Lori Nedescu, professional cyclist, dietician, entrepreneur, answers 10 questions for Rochester Magazine.
Rochester Magazine: What are the most biking miles you’ve ridden in a year?
Lori Nedescu: I think I hit over 12,000 last year.
RM: I’m not questioning you. But that’s not possible.
LN: I think I averaged more than a ride a day. Last year was probably my most.
RM: Tell me about the Alpine descent in France.
LN: Oh, gosh, every descent in France is amazing and difficult, and I love to climb. Put me up. Once I start going down, it’s not my favorite thing.
RM: But the cold one?
LN: Oh, that one. I got hypothermia in France coming down one of the mountains in the French Alps. I had a long climb, maybe 13 miles. It was like 80 degrees at the bottom and then like 40 degrees and raining at the top. I was not prepared with clothing. On the way down I was shaking so hard I could barely control the bike. I got to the bottom and went to a café and got like 20 shots of espresso.
RM: So where are you right now?
LN: Right now I’m in Tucson, Arizona.
RM: And what are you doing there? Are you riding your bike as we speak?
LN: Not as we speak. But I did ride three hours this morning. I’m here with the Homestretch Foundation, an organization that helps provide housing for professional women cyclists because there’s usually such a big pay gap for women.
RM: And this is part of your work.
LN: Yes. I’m in Arizona as a professional athlete. But I also freelance. So my work can be done from mostly anywhere.
RM: I’m going to give you a few titles a friend used to describe you. Tell me a bit about each. Freelancer.
LN: So, I created my own nutrition mag, and that has taken off and it’s something that I do. My work from that stems in a few different directions. I do recipe development. I do personal chef work and nutrition counseling. I do freelance writing and photography, and brand marketing.
RM: Elite athlete.
LN: I race for a team called Femme Equipe cycling. I do road cycling. I race at a professional level for most of the year. I also run marathons and have a PR of 2:56 and several sub-3:00 marathons under my belt.
RM: Wow. Dietician?
LN: Yeah. That is my profession. I am a board-certified sports dietician with a Masters in Human Nutrition. And I definitely identify myself as a sports dietician and a performance dietician.
RM: And finally, author?
LN: I just published the 30-Day Whole Foods Cookbook and Meal Plan. It takes you through the basics of how to get back to using whole, unprocessed foods.
RM: Since we’re on the subject of nutrition, I’ve got a question for a friend. Are there any beers that are really good for me?
LN: Yeah. Studies have shown that darker beers have more antioxidants, just like red wine versus white wine. So a little bit—two a day for men, one for women—have been shown to calm, relax, and be beneficial.
RM: How about Busch Light cans?
LN: Um. No?
RM: How long can you travel and live out of your retrofitted van?
LN: Yeah. I’ve got a little mini Ford Transit that I’ve got outfitted pretty nice. And that definitely helps get me from place to place. Usually, I can do a week in it. After that, I’m ready for a place to call home, at least for a couple nights, in a campsite or in somebody’s house.
RM: What brought you here?
LN: My fiancé [Luke Russell] took a job at Vyriad, and we’ve been in Rochester for just over a full year.
RM: Is his dad Stephen Russell? I just interviewed him for a story last month. So is Luke from England as well? Does he have an adorable English accent?
LN: He does. It’s a little mix of Minnesota and London. So it’s fun.
RM: In your senior yearbook, you and your boyfriend were voted “most likely to make up and break up the most.”
LN: I remember that! We, obviously, broke up and did not make up again. That was pretty funny. I was like “Hey! I made it in the yearbook!”
RM: So if you’re riding 10,000-plus miles a year on the bike, it must really have some sort of profound meaning for you. I mean, what is it about biking that you have been so drawn to?
LN: I really love to explore places. Whether I’m in Rochester or Tucson, there are so many parts of a place that I wouldn’t see by car. I get to stop at little sites and just see different roads and paths that people don’t normally get to take. There are races where I’m 100 percent focused on what my body can do in that situation. Then there are rides that are just kind of free. You know, go off for four hours and clear your head. We call those soul rides, where you just get to think about whatever because there’s so much free headspace.
RM: Tell me about one memorable soul ride.
LN: Just yesterday I rode to the top of Mount Lemmon, which is one of the longest climbs we have in America. So for 22 miles, you’re going up over 8,000 feet of elevation and it’s just wonderful. You get to look around, and you go from the bottom where it’s just cacti and dry, to the top where it’s pine trees and there’s snow on the ground. So, I mean, it’s just great for quieting the mind and really appreciating your surroundings.
RM: And you remembered to bring your jacket this time?
LN: Yes. Yes, I did. That will never happen again.