Bill for his support, encouragement and advice
SHARE A CYCLING MEMORY
My favourite cycling memory or moment is when I rode Around the Bay in Day last year with my son Anthony. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be riding ATB 2015 with my son considering how overweight and unhealthy I was only 18 months before. I was proud for the both of us and pretty excited that I had actually been able to complete the ride given where I was only 18 months before. Stoked!!
I LOVE TO RIDE BECAUSE...
when I am on the bike I feel great!! When I am just cruising about on the bike paths or local roads, it gives me the opportunity to think, contemplate and plan. When riding with others, the thinking goes out the window and it’s all about having a good chin-wag with fellow cyclists.