My name is Colin Ross, I’m 34 years old, married with three children, and live just outside Belfast in Northern Ireland. I’m a full-time mountain bike racer and coach.
I’m also a Christian. When I was 5 years old, two men from a local church knocked on our door and had a short chat with my dad about his spiritual fitness. He was convicted by the Holy Spirit and gave his life to Jesus! Shortly after, my mum gave her life to Jesus too. My dad was always my hero; wherever he went so did I. At the age of 8, I started to understand the presence of God and decided to follow Jesus for myself.
My love for bikes started at 3 years old. Eventually, my dad built jumps out of wood and bricks in the driveway. When I turned 12, I started racing. I knew I was talented when I won my first downhill race in the U-14 category. For the next 10 years, my dad and I traveled around, racing in the national series and representing Ireland at the World and European Championships.
Once I hit 22 years old, I was done with racing. I was ready to get a proper job, get married and become more involved with the Church … or so I thought.
What most people don’t know about me is that when I was 24, I had a nervous breakdown. I was involved in too many things and didn’t listen to the warning signs. It started with panic attacks, constant anxiety and an inability to sleep. Soon, fear was all I felt and I had to leave my job. I ended up on a lot of anxiety and sleep medications, but I still wasn’t coping. I didn’t even want to leave the house. It was a slippery slope; it wasn’t long before I met depression.
No one could help me except God. And it was through this time that I really learned what it’s like to depend on Him. Psalm 23 became my go-to verse; it was like medicine flowing through my body. When I worshiped, it was like God was lifting me off the ground.
It took me about a year to get through this and start riding my bike again. My wife, Fiona, and I went on a mission trip to Uganda, which I thought was our new calling. At the end of the trip, God clearly spoke to me, saying, ”This is not your mission field, yours is at home on your bike.’
When I got home I decided to start racing again. I also started coaching. God blessed me with some great results and now I want to use this to let people know about His Son, Jesus.
It would be great to tell you I’ve been completely healed from anxiety, but that’s not the case. It’s something I have to deal with most days, but ”I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
As for now, riding my bike is my medicine and a way to glorify God!
— Colin Ross, Irish mountain bike champion