I am 46 years old from Iowa and I’m married without children. I spend most of my free time on a bike outdoors or spinning on my smart trainer at home; otherwise I can be found at my local gym.
I‘ve worked mainly in the dental field for the past 30 years. I started working in the back with doctors and patients, which is still where my heart is. However, due to lack of sensation in my hands and inability to be on my feet for eight hours a day, I ultimately accepted a desk position in the same office.
I motivate others not to give up; someone needs to be last. I was that person who never thought she could be part of any sporting event due to my Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT). I did not walk as a child, then used braces to walk until I started having reconstructive foot surgeries in my 20s. In 2001, when I went to see my neurologist as a follow up, I was advised to start losing weight and to become more active. At that time, he recommended cycling. I got home and went right to the bike shop and purchased my first bike.
When I was younger, I was depressed that I was not able to play sports and be active like my friends. What was wrong with me? I would fall for no reason, and it was normal to have a sprained ankle. I wrapped myself in a blanket until it reached about 80 degrees and always felt tired. Normal tasks, such as opening a bottle, picking up a pencil and writing, or towelling off post shower are daily challenges. What is more, the Iowa winters really play havoc with me, as I get stabbing jolts, bug-crawling pain, and my feet turn bluish and I don’t want to get out of bed. To this day, I don’t like to ask for assistance with daily tasks, but sometimes I have no choice. One of my ongoing challenges is accepting that my body requires more sleep and increased recovery time than others.
I did not know I had a Hereditary Sensory Motor Neuropathy (HSMN another term for CMT) until my early 20s. Then, things started to make a little sense. At that point, I thought “I can fight this,” and I became a new person who just kept looking for ways to challenge myself with new goals.
Cycling challenges me! I enjoy exploring gravel back roads while enjoying nature. I’m motivated by any type of cycling that pushes my body beyond its current limits. I have road cycled for the past 19 years, and 5 years ago I started to dabble into winter and snow riding, and 3 years ago got into gravel racing.
This is a snapshot of some of the races I’ve done, plus some on my upcoming schedule:
- Triple D Winter Race (2015-2019)
- LandRun (2020)
- Barry Roubaix 100K (2019)
- Epic 150 50 miles (2019) 2nd place in the women
- Dairy Roubaix 100K (2019)
- Dirty Kanza 100 miles (2017, 2018 and 2019)
- Iowa Gravel Classic 100 mile (2019)
- RAGBARI 7 Day casual social road ride across Iowa (19 years)
- Gravel Worlds 100K (2019)
- Snaggy 105 100K (2018; the only woman who finished, and 2019)
- Iowa City Gravel 100K (2018, 3rd place, and 2019)
Most of my fellow cyclists know that I fight challenges, and are always there for full support. If I have a bad day on a ride, one of them will stay with me for support and motivation, versus allowing me not to ride. My left leg is ‘along for the ride’ and my right leg is my ‘powerhouse.’ However, when I tell other cyclists for the first time about my challenges, they compliment me on my motivation to fight. When I’m out cycling in cooler temps, my fellow cyclists know that I may need assistance removing my helmet, unzipping my jacket, and removing my boots, due to lack of sensation in my hands.
I have served on the Dubuque Bike Club board for the past six years. I also started and lead the Tuesday Night Gravel group. My motto for the group is: “The speed of this group is the speed of the slowest rider”.
In 2018, I established the FIRST official bike route through Dubuque Co. Signage will be installed the summer of 2019.
As friends say, “Lisa sets goals, registers for races and puts more mileage on her bicycle than we have ever witnessed from anyone! In fact, her bicycle mileage outnumbers the miles on my car per month”.
This past October, my neurologist was able to get me enrolled into a 40-person double- blind, 14-month drug study to rebuild anterior tribal muscle tissue. The reason I wanted to join the CMT Team is to continue to raise awareness about CMT. Just because I have CMT doesn’t mean it has me.
I just have to focus and work harder and dig deeper for my goals.
I may have Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), but it does not have me. Challenge your limits
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My Instagram handle are both: cycling_chic73 Facebook: Lisa Mormann