Bruce Zavos Your birthplace? I was born on a military base outside of Heidelberg, Germany and when I was brought back to the States my Bubbe thought they had mistakenly brought back a German baby as I was blonde and blue eyed. My have I have changed! Current hometown? My wife and I have resided in Frederick, Maryland for the last 34 years and raised our five children here. We emigrated here from Columbia, Maryland as my wife, a Pediatrician, took a job with the Pediatric Center of Frederick. Your profession? I am President of Zavos Architecture+Design, LLC headquartered in Frederick, Maryland. Our team of ten architects, designers and administrative staff specialize in community based projects with a focus on affordable rental housing funded by Low Income Housing Credits, a federal program administered by the state of Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. How did you first get into endurance sports? I have always been active in sports. In middle and high school I ran cross country and track. In college I smoked and basically ran myself into the ground. During the latter part of my 5 years in architecture school, I gave up smoking and started running. Competitive by nature, I soon entered 10K races hoping to move up to running a marathon. Unfortunately being a type A, I would over train, hurt myself and miss the Marine Corps marathon which I had been training for year after year. In 2002, I was racing amateur sport cars and read about Bob Wolleck who was at the time one of the best endurance car drivers in the world. He was in his 50’s and still racing the premier endurance races in the world. He was also an avid cyclist. I decided to follow his lead and bought a Lemond Steel road bike from Wheel Base here in Frederick, Maryland. My stamina improved significantly and I started winning some car races. I have been riding ever since. What forms of cycling do you participate in now? I recently caught the gravel bug and having been riding gravel on occasion. I also road ride as well, typically training for some future Gran Fondo or gravel event. My goal has been to ride the Dirty Kanza but have not gotten in the last two years. Why do you ride now? Riding is a form of release, as well as helping me stay fit and achieve goals. I do my best thinking on the bike and usually come up with a creative solution to a particular work or family challenge. I typically ride alone but in the events I participate I enjoy the bonding over the shared suffering we experience. What advice would you have offer to those just getting in to endurance sports? Take it slow. Understand it takes time. Consult your physician and get them on board. When I first started out, I read everything I could about running and now cycling. Garner as much as you can from the experts but trust your own body and its reactions to the training. Persevere and set goals. It’s easier when you have a goal in mind to do the training necessary to achieve that goal. What have been some of your positive personal experiences from participating in endurance sports? It’s a great feeling when you have put forth the effort and sacrifice necessary to achieve a goal and then achieve that goal. I have done a number of epic rides and each one adds to the confidence you need to do the next one. When I show up for a Gran Fondo, the comradery and excitement shared at the beginning of the ride is infectious, the encouragement you get from your fellow riders sharing in the suffering during the ride and the exhilaration at the end makes for a memorable day. What are some of your challenges? Training can take up a lot of your free time. Finding the right balance between real life and my fantasy life as a bike racer is difficult at times. My wife Eileen is very supportive but sometimes I need to reprioritize what is most important. What single piece of encouragement would you offer to a young person experiencing homelessness? You are not alone. You have a community around you to help. There is nothing shameful about the situation you are in. There is a line in the movie Good Will Hunting where Sean, played by Robin Williams, says to Will, Matt Damon’s character, over and over again, ‘it’s not your fault’. I would tell them the same thing.