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Thomas Russo – January Rider of the Month

A rider of all seasons

Silver frosty mornings, a gale wind, blue hours of ever-decreasing daylight, steel cold sideways rain; January, with its short hours of light, presents many difficulties for our riders. Let Thomas Russo bring you some winter riding inspiration!

Thomas, in a growing group of winter-defying ElliptiGO riders, braves the Michigan weather in all seasons.  As of writing, Tom was on his 261st straight day of only outdoor riding, a minimum of 10 miles per day.

“ One day I had to use a semi-enclosed parking garage structure due to a 2-3 inch snowfall the night before.  I did approximately 100 loops on the first level. Yes, I’m a little crazy.”

Tom not only brings a lot of positive energy to his daily ElliptiGO rides, he also helps organize large ElliptiGO events. Using his prior experience organizing many Jetski Events, he has been the driving force behind the large ElliptiGO gathering at the Five Boros Bike Tour since 2016. 

The Five Boros – an enormous bicycle ride in New York city held each year in May where the major arteries of the city are closed for cyclists only, has enabled huge teams of ElliptGO riders to descend on NYC to ride together.  ElliptiGO’s GO 2 New York Rally during the Five Boros presents a wonderful effort to have ElliptiGO Riders come from all over the world and ride together as a team.

As an organizer for the team, Tom donated his time attending to details, dealing with multiple hotels and getting over 80 ElliptiGOs rented/borrowed and transported to NYC, distributed to the riders, and later gathering them all after the event to ensure their safe return

The same year as the first ElliptiGO rally at Five Boros, he also created an ElliptiGO photo calendar, complete with inspirational messages.  ElliptiGO photos were selected for inclusion by votes via social media, with proceeds from calendar sales put forth to the  Leader Dogs for the Blind organization. In 2020, Tom also hosted GERC’s first Michigan Harvest Fest.

In nominating Tom, friends described him as “ a stand-out source of encouragement, inspiration, and support for many riders in the ElliptiGO community through Strava,” and we agree!  

Background

I grew up in the Detroit Metropolitan area, northern suburbs to be more specific. My sports background was primarily organized football from the age of eight through high school, where I finished my modest career playing linebacker on the varsity team.

Not an avid runner, I found my way into local gyms, lifting free-weights to maintain a certain level of conditioning. However, the one thing I could never do was cardio at the gym, it just seemed too boring to be indoors on a proverbial hamster wheel. 

During my late twenties and thirties I also frequently rode my Kawasaki (Stand Up) Jet Ski, carving turns and occasionally competing in local Freestyle competitions. 

After spending thirteen years working in Florida I moved back home in 2016 and this past October married my fiancé, Tammie McNabb. We now live in Shelby Twp, Michigan.

Finding ElliptiGO, and that very first ride

I first became aware of the ElliptiGO in 2013, searching online for elliptical outdoor bicycles. I had found a video of the Street Strider, clicking on an ElliptiGO video immediately thereafter. My choice was made easy as to which of the two I was drawn to with both excitement and intrigue.

My first ElliptiGO ride was at a bike rental outfit on Sanibel Island in southwest Florida. Having a general idea of what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ElliptiGO not only provided a great leg workout but also a fantastic upper body workout as well. 

Returning later that afternoon after a ten-mile ride around the island I thought the enjoyment of riding might have gotten the better of me… Did I overdo it with my effort? How sore will I be the next day? 

The next morning, after a few stretches, I felt great with no excessive muscle or joint soreness from the day before. That was the point I knew it would only be a matter of time before making my first purchase.

The knack of owning just the right number of ElliptiGO’s

I currently have four Long Strides. The three 8c’s are my stable of GO’s for general training while my 11r is used primarily for speed challenges and long-distance events. 

While it might be a little overkill to have a “golf foursome” of ElliptiGOs, it does come in handy when local friends want to GO for rides and/or I have ElliptiGO friends visiting from out of town. 

It’s important – I recommend having Guest GO’s on hand for those unexpected spontaneous visitors!

Staying active outdoors.

Getting older, it has become increasingly harder to maintain a certain level of conditioning. At thirty, I completely tore two insertions of my left hamstring from my gluteus during a bad jet ski fall. It was the worst and most painful injury I’ve ever incurred. 

Never fully healing I attempted to take up running at the age of fifty. I participated in a few events but it was apparent that running was problematic due to my lingering injury. It was at that time that I knew that the ElliptiGO was my only solution to maintaining an athletic outdoor lifestyle. 

The art of the ElliptiGO ride

The best ride is any ride with the opportunity to ride new trails and new locations, with the many good friends that I have had the pleasure of meeting within the ElliptiGO community. 

As an ElliptiGO enthusiast, we hunger for new landscapes and routes to explore, whether that be the city, country, or mountain, as we paint new adventures and experiences onto our memories. 

The ElliptiGO is our paintbrush that we use to create a tapestry of memories with each passing mile. The path and routes are our canvas in which our memories evolve into masterpieces. With each upcoming ElliptiGO ride, yet another masterpiece of experiences waits to be unveiled onto our memories!

Tackling the self-supported solo ride

In the summer of 2015, I challenged myself to a leap of faith, committing to a charity endurance ride. With the support of ElliptiGO and some personal coaching from then ElliptiGO employee Darren Brown, I set out on a conditioning program to assist me in my goal of completing a self-supported solo ride aboard my 8c, the Green Monster. 

The 440-mile trek took place later that September over four and a half days. I followed the Lake Huron shoreline from Mackinaw City to Port Huron, Michigan before arriving at the Leader Dogs for the Blind facility in my hometown of Rochester on the final day. 

No small feat considering, before the strait of my training, I had never ridden further than fifteen miles in a single day and had just twelve weeks to prepare for this adventure. 

In total, through the generous support of family, friends, and local businesses, I was able to raise $2,500 for the Leader Dog program while also generating quality awareness for this wonderful nonprofit organization.

Goals for 2021

Simple, to keep riding my ElliptiGO and to continue to support the ElliptiGO community as I promote the ElliptiGO brand through my participation at regional and national bicycling events. 

Also, hosting ElliptiGO gatherings including The Harvest, an On The GO Adventure in Color, and Bicycle Across Mid Michigan (BAMM) here in my home state, as well as the GO 2 New York Rally held in conjunction with the Five Boro Bike Tour in New York City.

Tom’s Top Tips

Like any new activity, just allow yourself the necessary time to acclimate yourself to the ElliptiGO. I tell my friends that while it’s super easy to ride, it can be humbling in terms of conditioning and effort. 

There have been numerous times that I expected a ride to go a certain way only to be brought back down to Earth with the reality that like anything else, consistency is your path to achievement. 

Every rider has an “evolution” and each new ride creates the experiences that help propel you towards your next accomplishment as you build knowledge. What seems impossible today is just a future goal waiting to be accomplished. 

Stick with it and let each day of riding be yet another deposit in the Fitness Bank. Over time, through your daily rides, you’ll have accumulated a wealth of fitness as your riding experiences continue to evolve.

ElliptiGO will stick with you in your riding commitment Tom, wishing you many memorable rides – come sun or snow!


Donner Pass Elinor YeeContributed by Elinor Yee – A rider considering herself lucky for each day on her ElliptiGO, drawing inspiration from fellow riders conquering obstacles big & small. 

Want to inspire Elinor? Contact ElliptiGO with nominations to Rider of the Month or share your own story. It may just be the next feature!

 

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