As a child, Ray Bowling was very active athletically. He competed in high school wrestling, football, and track & field. Two years after high school, He followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the ranks of the U.S. Army where he continued to excel in all of his physical endeavors.
By the time Ray had turned 22, after serving for only two years, he joined the ranks of 1% of the Army’s best by earning the coveted Special Forces tab. His first duty station was on the small island of Okinawa, Japan. Not wanting to waste the beautiful weather, Ray soon bought his first road bike: a used Trek 2200 Alpha Series. For the next four years, he rode recreationally with his only intent being to supplement his already intensive physical fitness regimen… but that time was enough to win him over.
Immediately upon his return to the states, Ray was assigned to unit a unit destined for Afghanistan. That’s when he decided to take his cycling to the next level. He purchased a trainer, a power meter, and a lot of movies to help pass the time. When he wasn’t defending our country’s freedom, he was putting in grueling hours training. After nearly 12 months of going nowhere, it was off to the races.
Unfortunately, Ray has only been able to put in one solid year of racing before his deployment schedule got the best of him. But he still trains, with the hopes of catching the lone race here or there.
December Weight: “170-175 lbs.”
Race Weight: “158 lbs.”
Greatest Racing Moment: “I was on a long, hard climb with a field of a little over 50 riders. When I got to the top, there were seven other riders with me. I turned my head to see where the rest were… they were gone. From there on out, it was like we were on a small ride of friends. We organized ourselves and crushed the rest of the field.”
Most Painful Moment In Life: “It’s a very somber moment when you are tasked with cleaning your best friend’s blood from his body armor before sending it home.”
Worst Injury from Racing: “At the Criterium during the Enumclaw Stage Race, I made a rookie mistake and clipped a pedal on a turn. Destroyed my favorite cycling shorts and let my pride bleed out of the road rash on my hip. The worst part, I was in a perfect position to win it and we were down to the final two laps when it happened.”
Closest Racing Friends: “The guy that got me into cycling in the first place, Chad Williams.”
Funniest Racer: “Yes.”
Favorite Race: “Ice Breaker TT, because it is what it sounds like – COLD. And it makes me happy inside knowing that everyone feels just as miserable as me.”
Embarrassing Racing Memory: “Ironically, it’s the same as my worst injury from racing. It was probably the easiest turn of the course.”
Toughest Competitors: “I really haven’t been in the race scene long enough to have a toughest competitor.”
Favorite Athletes to Watch: “UFC fighters. Those guys are crazy to be okay with getting punched in the face for a living.”
Qualities You Most Admire in People: “I’ve come to have a great respect for those that can be calm, cool, and collected to make the best decisions in the most stressful of times.”
What You Love Most About Riding Your Bicycle: “No matter what is going on around me or with me, getting on a bike temporarily erases it all. For the duration of the ride, all that matters is the wind, the hills, and how loud my legs are screaming at me.”