Yessika Varela-Santos (1971) Puerto Rico
Hello everyone! I’m Yessika. I was born in the most beautiful Caribbean Island named Puerto Rico. Since I was little I have been passionate about sports and outdoor activities, a passion that my parents found to be great since that way I could channel my energy and hyperactivity. I have done several sports among them swimming, basketball and skates.
In 1999, running skates I had a terrible fall resulting in multiple fractures. As a consequence of that accident I have a metal plate with six screws on my right ankle. That time of convalescence was a very difficult lesson to bear, since I had to be in a wheelchair for 3 months and in rehabilitation about a year to walk again without limping. Walking was painful and going back to my routine too. Between the process of recovering my “bionic leg” and my pregnancy, being able to practice some sport was a forgotten task.
The time pass by between my work and raising my son (work that is quite intense) so the body weight had also gone into the background. I had not really internalized that after my pregnancy I had gained enough weight, until one fine day I was going through a shopping window and I could see my reflection in the glass. I was in shock… because I did recognize myself. It was a totally different person that I had in my conscience and the one I saw. That moment was crucial and decisive to start a radical change in my lifestyle, good eating habits and in adding to my daily routine some exercise. Even more so, when I had a child and a family history of heart diseases.
I had to be very careful when choosing the sport I was going to practice since I did not want any injury to my ankle. That’s when I discovered the world of cycling and it was love at first sight. When I ride my bike I realized how free we can be even behind bars. I loved the freedom, the speed, the daily release of endorphins, the relaxation offered by contact with nature, the determination that must be had to get from point A to point B only driven by my legs and of course the transformation of my body. Thanks to “my bicycle” I managed to lose 30 pounds of overweight, tone my body and have a healthy weight. At my 47 springs, I feel healthier and fuller than ever … that’s why I will always say :
“¡Que viva la bicicleta!”