NewsWest 9 Special Report: Road Test for Life Means a Few Failures

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

The crashes and the defeats. Odessa High School English Teacher Cadet Byrant knows them all too well, in his free time he is a semi-professional mountain bike racer. 
"I can tell you story after story about crashing," Bryant, 35, can also tell you story after story about winning.

He ranked 2nd overall in Texas in the sport and 11th in the Nation in 2007, but instead of his victories, he prefers to talk about the loses.

"Failure makes you a hundred times better. You have got to keep welcoming that failure." Bryant said it's the falls that have forced him to pick up his bike and keep trying. "I tell my students, that riding and running relate to teaching because at first I was terrible at it. My first year teaching I was not a good teacher. Everything is so confusing and discipline and handling everything. It's a big learning experience."

Bryant says with time he learned to juggle it all, eventually taking on coaching jobs. He now juggles his love for the road with a strict workout plan. Training starts each morning in the gym at 3:00am.

"It took a long time to mature doing this." Bryant says it takes ten years to see success in a given area.

Bryant cross trains with his Blue Heeler, Molly. He runs and bikes whenever possible around his hometown of Coahoma and nearby Big Spring. Bryant says he must think creatively when designing training routes because of the West Texas Terrain.

Last year in September, Bryant was picked up as a team rider for Ellsworth Bikes because of his strong writing skills.

"She said the reason I am so interested in you is because you write such good e-mails, I can tell that you're educated and that's what we want for our company," Bryant told his third period class.

Bryant blogs each week on the Ellsworth Website. This week he wrote about a speech, Lance Armstrong's mother, Linda Armstrong Kelly gave at Howard College. Last year, Bryant says he raced with his hero, Lance Armstrong, and finished ahead of him in the race.

"We still respected him for coming out," Bryant said Armstrong doesn't traditionally race on a Mountain Bike.

On the road during a long race, Bryant says he only gets better with every mile.

"You develop that mental tenacity. Younger riders go out there and they can't hardly handle a fifty mile race because they haven't developed that perseverance." Bryant says it's a lesson he tries to teach his students, "Whatever you do you need to find whatever it is that you love to do and it takes a long time."

In the sport, Bryant says the best riders are those who are over 40 years old.

"They have so many miles on their legs, and their minds are so tough and they know how to eat right and they train smart and they eat smart and that's what it takes." Bryant hopes to become one of the masters, "I'll be doing this the rest of my life."