April Rider of the Month: Anissa Andres

Anissa Andres loved to run. Add in long distances and uphill climbs, and she loved it even more. But one day while training for an ultra marathon, she was struck by a car. Instead of giving up, she discovered ElliptiGO bikes and found freedom in long-distance cycling. Now, as the ElliptiGO Rider of the Month, Anissa shares the motto that’s guided her as she’s navigated new challenges, from cancer to motherhood. Her inspiring story is a testament to the power of resilience and the joy that comes from following your passion. 

Anissa grew up in Mission Viejo, CA. She started running with her father, on and off, when she was just eight years old. She ran varsity cross country in track in high school and her team made it to the CIF finals in cross country the same year that she went to the CIF Southern Section Preliminaries for track in the 3200 meters. In college, she ran for the University of Arkansas with team members Deena Kastor (then Drossin) and Shelly Taylor. But trying to run at the college level and excel in architecture school was demanding. Anissa made the difficult decision to give up her dream of collegiate running to concentrate on her studies, but she vowed that one day she would get back to racing.

After graduating from the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, Anissa moved back to California, to Huntington Beach, and began working in architecture design. She and her husband, Albert, own an architectural design and planning business.

Andres also returned to running, training for half-marathons and marathons. After a few years, she found herself wanting more of a running challenge, and she signed up for the 50-mile Bishop High Sierra Ultra Marathon, a high-altitude race with lots of climbing. Anissa says, “It was the ultimate rush. I found my niche. I loved ultra marathoning.”

In 2010, she was training for her second Bishop high Sierra 50 miler with the goal of qualifying for the Western States Ultra Marathon. As she crossed the street with her Whippet, she was broadsided by a car. “I slid up the hood of the car, hit the windshield, spun off the car and landed on the pavement on my back,” she recalls. “Luckily, my dog was on the other side of me.”

Instead of training for an ultra marathon, she found herself in physical therapy for months to alleviate knee and hip issues. “I returned to running for a while,” says Anissa. “But then I started having hip issues again.” Eventually, she found out that two herniated discs in her neck were causing neuropathy, in addition to pain in her left arm and hand. Determined to exercise despite the pain, she resorted to running in the pool as she battled with insurance.

In June 2014, she was finally able to get one of the herniated discs in her neck replaced with an artificial disc. The next month, her doctor released her to begin doing some exercise again. Though she was glad to be moving, she was bored with aqua jogging by this point, and Albert recognized that. He showed her an article in Runner’s World about ElliptiGO bikes. For their wedding anniversary, they headed to Bicycles San Clemente to rent one.

Anissa shares, “I fell in love with the ElliptiGO bike once my foot hit the pedal. I felt like I was flying.” Best of all, she was able to exercise with much less pain. She says, “My obsession with running soon turned into an obsession with ElliptiGO bikes and long-distance riding. I felt free again.” Albert bought her a green 8C.

Unfortunately, another challenge was waiting for Anissa. At the end of 2015, she found a lump in her breast. Anissa says, “The doctors told me I had breast cancer. I wanted to vomit. But I made up my mind not to let this get me down.”

Through all of life’s challenges, Anissa says her motto has always been: “The race is never over … It has just begun!” And so, she began a race of a different sort this time. She had always used exercise as her outlet, and she did so once again, embracing the freedom that her bike offered. She shares, “My ElliptiGO rides helped me to keep my mind, body, and spirit intact.”

Just weeks after her lumpectomy, she started riding indoors, using the Fluid 365 Stationary Trainer. “That is my favorite accessory,” she notes. “It’s allowed me to continue to train on an ElliptiGO bike and stay fit indoors when I’m not able to ride outside.”

As she underwent radiation treatment in April and May 2016, this unstoppable athlete not only completed two metric centuries, The Tour of Long Beach and the San Diego Century, she also qualified for the 2016 ElliptiGO Championships at Palomar Mountain. She participated in the championships in October. “I was a little slower than usual,” she says, “but I made it to the top.”

Anissa had connected with the ElliptiGO community soon after she and Albert got their first bike. In 2015, she participated in the eight-day California Coast Classic with other ElliptiGO riders in support of the Arthritis Foundation. Anissa recalls, “It was a very memorable adventure. I have made so many amazing friendships through the ElliptiGO community. They’ve kept me motivated over the years to push many new boundaries.”

To celebrate completing breast cancer treatment, she joined a nine-day Wandervogel Tour of Italy in 2017, riding her ElliptiGO bike in a small group through the Italian countryside. She says that trip was one of the highlights of her riding career. “I had a blast!” she says.

The next year, she participated in ElliptiGO expert and enthusiast Idai Makaya’s Longest Ride Challenge. Her 130-mile ride also served to celebrate two years of being cancer-free.

Anissa names Albert as her biggest supporter. He cheers her on at events, supports her during long rides and picks her up on those occasions when her GO just won’t go anymore. He rides, too, and their collection now includes two 8Cs and two 11Rs.

In 2021, the Andreses were excited to learn they were pregnant. Anissa took a short break from riding at the start of the pregnancy, and then her doctor cleared her for indoor rides. She rode several days a week to support her healthy pregnancy and looked forward to June 2022, when her son would be born. In May 2022, she participated in the Global ElliptiGO Riders Club (GERC) Every Day in May (EDIM) challenge as a duo with her GERC riding partner, Eric Broussard. On the final day of May, she completed her last EDIM ride. That same day, she celebrated her six-year anniversary of being cancer-free. Soon she had even more to celebrate: Anissa gave birth to her son later that same evening!

Now Anissa tries to ride on the Fluid 365 Stationary Trainer three or four times a week, between her son’s bedtime and middle-of-the-night feedings. She admits that exercising postpartum has been challenging. “If I’m not too sleep deprived, I try to force a ride into my schedule to continue getting my postpartum body back in balance and to keep my mental health in check,” she notes. She describes her 10 ½-month-old son as a super active baby and says with a laugh, “I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!” 

She’s trying to balance motherhood, riding and work this year. All parents will undoubtedly empathize when she shares, “I’m finding that time is the biggest challenge in parenting. There is never enough time to do everything.” Rather than doing two long rides a week, now she aims to go for a long ride every two or three weeks … while still keeping up with the current GERC challenges. “If rides do not happen, I am just going to give myself some grace and try for the next ride,” she says. 

July 2023 will mark Anissa’s nine-year ElliptiGO anniversary. In those years, she’s ridden more than 37,500 miles over about 1,460 rides. She’s climbed Palomar Mountain six times—five times during World Championship events and once on her own. This happily obsessed ElliptiGO rider still challenges herself. 

“It’s been three years since I climbed Palomar Mountain. My biggest goal at the end of this year is to qualify for the World Championships and climb that bad boy one more time!” she says. She’d also like to travel again when her little one gets older. And, she says, “I want to ride my ElliptiGO bike wherever the road leads us.” After all, the race has just begun.

Congratulations, Anissa! We’re inspired by your love for ElliptiGO and your love for life! We look forward to seeing you climb Palomar Mountain again in October. We’ll be there to cheer you on!

You can contact ElliptiGO with nominations to Rider of the Month or share your own story. It may just be the next feature!

17 Responses

  1. Lyn H says:

    Congratulations! So deserving! You’ve been one of my GOidols and inspiration since Day 1. 😘

  2. Ruth Brindley says:

    So proud of you sweetheart! You have overcame many challenges but you have come out on top. Love you! Mom and Dad

  3. Sally Eiler says:

    Wonderful story of resilience. Congratulations!

  4. Jane LeGore says:

    CONGRATULATIONS to one of my favorite humans EVER!!! 🤗 Anissa “She-Ra” truly is a Princess of Power! She continues to challenge & inspire me through her authenticity, tenacity, kindness and cherished friendship. You GO Girl!! 💪🏼😎👍🏼💕

  5. David A. Nachamie M.D. says:

    good Job

  6. Katie Blau says:

    Congratulations! Your resilience and positive attitude are inspirational. Way to GO!

    • Carol Galgano says:

      Yeah Anissa 💪❤️!!! Not only are you “somebody” who is beautiful, super strong and can rise above, you’re a hell of a lotta fun too 😁!!!! Congratulations!!!

  7. Kathi karen says:

    Congratulations on your cancer recovery! Keeping active has certainly helped! You now have a beautiful son and that is so wonderful! You are truly an inspiration! Way to GO! 💪💪😊😊

  8. Donald C Moore says:

    Amazing, inspiring story!

  9. Stephen Hughes says:

    Congrats Anissa!!! Great story, perseverance, and attitude! You rock!!!

  10. Jeanne Wilson says:

    Anissa, congratulations on your strength and resilience. I so enjoyed the California Classic with you and watching you climb Palomar Mountain. Congratulations and continued success to you and Albert!

  11. Mel says:

    Congratulations Anissa. you have overcome so much and are an inspiration to so many including myself. Way to GO!

  12. Malinda Walker says:

    Wonderful article!

  13. Bravo, She-Ra!!! You are truly inspirational!

  14. Tom Hilton says:

    Congratulations Anissa on this recognition of your achievements, overcoming adversities and for your contribution to and enthusiasm for the ElliptiGO community. Your “She-Ra” epithet is so fitting!

  15. Ann says:


  16. Bob Rowden says:

    Congratulations, Anissa! It has been great getting to know you over Strava and at Rally Weekends. This story is something we all need to read and remember. Most of us come up against difficulties and set backs that cause us to reinvent ourselves as athletes and make the most of what we have, but your attitude, perspective, acceptance and resilience in the face such severe events is very inspirational. Keep GOing strong, Anissa!

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