INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
When Lopez-Cepero’s winds down from the end of his duty day, he removes his camouflage uniform and puts on a red, white and blue, skin-tight body suit- not to fight crime but to strive for success.
For U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Bryant Lopez-Cepero, former 728th Air Mobility Squadron unit training manager, formerly stationed at Incirlik Air Base, cycling is a way of life.
Lopez-Cepero was young when he started competing in the sprint category of track cycling, but was injured at the age of 19. He slowly began to gain weight and during his first meeting with a U.S. Air Force recruiter, he found out that in order to join, he’d have to lose 40 pounds.
Determined to serve his country, Lopez-Cepero lost the weight within two months and went back to that recruiter ready to enlist. He left for a Basic Military Training soon after.
After joining the military, Lopez-Cepero started gaining weight again. A coworker in his old unit noticed and recommended that he get back into cycling by riding to work.
“I started riding back and forth from work every day and it immediately flipped a switch and I was back into cycling all the time,” said Lopez-Cepero. “I was getting athletic again and I went from riding 20 miles a day to 30 miles, then a 100 miles; I started competing in endurance races, like a 200 mile race and then a 400 mile race.”
Lopez-Cepero, who rides up to two hours every day, contributes his best year of training for sprint cycling to the lack of distractions he had at Incirlik AB. In addition to riding every day, he eats healthy and strength trains to make sure his body is in peak performance, so he has the best chance of reaching his goals.
While Lopez-Cepero has bounced back and forth between sprint and endurance cycling, his biggest goal is competing in sprint cycling at the Track Cycling World Cup.
The help him achieve that dream, Lopez-Cepero is looking to apply for the World Class Athlete Program.
WCAP is a Department of Defense program for nationally ranked athletes in a particular sport, which allows military members to change their occupation to being an athlete, so they can represent the U.S.A and Air Force at the world’s largest competitions. WCAP also allows the U.S. Air Force to highlight its Airmen who work hard, not only to accomplish the mission, but their personal goals and dreams as well.
While this year has been his most productive year of training, as he got to concentrate more on himself, he hopes those efforts demonstrate his determination, toward WCAP, as an Airman and an American.
“My biggest dream has always been to wear the stars and stripes and represent my country competing at the international level,” said Lopez-Cepero.