Inside the Peloton – Frank Villavicencio

Frank Villavicencio – Tenafly NJ

Frank Villavicencio spent the weeks leading up to the third Sunday in May ramping up for his first GFNY on May 15.  A first in cycling, but not a first in sport, as Frank has been an active soccer player for many years. But hiding in plain sight from him while he was on the pitch in Tenafly, NJ, one of the top cycling areas in the USA was in his backyard.  With the arrival of the pandemic, soccer was something that Frank would have to put off, but he was concerned about maintaining fitness, and maintaining a positive attitude. Dusting off a “rattling and rusty” 20-year-old mountain bike Frank took to the road, and started to extend his point of view mile-by-mile on the bike. This story in many ways is not an uncommon tale from the pandemic.

It wasn’t long before Frank was riding with a friend who had been a cyclist for quite some time. Starting to creep up over the fifty-mile mark on his old bike, his friend advised him that he might be ready for a real bike, and a real challenge. He found that his soccer fitness was translating well to the bike, and that the bike to and from the soccer field when playing resumed had a restorative effect on his body. Taking away some of the post-match soreness and fatigue and providing a cross-training opportunity that was allowing him to do more and more.

Before long, he was climbing Bear Mountain, riding to West Point, using the bridges in the area to loop the Hudson and signing up for his first GFNY. “A friend had said to me – you can do this!” He believes it now.  That was 2021, and now Frank has taken the challenge head on. “I can’t believe how lucky we are to be in this area. So many travel here for the race, and we have access to it in our own backyard”. Frank remarks, in his astonishment at the areas affinity for cycling, and his new discovery.

With all the good that has come from cycling and preparing for GFNY, the best outcome possible came in an unexpected place. Curious about where her Dad was headed for five hours every weekend, Frank’s 17-year-old daughter asked if she could tag along on a ride and see what it was all about. Now, because of the passion for cycling that was shared with Frank by a GFNY rider, Frank is sharing his passion for cycling with his daughter, as well as sharing significant quality time with her each weekend they get to ride.