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Posted on Apr 14, 2016

Peddling their way to better health

Seeing Quincy Athletic Director, Bill “Alex” Alexander, and his wife Jan out riding their bicycles in the countryside is a common and happy sight, especially considering the health scare
Alex had a year ago.
The daily bike rides may cover up to 25 miles and were motivated by Alex’s triple bypass heart surgery.

Seasoned cyclists, the Alexanders hope to ride the Snoqualmie Pass railroad tunnel trail and the Hiawatha Bicycle Trail in Idaho. Photos by Jill FitzSimmons.

Seasoned cyclists, the Alexanders hope to ride the Snoqualmie Pass railroad tunnel trail and the Hiawatha Bicycle Trail in Idaho. Photos by Jill FitzSimmons.

A year ago he had been feeling poorly for several weeks and had been to the doctor with sick, tired, flu-like symptoms. When it persisted, track coach David Stoddard insisted he go find out exactly what was wrong. In a short time, he was headed for surgery.
Recovery from bypass surgery is a long and sometimes painful process. But it was made easier by all the support he and Jan received from family and friends, he said. They were surprised by the number of people they knew who had gone through the same experience.
Alex credited Jan, who he says is his “cook, nutritionist and physical trainer” for helping him make it through that challenge. They have been married for 43 years after having grown up together in Leavenworth.
It’s not the first time Jan has been instrumental in helping Alex succeed.
“Jan put me through school while I attended Central Washington University,” he said.
After completing his degree the couple moved to Twin Falls, Idaho, for a few years. Then to Sequim for two years, Bridgeport for 10, and finally to Quincy in 1990. He has been a coach for more than 30 years, 27 as head football coach, and 17 as Quincy’s head coach with 147 total wins to his credit. In 2011 he was voted into the Washington State Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Jan is a school secretary at Monument.
The Alexanders’ have two sons, Michael and Scotty, who were All-State athletes in Quincy before moving on to Central themselves. With Michael being a former fitness trainer and Scotty being a nurse, they encouraged their dad to be more active. A new lifestyle was in order: healthier diet, exercise and appropriate amounts of food and drink, as Alex put it.
Jan is an avid walker. She belongs to the Run Wenatchee Club participating in a 5K walk/run every Thursday. She says she only walks, but Alex points out it’s a fast walk.
For an exercise they could do together, bicycling seemed like the best option.
Their distance and route depends on wind, weather, terrain and traffic.
“We prefer to ride the roads with letters and numbers to avoid truck traffic,” Alex said.
During the week they stay in the Quincy area, but on weekends like to ride the Apple Capital Loop Trail, a 10-mile loop that travels along the Columbia River in Wenatchee and East Wenatchee.
When asked what rides were on their bicycle “bucket list,” they were quick to answer, “The Snoqualmie Pass railroad tunnel ride, and the Hiawatha Bicycle Trail in Idaho.” The latter includes 10 tunnels and seven “sky high” trestles. Headlamps and intestinal fortitude required.
Next on their list of bicycle upgrades are a bike work bench for the garage and new carbon fiber tires.
“Goat heads are a four-letter word,” Alex said.
Along with continuing their bike riding, Alex has agreed to hike Saddle Rock with Jan this spring.
Whether you see them riding or hiking you can expect a big smile from Alex.

 

— By Dennis Roberts, QVPR contributor

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