SHELBYVILLE — Most days Dr. Paula Gustafson commutes by car to work in Shelbyville from her Columbus home.
Sometimes she prefers to ride her bicycle.
“It takes about one hour and 20 minutes on the county roads — about 24 miles,” said the pediatrician and medical chief of staff at Major Health Partners. “But I only do that on days when I don’t have patients.”
That jaunt is nothing compared to what she tackled last summer.
Gustafson participated in the national Ride Across America bike challenge to raise money and awareness to fight childhood obesity.
She said part of the reason for the skyrocketing rate of childhood obesity is a huge shift in their lifestyles, which includes less exercise and eating more fast food and spending more time indoors playing video games.
Her team, called Docs & Jocks, also included two other Shelbyville physicians, a personal trainer, a teacher, a college student and a Columbus bicycle shop owner.
The grueling ride included a range of conditions, from riding through the desert to over mountains to battling winds in Kansas strong enough to topple riders.
“(Gustafson) was a real motivator and very fired up about it,” said Matt Battin, co-owner of Bicycle Station on Washington Street in Columbus.
Gustafson, the oldest rider in the group, encouraged others as they took turns sprinting 20 to 30 minutes, then resting from one to one and a half hours.
“It was really great to be on her team. It was real easy to bond with her,” Battin said.
Rick Gustafson, her husband, went along on the race as one of the support crew members. Paula and Rick enjoy occasional 20- to 30-mile weekend bike rides together when they find some unscheduled time, she said.
Their garage is filled with bicycles, spare parts and cross country ski equipment that they use when Indiana has enough snow on the ground.
“She’s a doer,” Rick Gustafson said.
Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!
All content copyright ©2013 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.