#SUFSTORIES - John Stachlewicz

JOHN STACHLEWICZ: TRANSFORMED THROUGH SUFFERING

If you open the English-Sufferlandrian dictionary and look for the translation of “to lose”, you’re going to be disappointed. Nothing. A blank entry. Losing is a concept that does not exist in that mythical country where the Holy Water flows in mighty rivers and the mountains of spent turbo trainers reach proudly towards the sky. But there is one exception — one case in which a Sufferlandrian can lose mightily, yet still be celebrated. That exception is embodied in American John Stachlewicz.

MORE THAN HE WANTED TO BE

In early September, 2014, John was standing on the edge of a precipice. Dangerously overweight at over 300 pounds (136kg), he had newborn twins that he knew he would soon have to chase after. Twenty-five years ago, John was fit but the death of his cycling mentor and close friend in a bike race in 1991 changed his life. He couldn’t look at a bike, let alone get back on one.

He turned to other avenues for comfort, and began a cycle of yo-yo weight gain and weight loss. Unable to even climb a flight of stairs without being winded, John knew he had to do something. He considered bariatric surgery and was on the cusp of scheduling the surgery. Then he looked in the mirror. The person he saw wasn’t who he wanted to be. For himself, or for his children.

COMING TO SUFFERLANDRIA TO LOSE

“I realised that even if I went through with bariatric surgery, it was only going to change my stomach, it wasn’t going to change my lifestyle, or my relationship with myself. On September 4th, 2014, I put my foot down. I had a spin bike and I decided to ride again. I found The Sufferfest online and when I saw the trailer for The Wretched I snapped. I thought, ‘That’s me. That’s my life. I’m a Couchlandrian. How did this happen?’ I made a commitment to myself, to my wife, and to my kids to be something better. I started riding in Sufferlandria.”

In less than a year of Sufferfest sessions, John had lost 110 pounds (50kg). But even this loss wasn’t enough for the new man that John had become. He started riding outside again and even started racing.

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE

Clearly on a mission, the man who could barely walk up the stairs finally decided to take on the greatest indoor cycling challenge in the world: riding 10 Sufferfest videos back-to- back in one day to become a Knight of Sufferlandria.

“It was me and the twins in the living room. My wife didn’t want me sweating all over the place, so I put my spin bike in a baby pool. My ‘Sufferlandrian Holy Water catcher’. To keep the babies at a safe distance I put my spin bike in a playpen so I had some crowd control.”

“It was the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever done. By the seventh video I thought I couldn’t go on. But I thought of the Sufferlandrians all over the world who were supporting me. I couldn’t let them down. I couldn’t let myself down. On July 3rd, 2015, I climbed off the bike after 11 and a half hours and became a Knight of Sufferlandria.”

WINNING A LIFE BACK

“The Sufferfest has literally changed, if not saved my life. It’s more than just cycling videos. It’s a community I can count on. And it changed the way I look at things. If something is a challenge, that’s okay. I can meet those challenges. I know what it feels like to push myself now, to do what even a few months ago would’ve been impossible. It even gave me the strength to get my first tattoo: The Sufferlandrian Coat-of-Arms. That tattoo is a permanent reminder of where I’ve come from, how far I’ve gone, and the fact that once you enter Sufferlandria, you can never leave.”


Jared McClintock
Jared McClintock

Author



8 Responses

Doug Johnson
Doug Johnson

August 04, 2016

Congrats on your success Sir John! Your decision to be your best not only changed you and your family – but inspired countless others. Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration your story provides.

Sprocketboy
Sprocketboy

March 19, 2016

I find this to be a very inspirational story. 300 lbs is an early death sentence and who wants to cut their time short with those they love? I have been slowly putting on weight since I stopped racing in 2007 and I know it does not have to be so (although aging has some nasty surprises in store!). I have done a number of Tours of Sufferlandria and reading about John’s success makes me want to saddle up and make that Knighthood attempt real!

John
John

March 18, 2016

Chapeau sir.

Alan
Alan

March 18, 2016

Super fantastic John!! This is a testament to your desire to DO over TRY. You are inspiring dude. Lots of Sufferlandrian love from South Dakota!

David wilson
David wilson

March 17, 2016

Amazing! Well done, inspirational

George
George

March 17, 2016

Two words – Hell Yeah!

travis
travis

March 17, 2016

Way to get it done John, you look great!

Tiffany Leiter
Tiffany Leiter

December 05, 2015

Outstanding transformation John…inside and out. You took determination by the horns and you conquered!! Never stop pushing yourself. You’re a great man for making this choice to LIVE and live HEALTHY for your amazing wife and children. Again, congratulations.

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