Everybody glorifies finish lines, but I’ll let you in on a little secret—finish lines are overrated. What matters is the start line. No one knows what battles you overcame to get to that start line. No one knows the journey you took to even consider signing up for the event, or your fears, your scars, and mental health. But you are there. The race is what drives you to get outside and ride your bike each day. You can sign up for a fun ride, a fondo, a race, an epic adventure—riding your bike can become a chore, but discovering a target event drives you to saddle up. It's these moments that motivate us to find our tribe—to join together to conquer a day, regardless of the outcome.
My race face is found at both the start line and finish line. Through the suffering I didn’t know I could endure, and secretly loving the pain. Most importantly, my race face is found in all those days in between events. The days I'm laughing and riding bikes all day, to go eat donuts at my favorite bakery on the coast with my friends. On the days I struggle through foul weather, alone, to finish the workout. The days I use my bike as therapy to calm my emotions and re-center my soul. My race face is fortified every single day.
I raced around the world for the last nine years as a professional cyclist. I gambled on a biochemistry degree. I strove for goals that were defined for me, and I attained a graduate degree that was an expensive therapy session to prove a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) wrong. I felt like I had it all, and that I was a success story that should be told. But that still wasn’t enough. USA National Team accolades, wins on the majority of continents, and a World Championship medal, but even after all of that, I felt something was missing. I wanted more. More. More. More. I didn’t need more external validation, I just wanted to know myself more. I wanted to understand what I was made of, and what I could accomplish. I wanted to push myself beyond predefined barriers and into an unknown frontier that wasn’t already mapped out for me by course profiles, iconic races, and Strava personal records. I found gravel racing, adventure rides, and throwing the plans out the window as a way to continue to challenge myself at events around the world.
Who am I when I ride? I am a human trying to find a way to express my passion, darkness, euphoria, and depth. I want to explore places within myself I didn’t know existed. I want to push past whatever line someone told me I couldn’t cross. I hate the feeling of failure, but I love the journey on the way to this point. If you don’t win, you learn. I am still racing my bike on terrains that I used to fear. I am still tightening my shoes, braiding my hair, and riding my bike with a goal of the next event and challenge.