Vegan Endurance Athlete Cristiano Pereira, On Animal Compassion
We’re inspired by vegan endurance athlete, Cristiano Pereira and his team veg-friendly athletes, fueled by plants and passion. Tofurky loves to support and sponsor super stars in the plant powered athletic realm and Cris was kind enough to take time out of his busy training schedule to answer some questions for Talking Tofurky.
You have been racing bikes since the age of 16. You have raced with quite a few big teams. What inspired you to found the Animal Liberation Racing (ALR) team?
CRIS: When I was racing with other teams, I always felt that I was racing on my own. I felt more like a solo racer than part of a team; there didn’t seem to be a sense of camaraderie. I also didn’t feel like I was racing for a purpose. I wanted to race for a cause (animal liberation).
I decided to begin riding on my own with a custom jersey. People began stopping me at races and asking about my jersey. Quickly thereafter, a cycling team formed here in Salt Lake City. I wanted the jerseys to be available to athletes worldwide supporting the same cause. My goal is to raise awareness of the unethical treatment of animals by getting as many jerseys out there as I possibly can. All of the proceeds from jersey sales go to benefit animal rescues and sanctuaries across the United States.
What made you decide to become vegan?
CRIS: I have always felt a strong compassion for animals. When I was in high school, I became vegetarian. I toyed with the idea of being vegan, but it finally stuck for me about 10 years ago. I was working at the Humane Society here in Salt Lake City, and some of the things I saw really made me take a closer look at what I could do to help the animal population, thus, my vegan journey began!
You are an endurance athlete. What role does being vegan play?
CRIS: First and foremost, I know that I am racing for a cause. Other benefits of being a vegan athlete include quicker recovery time (which means I am able to stack harder workouts closer together), and my body just feels better in general. I “burn” cleaner!
What are your goals for the upcoming season/year?
I want to keep my focus on ultra-endurance (400+ mile races).
I’ll be racing the Saints to Sinners which is Salt Lake City to Las Vegas. The race is over 500 miles, and my goal is to be the first solo rider to finish the race. I will also be racing the Salt to Saint, which is Salt Lake City to Saint George, Utah. I will be spending the vast majority of my time training for RAAM (Race Across America), which is the world’s toughest, longest, endurance race. I plan to race in 2014. The race covers 3,000 miles and spans the entire country beginning in San Diego, and commencing in Atlantic City. I am very excited to see fellow vegan and friend Franz Preihs take on RAAM this summer. Franz is very committed to animal liberation, and will actually be donating a portion of the proceeds from his race to ALR so that we can hand them off to Farm Sanctuary in New York. Other than staying focused on getting to RAAM in 2014, I am looking forward to growing the team.
Lastly (for now), what is your favorite Tofurky product?
Cris:I absolutely love your tempeh because it is so diverse. It’s minimally processed, and goes well in wraps, sandwiches, curries, and stir fries.
I am proud to be sponsored by a family owned company that is dedicated to being environmentally friendly. I too, try to minimalize my impact on the environment. I commute to work daily, and I ride my cargo bike to the grocery store. One of my favorite things to load my bike up with is Tofurky products.
Wow, if ever there was anyone that dispelled the myth of the scrawny weakling vegan, Cris and his team are it! They are living proof that one can not only THRIVE on a plant based diet, but excel and master endurance sports like no other.
Keep posted on the adventures of Animal Liberation Racing and founder Cris is future posts and over at their website: http://www.animalliberationracing.com/ and FB page: http://www.facebook.com/ALRcycling?fref=ts