Catherine Johnson, vegan cyclist
The cyclocross champion has been vegan since 22 (1998) after several years of vegetarianism and on/ off veganism.
"I did not want to cause suffering to animals. I knew that animals often lived under horrible conditions on factory farms, and that they do not have voices to scream and yell to their abusers, leaving them totally without the power to save themselves. I understood that by merely making the choice to not eat meat and dairy, I could contribute to helping animals suffer less."
"I knew then that rainforest land was used by large corporations for animals to graze, and did not want to contribute to environmental degradation. I also found that I felt healthier, more energetic, and alive when I didn't eat meat or dairy products."
After running a few marathons over 1999-2000, Catherine worked as a cycle messenger and started serious cyclocross racing. Highlights include finishing 8th in the Capital Cross Classic 2006 and 6th in the Boulder Short Track Series 2006. She won the Boulder Cyclocross Series in 2005. Catherine retains a passionate determination to excel as a cyclist and is proud of her veganism.
"I think it is important to make a positive difference, fight for social justice, and choose to let your choices speak for not only yourself, but for those whose voices we can not hear. Staying true to my beliefs, and myself by racing and being a vegan, I have improved immensely as a cyclist. I hope that others will find the courage, willpower and determination to make a conscious decision for themselves and the world around them by choosing to be vegan as well."
This positive approach has earned her the respect of other athletes.
"My teammates have been really positive. I think they figure it is not for them, but since it works for me, it's great! Once I had a teammate that suggested I add soy ice cream to my smoothies to drown out the taste of protein powder. This was excellent advice, as rice protein powder has a revolting aftertaste. Really, I think, it is the combination of a healthy lifestyle, training, and racing that will improve a person's performance above all. "
"Being aware of the suffering of factory farm animals, environmental issues, and ones health is a smart way to live. I think this consciousness is important in racing. Having a clear conscious, and a positive mindset, helps you find power, strength, and peace within yourself."