Connor O'Leary: Chapters 1 & 2
My name is Connor O’Leary; I was born in Seattle and raised in Utah. I graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Communications. I have a passion for everything outdoors, particularly cycling. I started cycling competitively at the age of 13 and worked my way up the cycling ladder, going from the USA Junior National team, to the u23 USA National Team, to ultimately riding for one of the best professional development cycling teams in the world, Bontrager LIVESTRONG. Cycling led to many opportunities and experiences and at the age of 19, I found myself living in Europe.
Prior to heading off to live in Europe, I decided to go the doctor. I had a mass on my testicle that I wanted to make sure wasn’t an issue. So I went in, got checked out, and the doctor told me that I was fine. He told me to come back in a few years for another physical. I thought ‘Great’, and headed off to Europe. The season started out well but over time I had this nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right. I thought maybe it was the intense race schedule wearing me down. I was getting much more fatigued than normal and had some real discomfort. So ultimately, I decided to go back to a different doctor. I went in and the the last thing on Earth I was expecting to hear was, ‘You have Cancer’.It was hard news to take. I quickly had surgery and not long after, started chemotherapy. During my second to last round of chemotherapy, I was rushed to the Emergency Room with blood clots that had exploded in both of my lungs. It almost killed me and created severe scar tissue buildup in my lungs. I spent almost 2 weeks in intensive care, while blood thinners ran through my veins trying to break down the clots. Hands down, it was one of the scariest weeks of my life. Eventually, I was released and able to finish my last few rounds of Chemotherapy.After my treatment and blood clot scare, I started to work on rebuilding my fitness and stamina with the hope of getting back to the top of cycling. It was a long hard road, but through hard work, determination, and really a new outlook on life, I was able to successfully achieve my goal of returning to professional cycling!