It has been an oppressive month of May gray, full of cloudy, cold and rainy days. Sunshine, wherever you are, please come home! We miss you. While the weather may be gloomy, there’s a little ray of sunshine we’d like to celebrate here at Gravitas Fitness.

Clouds or sun, rain or shine, it is time to celebrate another badass Athlete of the Month. Wait no longer, friends — for today, we hoist up a man of many talents: a runner, a cyclist, a husband, a diver and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet … Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mr. May — Mark “give-me-a-trail-and-watch-me-run” Wieneke!

While he may be new to CrossFit, Mark is a lifelong athlete. In fact, during the ‘80’s he was a member of a gym right across the street from the little box we call home today. An avid runner, Mark has run Nine Trails more than a dozen times. If you are not familiar with Nine Trails, it is a local 35-mile endurance race. If you still don’t understand, it means Mark is one badass athlete. With his trail-running days in the rearview, Mark now prefers cycling (and CrossFit, of course!).

Originally from the land of Lincoln (that’s Illinois), Mark made his way to Santa Barbara in 1974 to attend the diving program at Santa Barbara City College. As has happened to so many of us, Mark fell in love with this town and has been in the area ever since. He met his wife at a flower stand (that is now the post office downtown), has had a long career in commercial diving, and now calls Ojai home. While he does not have any children of his own, Mark has been a father figure to both his niece and his god daughter over the years and I think it’s safe to say that he has taken on that role with many of us at the gym as well.

A regular at noon, and sometimes 4:30 p.m., Mark finally pulled the trigger and joined Gravitas after hearing mixed things about CrossFit. He did an On-Ramp with Coach Chance and jumped right into group classes. It will come as no surprise that some of the things Mark likes most about CrossFit is the community and how inclusive it is. Since joining he has done both the Nutrition Program with Coach Nicole and Barbell Club with Coach Chance … check out his new lifters when you get a chance! This may also be a contributing factor in his favorite lift recently changing from the deadlift to the clean and jerk.

Mark is exactly what we look for in an athlete at Gravitas Fitness: He works hard, asks questions, and is consistent. It just so happens that Mark also encompasses what we look for in a human being: He is gentle, he is kind and the man always has a smile on his face and a witty comeback in his back pocket. For all of these things, we salute you. Tonight, as we strap on our shiny new lifters and crack open an ice cold O’Douls, we take a sip for you, Mark. Keep being you!

— Coach Sally