ROCKVILLE, Md. – Mark Forsyth finished a few hours ahead of Lance Armstrong in one of the grueling mountain stretches of the Tour de France last year. Not bad for a 43-year-old senior manager at a suburban Washington credit union. Of course, Forsyth had quite a head start. An avid bicyclist, he had the opportunity to ride the same stretch of road that summer morning in 2003 that the professional racers would be on later that day, and then watched as Armstrong and the pack went whizzing past. "Our tour operator, Trek Travel, was hooked up with the U.S. Postal Service team and we got to watch the pros do that Pyrenees climb and do some other behind-the-scenes things," says Forsyth, vice president of lending at $375 million National Institutes of Health FCU. "It was amazing to see those guys burning up those hills that fast. We also got to ride along with some of the pros and ex-pros on that trip. It was really quite a treat." Although he restricts his own competitive biking to charity events such as those put on by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Forsyth is a pretty serious biker himself, logging a couple hundred miles a week. He's not the only serious biker in the family. While his wife, Kate, is a runner, daughter Lauren is a frequent passenger in the cart on the back of her dad's hybrid bike in a park near their Ellicott City home. "She's two and a half and she loves to go on those rides," Forsyth says. "It's funny, because she looks so serious while we're doing it. I think she's having a good time." Forsyth first began competitive cycling in his college days at the University of Maryland and took it up again in recent years, he says. "It's a great stress reliever and a wonderful way to stay in shape," he says. Forsyth has to find the time to hit the roads, of course. "I'm busy with my job at the credit union and with going back to school online with the University of Maryland, and I'm also involved with i3 group at the Filene Institute. We're working to find innovative ways to foster development and new ideas within the credit union movement. It's a great program." As for his cycling prowess, Armstrong's records are safe from Forsyth, he says. "I love cycling, to be honest with you, and it's taken me literally all over the world, but Lance is safe in retirement or whatever he might choose to do," Forsyth says with a laugh. -

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