Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Spandex Theory UPDATED!


Fall 2013


My Spandex (lycra, skinsuit, speedsuit, compression, wrestling singlet, cycling/tri kit etc..) Theory!

My story about overcoming society's challenges with the support and openness of the cycling and weight lifting community.

 * if you see any mistakes or errors let me know :)*

As of 6/1/2022,  This Theory is under construction - I'm making updates and adding new pics. Sorry for the mess! 

Lifting Fall 2019

I’m a big guy trying to live in a world that is not really meant for big people. I have learned quickly that big guys are not accepted and should generally not be doing or wearing certain things.  Being big I was shunned by many people because of my size. I was looked down upon, called names, and often found myself as the butt of jokes. Big guys are literally forced to cover themselves up, wear shirts at the beach, no shorts… just big jeans to cover up and be ashamed. 

Shedd Park Cyclocross in Lowell MA Nov 2013

When I decided to get into cycling back in April of 2010, weighing 570 pounds, I got some big baggy cycling shorts, naturally. Heaven forbid I wear spandex (lycra); what if anyone saw me!  So I got them and started riding. I HATED them.  Boils, and an infection. It got so bad that I even needed medication to stop the infection. So, after doing some talking, and a willingness to “take on societal norms” I got a pair of spandex bib shorts, from a company called Aerotech design. They make bib shorts up to 5XL.  The first ride with them I fell in love. 

MIT Lycra/Spandex Party 2011 and Birthday Party

I rode only on a stationary bike trainer until September, 2010.  I wanted to take my bike outside, but was scared to wear spandex in public. So again, I did some talking, talked to my doctor who suggested I find a cyclist or two to wear the spandex with me, accept me for who I am… and ride. I did that and have never looked back! 

Wearing spandex when I ride gives me the freedom to be me. I am not ashamed, not scared and I am not going to run and hide After gaining the confidence to wear what is comfortable while doing something that I love, that is helping me lose weight, I STOPPED HIDING. 

Providence Cyclocross 2013

While wearing spandex on my bike, I started to love myself and fix my self.  It also helps me deal with my depression because spandex is honest.  It makes me honest with myself and with others. This is why I think the cycling world is so open; when people can accept themselves for who they are they can also accept others and help them to be their self. You can’t help others if you can’t accept and help your self. You make the spandex what it is, not the other way around. 
Summer 2011

This, in one big guy’s opinion, is why spandex gets picked on. People can’t accept the honesty that spandex brings. They can’t respect how hard other people work in spandex to be healthy. It’s not about looking good; wearing spandex is about feeling good – physically and mentally. Rather than do something about it, people criticize.

I call this: The Spandex and or lycra Theory!

Now its 2015 and its been a little while since I did a posting... So I decided to update the theory that put me on the map... To date I have raced in 16 plus cyclocross races, I'm a USA cycling Cat 4 cyclocross racer and Cat 5 road racer.  I have put over 8000 plus miles on my bike since I started recording rides on Strava, and lost over 260 pounds in weight. I have a following of 21,000 plus amazing people on Facebook, and 5000 plus people following me on Twitter, Strava, and Instagram.  I have been on 4 cycling teams and belong to 2 currently, (Comp Racing, and Outdoor Tech).  But most of all, I have had the opportunity to meet thousands of amazing racers and cyclists of all types, abilities and level and made some really great friendships along the way. Its truly amazing where I am today, from where I started a few years ago when I put my first pair of spandex/lycra bib shorts on.. They gave me the life I only could dream about years back..

Summer 2014
Also I wanted to thank all of you who support me, in all I do in the sport of cycling. Its truly amazing.
that I inspire so many. You know my grandfather told me once; "you get a true perspective on life  NOT by showing people how tough you are, or by winning every race, or seeing how much you can lift or endure, or by how much money you make.. BUT by how many people you inspire, motivate, touch, change and help in their lives by what you do.

Interbike 2014/CrossVegas

Thanks for reading, and ALWAYS be proud to ride your bike and to rock your cycling kits/uniforms , IE cycling jeseys and bib shorts/cycling shorts, your skinsuits and speedsuits, tights etc! KEEP IT TIGHT!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

WEBCAM Trainer Ride tonight 2/3/2015

Get your roller/traners out! rock your lycra and get your laptop / webcam out and lets train! Join me at http://tinychat.com/erniegagnon For a trainer ride! RIDE starts around 8:30PM EST TONIGHT!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nepali Tea Traders Sponsorship

Big News! NEPALI TEA TRADERS will announce today that they will be sponsoring me as a rider. One of the founding partners, a cyclist, saw that I lost my job and was down on my luck, so they wanted to support me. You should all check them out at http://www.nepaliteatraders.com ! And if you order anything, you should put the code "Ernest" in the discount code box and they will help me out.  

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ride with Jeremy Powers and friends.

Earlier this fall, My friend Nick Baker, Cosmo Catalano, and I headed up to Northamption MA to do some great cyclocross riding and training with Jeremy Powers.  We had such a great time. Jeremy showed me how to do some off camber turns that were tricking me up for a while now and did a lap of a course that he trains.  Weather was great, and we had tons of fun.. Im very lucky to have had this opportunity..

Friday, August 3, 2012

Adding Strava To my Blog.

Since people have been asking me. I figured it was time I posted my Strava data on my blog.  Strava has a cool app now that you can add a widget that update to your Blog page.. Check it out.. Oh yeah As of March 2012 I have gone a Distance of 1,317.5 miles or 2,120.3 km!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Seth Haskell - Cat 4 racer, racing cross in one of the Verge Series races back in December 2011 

My good friend Seth Haskell has his own twist on the "spandex / lycra theory"  Seth races for Team "KIT".


I change to my kit and helmet as a monk would as he prepares for his meditation with robe and mala beads. I strip away all the masks i wear throughout the day, removing those pieces that are not part of what radiates as truth to my being, and cover myself in function rather than fashion.  I look in the mirror, a reflection of truth stares back at me, my opportunities clearly defined, to be imminently addressed. I ride to better myself, not only physically, but spiritually.
I am one with myself in a pace line, interwoven and connected to all those around me,  suffering along behind those who know how to suffer on levels beyond my current comprehension, those who i would consider mini Buddhas of the Dharma of cycling. This is my Sangha..my spiritual community.
At once I find myself present only in the moment, as I struggle to overcome the burning in my legs, to control my breath, and to face the a simple fear of failure. Can I do this? Can I push harder? Why do I do this. What is it for? There is no answer that comes to mind, no explanation of why, but as I reach the front of the pack for my turn, my pull, the world narrows, and it all makes sense. Nothing needs an explanation for the next 60 seconds. I am on front, and I find the perfect Zen moment.
I pull left and sit up, and watch the next in line strive for their moment.
I do this repeatedly until my body refuses to respond, a mini battle between my will and physical self, until the inevitable sets in. I watch as the group rides way, continuing their quest. I will never let my own pride or disappointment stand in he way of continuing on my own quest. I will return again, but for now, my Zen moment has passed, and I am set to return to the world, and I am better equiped to deal with the daily rigors of life.
Its more than a ride. It always has been, it always will be.
-Seth Haskell

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Bitter Cold Showdown Relay Cyclocross race AND my first cross race!

It’s been a while since I posted on my blog so I figured my first cross race would be a great opportunity to start posting again!
It all started with a goal of wanting to ride in a cyclocross race before 2012. Well, with the setback of a heart problem in August, the chances of me racing in 2011 were slim. I started talking to a few racers about options, and Andy Huff and I came up with an idea of a relay-style cyclocross race.

There would be mixed teams of novices/newbies and current racers racing on a fairly quick cross course. Riders would carry a baton, do a lap and pass it on to the next rider. Teams would complete as many laps as possible within 45 minutes. The top three teams would move on to the final round, during which they would have to ride two laps each and the team who completed all their laps in the shortest amount of time would be the winner.
I was expecting maybe 10 to 15 riders... 
The turnout was amazing! We had 40 riders show up 8 teams of 5, and the race was great! People loved the idea, and we converted some new folks into cross. A really cool thing about this race was that newbies and beginners could try their hand at cyclocross with real cross racers and race as a team. Before, if anyone wanted to try a cross race they had to either jump in the 4s and worry about killing them selves or jump into a costume race, which I found out by talking to many new people who wanted to try cross were turned off by the costume race idea and thus racing cross in general.
We wanted to make sure that this race would be tough enough for hard-core cross racers, but easy enough for new people. Everyone had to wear a cycling kit i.e. Jersey and lyca/spandex bibs/shorts/tights or a skinsuit, and no costumes allowed. Everybody came together to make the race a tremendous success! Racers got to train and introduce new people without sending them to the hospital after.. And new people got to race, and learn from real cross racers, race on a real course, and feel like cross racers. Top that off the racers could try their had at a new style of cross, that turned out to be quite challenging for even the most seasoned racer.
Best of all… I was one of the new riders! That’s right… I finally raced in my first cyclocross race, and it was great!

Below are some photos & videos of the race.. Enjoy..


Thanks Nikolai Kaizer Gilroy for the video and Racing!

 Thanks Tiffany Remy and REMY Photographic for the excellent photos...

Here are more photos that Tiffany Remy, Thomas Flanagan and Myself took of the race.... Btw thanks Thomas for taking pics with my camera..