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March Athlete of the Month: Patrick Schwinn

We are so excited to announce our March Athlete of the Month: Patrick Schwinn! Patrick is such a joy to be around, an integral part of Solcana and the 6AM class community, and truly engaged and invested in their time here.

We asked Patrick, why did you join Solcana? He responded: “I wanted to begin my journey of becoming the most muscle boy I can ever be!”

Patrick says, “One of his goals before getting top surgery is wanting to get my chest more in shape, and even before starting HRT for testosterone, I wanted to have a muscle body, but did not know where to start, and did not have positive gym/weight lifting experiences in school. I wanted to join a gym that would actually care if I did not show up for classes, and pay attention to details in my form to make sure I am pushing myself but in a safe way. I wanted a gym that was also a community, and a community that would respect me as “Patrick”.”

“Picking just one benefit is so tough as Solcana got me into power and Olympic weight lifting – I have been trying to find a new activity to fill my roller derby sized hole in my heart since leaving the sport. (I may end up going back to derby… Only time will tell…) I like activities where I can push my body’s strength in new ways, and Solcana provides a safe, supportive, informative environment for me to reach new gains in my lifting. But Solcana’s environment and community is the biggest benefit and surprise for me since joining. I love the QOD to get to know my fellow gym mates. I appreciate the cheers from my classmates as we struggle through metcons together, and people believing in each other’s strengths when we try to PR our one rep max. How do I get myself out of bed for those pre-coffee 6am classes, and for those evening bike ride classes when I could be cuddling my pug nibblings? Besides having a bike ride to look forward to in light of my mostly WFH lifestyle now, it’s seeing folks whom I have become well known to in such a short amount of time, and coaches who get excited about our achievements inside the gym and outside of Solcana. I know I am not the loudest cheerer in classes, but I am finding my cheer voice slowly thanks to you all, and just know I am cheering very loudly from my heart. You all are so strong, and it’s fun to watch my classmates grow too!” Patrick adds.

(Patrick and his partner Sam on a “Bikes and Bites” 2021 bike camping trip)

Coach Jeff says, “Patrick always the first person here when he’s in my classes. He rolls up on his bike, works out, and then rolls back out on his bike again. He literally bikes EVERYWHERE. Patrick has made so much progress since they started here. They are always focused on moving well. That has shown up most profoundly for me in their squat. It makes me so happy to watch them squat so well and to see them putting up bigger and bigger numbers. That said, Patrick really seems to know his limits. If they have overcooked it on a metcon, they aren’t afraid to make changes or just sit right down and regulate so they can come back again and be the first one to show up.”

Some fun facts about Patrick include:

Outside of physical activities, his interests include anime, board games and card games like “Trash Panda”, creating zines, coloring books, Boom! Box comics, and young adult fantasy novels. They used to be a specialty coffee barista, and can talk about different brewing methods and roasts all day. He would say next to biking, this is a big part of who he am, and he has been enjoying experimenting new ways to enjoy coffee outside for camping and trail adventures. 

Random fact about them is that since 8th grade they wanted to be a sex educator. Eventually in college, he wanted to include queer activism with this dream career. He is not currently a sex educator due to road blocks with him not having a driver’s license, but he finds ways to still educate people on these issues, and he is loud and proud about their queer, trans identity.

And his roller derby name was Slamrock Shake (#317) for his special birthday, St Patrick’s Day.

Coach Max says, “It’s been such a joy to watch Patrick grow at Solcana.  Over the last few months – I’ve seen just how much their confidence has blossomed by participating in the beginner powerlifting meet and simply being consistent in their fitness journey.  Since then, he has started attending Sunday Funday and recently introduced his partner to the magic of Solcana. As someone who joined Solcana after an intentional decision to be in a space with other trans+ folx….it makes me so happy to see fellow trans+ kin feel more at home in their body. Patrick is such a warm, inviting presence – and I’m oh so grateful to be in community with athletes like Patrick.”

You may have gathered already from reading or seeing Patrick roll up to the gym on his bike that Patrick’s favorite thing to do outside of the gym is biking. He adds, “I never learned how to drive in my soon-to-be 30 years of life, and I have been doing just fine with biking as my main commute style for the last 6 years. Spaceship is my baby – the pink, glitter vintage Schwinn road bike that I am constantly changing the color scheme of, but always with neon 80s vibes. Snack Pack is my Salsa fat bike I got just this past year, and it has changed my winter commute game! I recently got a used Yuba electric cargo bike, Sunflower, and that has been a life saver for bigger grocery hauls and beach parties.

(Blast from the past 2018 Cirque du so Gay when Solcana hosted the meeting/end spot)

“Outside of bike commuting, I have always enjoyed bike alley cat racing (scavenger hunt style races), and been trying to get more into gravel and cyclocross races with my fat bike. There is an alley cat race I have been doing since I moved here, Cirque du so Gay, which is a bike race for the queer community. One year Solcana Fitness was the host for the meeting and end spot, and I thought it was great this gym supported a community I hold dear to me.

“My major biking community and activism in the Twin Cities is Grease Rag Ride and Wrench (Grease Rag for short). We are a community for femme, transgender, two-spirit, non-binary, women (FTW) identified folks to have a safer space to work on their bikes, learn about bikes, and to have social gatherings. Solcana was the 2021 host space for the Winter Skill Share and Gear Swap, where we have workshops on how to be most prepared to bike in the more severe weather season. We have a free gear swap at the end so people can have a chance to gather winter biking supplies, and year round items since these can be a cost barrier to more marginalized communities who want to do more bike commuting/racing.

“I never thought biking would be a huge part of my life and personality, but biking/GR became one of the reasons why I stayed in Minneapolis after moving here from college in Wisconsin/home in Illinois.”

Coach Amelia states, “When Patrick joined, I thought “oh, this is a Solcana person!” – all sorts of people thrive here, but it really felt like a homecoming to have them here. Patrick is silly and dedicated, humble and tenacious, willing to try anything thrown their way. It’s been so fun to watch him grow as an athlete – their body awareness has gotten so much more fine-tuned since they joined! They’ve taken to lifting so well they even competed in the fall powerlifting meet. Outside of the gym Patrick is very active in the local biking scene, coordinating events and encouraging cyclists with Grease Rag. They have a great fashion sense and bring such a friendly presence to Solcana. Just last week Patrick asked about a silly thing I’d mentioned in September – their thoughtfulness gives me warm fuzzies!”

We are so happy Patrick is Athlete of the Month during his birthday month so be sure to congratulate him and with him a Happy Birthday this month!

Patrick we can’t wait to watch you continue to grow here and are truly blessed to have your genuine, dedicated, and playful self in our community!

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