Marieta is one of of our newest and most prolific ambassadors. If you're in the Vancouver area, there's a good chance you've seen her pedaling up one of the local road climbs.
I decided to give her a call to learn more about what drives her.
Hello, Marieta. Thanks for taking the time to chat.
You have an interesting background. I understand that you were born in Bulgaria. How did you end up in Canada?
Like most young people, I always wanted to live away from my parents and family. After I finished my Ph.D., I applied to immigrate to Canada, and had an interview. In less than six months I became a Canadian permanent resident, even without being in Canada yet. Welcome to Canada - new life, new challenges, started my life from scratch again! And I've never regretted it.
I know that one of your passions is road cycling -- in particular climbing. How long have you been riding and how did you get started?
I learned to ride a bike at the age of two, but my first road bike experience was in 2016, and since then I haven't stop riding. How does everything happen? At that time road cycling was popular, but not what it is today. And I knew that road cycling would be perfect for me for two reasons. First, I would be doing exercises by having fun. Secondly, I would be able to go to many places without restrictions for parking or worry about how to get there. Road cycling is my big passion.
Where are your favorite areas to ride?
There is no doubt that my favorite area to ride is in North Vancouver on the mountain. I live there actually, and I love going to the mountains, with or without the bike. But Sea To Sky Highway is my fist choice to ride. For many people from Vancouver, the ride to Whistler is on their bucket list. For me, it is simply a reason to go to Whistler for coffee on a summer day. I sometimes split the ride and do Vancouver - Squamish - Vancouver. Or Squamish - Whistler - Squamish. But the best is Vancouver - Whistler, spend a night or more there and come back. (I usually have a bag shipped to Whistler. In this case, I don't need to worry about a backpack while riding).
How and when did you first encounter Enduro Bites?
I was talking to a friend of mine, with whom I sometimes ride about my concern of the race to Whistler -- that I would not be able to make it because of lack of energy and food for that long race without stopping. He said to try Enduro Bites. I had no other choice but to take the risk and experiment the night before the Whistler Fondo, since other bars, gels and such caused stomach problems. I have never regretted having Enduro Bites on the race. I have to tell you how I felt after the first couple of bites: I took a bite and said, "oh please, be good," and after a few minutes, I ate the first square and said to myself: "These bars are powerful for sure." I felt the difference right away. Thank Enduro Bites!
You've told me that you suffer from Crohn's Disease. How long has this been an issue for you and how have you had to modify your diet because of it?
Six months after I immigrated to Canada I had surgery for an emergency in 2007. It was then I was diagnosed with Crohn's & also had a temporary ileostomy. This was the most challenging year of my life. I think stress was a big factor for my Crohn's. I came to this conclusion because I worked as an engineer since I immigrated to Canada. In 2015 I decided to quit my engineering career. Now I run a small educational center, working with kids who face stress and anxiety at school. I love it. Am I going to keep doing this for the future - I don't know!
Now I cook and eat food that I grow. I do not experiment with cuisine from a different culture. And I don't have any symptoms or problems with Crohn's. I also think that staying physically active is what keeps me healthy. I need to do high intestinal workouts all of the time, otherwise, I don't feel well. I can see that biking is my Crohn's medication. In 2014 I decided to stop all types of medication and since then I am not only free of medications, I'm free of symptoms. Doctors told me I would be really sick, but it looks like they were wrong.
Please tell us about your business: CyclingOnTheGo.
CyclingOnTheGo is my hobby - business. I make handmade belts from old bike tires and tubes, tool bags and some art. All of that is from upcycled bicycle parts, tubes, tires - all type and style.
What's next on your competitive schedule?
I am planning to participate at Gila Monster, October 12th in Silver City, New Mexico. I'm crossing my fingers that my job doesn't cause me to miss this one again. Spartan Race is on my list, too.
You also skydive and fly (planes). What other passions do you have?
I like playing squash, cross-fit / military training, and cross country skiing is a must.
Is there anything else that you would like our followers to know about you?
I bought my first bike in April 2016. It was an aluminum bike that I still ride sometimes, and it's the bike that made me love cycling! In May 2018 after I recovered from a bike accident, I order my carbon bike. In September 2018 at the Whistler Fondo for my first time, I raced in a mix-team category, that was fun and the most exciting ride/race. I stepped up to first place on the podium. I can hardly believe how far I've come in my first three years of riding consistently.