#Togo1117 drew to an end on the 5th Nov. Yet it was not the end but a new beginning for several participants. Some had achieved the 1117km they set out to do; others had gone beyond to achieve Elite Finisher by completing 2517km. Whatever the achievement, each has had his or her fair share of experience, significant momentS and memories of the Challenge. This feeling of contentment was certainly not lost on two of our participants, one of whom had achieved 3rd placing as an Elite Finisher.
Click here to watch a video of inspirational weight loss stories by Darren, Joe and Richard.
Darren Ang – A Major Weight Loss Overhaul
What’s most admirable about this guy is, he cured himself of pain in both arms and achieved tremendous weight loss – through cycling. How did he do it?
Darren started out with a hefty weight of 130kg. At that time, he had moved into his new residence half a year ago. By sheer coincidence, his neighbors were talking about starting a new cycling group to go around the neighborhood. Most unfortunately Darren broke his right wrist after moving in; his left hand was also diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). If good things came in pairs, bad ones did, too: Darren found pain shooting up both his arms and this affected his sleep severely. He dropped out of gym workouts and classes and began to gain weight as a result.
Let’s take a moment to see what Carpal Tunnel Sydrome is. According to Wikipedia,
“Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition due to compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel. The main symptoms are pain, numbness, and tingling, in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and the thumb side of the ring fingers. Symptoms typically start gradually and during the night.Pain may extend up the arm. Weak grip strength may occur and after a long period of time the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away. In more than half of cases both sides are affected.“
Having a lack of exercise resulted in his work clothes getting tighter. Darren knew he had to do something about his condition, or else… Most coincidentally, Fate came to the rescue, in the form of his neighbors asking him to join them for cycling. Determined to do something about his pain, Darren agreed. They brought him to purchase a recommended foldable bicycle from local brand, Travelo FS-S by BikeActually.com. That was where he met Joe Ng, our 3rd Male Elite Finisher (who also shared a weight loss story).
Initially, Darren cycled with a lack of stamina and confidence. He did not know the neighborhood Park Connector Networks (PCN) well. Because of his weight, he was easily breathless; this led him to dismount and push his bike across road junctions, zebra crossings etc. Bike handling techniques were not in his league; he took corners poorly and navigated upslopes like a breathless boar. He even had trouble switching gears! Yet, the best teacher is always the self; Darren was not easily dissuaded. Youtube became his teacher. Through numerous videos, he improved his bike handling technique.
By and by, the neighborhood cycling group began to dwindle off. Neighbors had commitments to fulfill. The stocky dude found himself finally alone. In this heightened state of awareness and solitude, Darren took on new paths and made some important discoveries for himself on the best and preferred places to cycle.
#Togo517, 817 and 1117
The above achievement is no feat to joke about. It is real. To continue the story, Darren saw #Togo517 challenge in on Togoparts’ website and decided to take a chance with it. Then, he did not aim to complete it but just to use it as a motivation to cycle regularly. Talk being “just talk” (who doesn’t want to achieve?), and battling CTS/right arm pain, a strained knee injury later marred his final 100km to getting a Finishers jersey on the final week of the challenge! Fate was not all unkind to him, however; the man found himself renewed by a a weight loss of 8kg to stand at 122kg.
Not fazed by the turnout, Darren tried again with #Togo817. This time, he kept a performance log to track his journey – recording gave him a sense of purpose and helped him complete his challenge. By chance, he met Joe Bakashi Ng , 3rd Elite Finisher at BikeActually.com when they were both servicing their bikes. This friendship was crucial – Joe dispensed invaluable advice re Strava app and motivated the man to continue. As Fate would have it, both of them had weight loss stories to share, perhaps it was this, coupled with Joe’s advice and concern for Darren that made them “brothers”.
Immersion is always a powerful thing. One day, Darren received a text reminder from the hospital reminding him of his CTS checkup. He then realized that his arms were no longer hurting! He had been so engrossed in cycling and achieving great things, his pain had most miraculously disappeared! Thus, Darren managed to be a Finisher within 20 days of #Togo817. His weight dropped a further 13kg to set a new record at 109kg. Complimenting the weight loss was of course, a need to revamp the wardrobe. That was July 2017.
Come #Togo1117, he signed up on the 11th hour after much consideration. Joe invited him to join Team Spin Doctor with the ultimate Elite Finisher in mind. As the old saying goes, “Aim higher, so when you fall, you won’t fall much lower”. Due to a MCL injury, the coveted Elite Finisher title was still beyond his league, but Darren clinched Finisher by finishing 1117km in just 23 days! This was a nigh impossible feat for him months ago, one might just as well have asked him to conjure an apple out of thin air.
As an afterthought, Darren confesses his gratitude to those he had met along the course of #Togo1117, and for the wisdom and insights and encouragement he had received from numerous sporting souls who wished him success. He has yielded a healthier lifestyle and found a balance between work and family (spending more time with parents; cycling to visit his grandmother is a privilege). Confidence with his dress sense is yet another virtue that cycling has bestowed him.
Joe Ng – From More Meat to Elite
Click here to watch Darren’s and Joe’s talk on how they cut their weights and achieved the great things they did.
Togoparts congratulate both Darren and Joe on their respective achievements!
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