Avoiding “inflation” in his fifties.
Kevin Adams came of age playing Texas football. In the realm of the sport, that’s about as competitive as you get outside of going pro. He wore the jerseys of Stratford High School in Houston when they won the state 4A championship in 1978, and that of Southern Methodist University where he was linebacker and fullback, as SMU finished in the top five in the 1981 and 1982 polls.
Today, Adams carries the ball for CBRE Memphis where he is chief executive officer. And time has marched on from those Lone Star days, time that has seen a marriage and kids, days spent putting together deals, and networking over dinner and drinks. “When I got out of college, I knew I needed to do something to stay in shape or inflate,” Adams says. “Soon after that, I got married and had four kids, so I inflated.”
He still managed to get in some exercise over the years — running and strength training — and then four years ago, at 51 years old, he got into competitive team cycling. “It stripped all the weight off of me and took away a lot of stress and everything else. I went from about 250 lbs. to 185 lbs.”
Adams rides with Team CDV and Victory Test Team, both affiliated with Victory Bicycle Studio on Broad Avenue. He rides “about 200 to 300 miles per week,” he says, adding, “To get to that level, it’s really hard to do it on your own. You’ve got to have a group of committed men and women that do that, and you really need a coach who is able to give you a lot of specific direction and workout plans.” Clark Butcher, owner of Victory and a personal trainer, is that coach for Adams.
The racing has taken him to locales such as Atlanta, back to Texas, and to the Leadville 100, a popular mountain bike race in Colorado. While he may have embraced cycling for the health benefits, there’s no doubt that this power player in Memphis commercial real estate is quite competitive as well.
As on the football fields of his youth, such competition pits man against man, but Adams has also been known to go up against Mother Nature. In 2011, he “paddled his 14-foot kayak 679 miles from Memphis to the outskirts of New Orleans, in a transformational trip that took 16 days,” wrote John Branston in the November issue of Memphis that year. While he hasn’t tamed the Mississippi since, he and his son tackled Class IV rapids in Idaho over the summer.
Adams spends his days selling Memphis. The rides afford him what he calls “clean thinking time.” “You’re able to think more about, not issues, but strategies if you want to go down that road. And then it’s real easy just to get your mind completely off of it, so you can kind of space out.”
But it also allows him the chance to see his city in a different way. Instead of speeding down the road in a car, talking on the phone or listening to the radio, or any number of myriad distractions, cycling slows him down to admire more of what the city has to offer. “You just don’t realize or appreciate it as much as you can [while riding],” he says. “I can leave my house in Midtown and go ride 50 or 75 miles and really not have a lot of trouble with traffic or anything doing that, that’s just different. The Greenline is a great connector to get from one area to another.”
Adams says he might be in better shape at 55 than he was 30 years ago, and he owes it to cycling as well as other factors. “Along with exercise, you’ve got to eat right and you can’t drink too much, you just can’t do it. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything, and you realize that the older you get. You have to take care of yourself and keep rolling.”