T-180 Intersections are true life experiences told by our Bravest Heroes about their 180 change to a healthier and happier life. To nominate an individual, group or family, please contact us by hitting the button below.
It is clear, but bitterly cold and daylight is barely creeping above the mountains of Utah’s Salt Lake Valley. Shane Horton’s breath is visible, his head is down, his rhythm is steady and he is drenched in sweat, but he doesn’t feel it. All he hears is the rhythm of his tire tread on the snowy path.
As a husband, father and Fire Department Engineer you might imagine his mind is filled with his priorities. His son's college savings, his wife embarking on a new career, his mother's health, his emergency calls from the night before. And his concerns for the calls to come.
They were all there. But now, under the "big blue dome" of the Utah sky and amidst the whirring of his mountain bike, they have melded into the pure determination he needs for today’s ride. Speed, heart rate, concentration, pushing himself past his physical limits and every other method he can possibly conjure to attain “a perfect ride”.
It can be hard, for people who don’t ride, to understand the lifestyle. How can a passion for this form of exercise, this “hobby”, become so consuming? For the friends and family of Shane, it only takes a few opportunities to sit nearby, as he talks, sometimes incessantly, about gear, performance, favorite rides and his cycling idols, in order for them to understand that for Shane, this is not a hobby. It isn’t a way to keep his body fit. For him and other first responders, it is how they bring about balance in their mind. A private and quite possibly subconscious therapy for the soul. A time to process the past, test the body, clear the mind and bring about a “reset”, in order bravely face the future.
A method, considered by the rest of us, as one, to be envied.
Shane Horton has been an avid cyclist for 25 years. He became a first responder in 2010 and is currently an Engineer with the South Davis Metro Fire Department. He lives in Lehi, Utah with his wife Tara, his son Parker and their dog Cash.
Steve Walker is a Marine Corps Veteran, Ironman triathlete, and Para-Cyclist. During his enlistment in 2001, he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, an eye condition that gradually takes a person's eye-sight. By 2013 Walker lost more than 95% of his vision. As a means of taking control of his life he set out with the goal of completing an Ironman Triathlon. Being a complete newcomer to the sport of triathlon Walker had to learn how to become a cyclist by riding a tandem road bike with the help of a pilot as well as learn to open water swim while being tethered to a guide. During his path towards an Ironman, Walker completed sprint triathlons and an Ironman 70.3. He also qualified as an emerging athlete under the tandem para-cycling standards.
In November 2014 Walker completed his goal at Ironman Cozumel, Mexico and also fulfilled a dream by finishing the 2015 Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, HI. During Ironman Kona, NBC selected him as a featured athlete for their annual telecast of the race. Currently Walker is finishing his bachelor's in psychology at CSU Dominguez Hills and also focusing on climbing the ladder of the tandem para-cycling rankings. His next races will be Ironman 70.3 Oceanside on April 1, and the Para-Cycling Road Nationals in Grand Junction, CO in late April. In both races his tamdem pilot and guide will be fellow veteran and elite cyclist Shawn Olin. He is continually trying to push himself out of his comfort zone by not letting blindness define him.
Walker lives in Redondo Beach, CA with his wife of 14 years and daughter. You can see more of his story on Instagram @stevewalkerracing.