What kind of cyclist are you?
I love mountainbiking the most, but I really just love the adventure, adrenaline, and thrill of the ride. And in the right circumstances you can have those on any kind of bike, be it road or mountain.
How long has cycling been a part of your life? When did it become more than just “riding a bike”?
Along time! My parents met on a bike ride, so I guess since before I was born. Since then, I’ve been riding in the bike trailer, learning to ride, riding on the back of the family tandem, mountainbiking, learning to race, and now with Salsa, bikepacking. In high school, I started heading to the trails with buddies on the weekends and then I did a mountainbike camp with a local shop in Baltimore. That really sparked the passion. I saw you could make bikes your life and work, and I didn’t know it at the time, but it was all leading to the life I have now.
The cycling accomplishment you’re proudest of to date?
In 2013, I signed up to do the road Assault on Mount Mitchell with my dad. He had always talked about how he had done it 20 years ago and I thought, what better way to get him to go back than to do it together. We didn’t really ride together; I finished 15th out of more than 700 finishers and 3rd in the under 30 age group, but I did wait at the top to cheer him on when he arrived. For those who haven’t done the ride, it is a century from Spartanburg, South Carolina to the top of the mountain. The first 75 miles are rolling and fast, the last 25 are straight up. It took me 5:35 to finish and I spent more than 2 hours of that of that in the last 25, just climbing. It taught me that I could suffer much longer than I thought, and that opened the doors to so many new challenges.
Favorite place you’ve been on a bike so far?
I really haven’t been everywhere on a bike yet, so I would have to say I really love the trails I grew up on in Loch Raven Reservoir. I have spent so many hours there it’s hard not to love it. But I go to new places whenever I get the chance and am always on the hunt.
Favorite place to daydream about that you haven’t yet ridden?
I would like to ride in both Chile and New Zealand. Both have some spectacular terrain and some seriously remote areas. I just want to be able to spend full riding days up in the mountains for an extended period of time.
How do you describe what the bicycle means to you?
It’s part of my identity. I’ve been defining myself by my riding since high school and it is such a part of who I am. At first it was something my family did growing up, then it was something I did with my dad, then it was something I did with friends. It became something I was good at and I started spending my weekends at races. It was my escape when life got hard and busy, then it was part of a job that fueled the passion. I continue to live on and through the bike with new adventures.
How will your future as a cyclist unfold?
Since I started riding I have continued to broaden my cycling horizons. Recently I’ve started some serious bikepacking and I love all the new and remote places I can go. There is just something about getting away from it all, either alone or with friends that just can’t be experienced any other way than under your own power. It leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I have learned that you should never be too snobby to try a new form of cycling because you never know, you might really like it.
Who inspires you and your riding?
Well a former American TDF winner rider in the 2000’s was certainly a big part of why I ride today. I used to watch the whole tour, and think about doing something crazy like that. As I started mountainbiking more, I had the opportunity to ride with Chris Eatough on several occasions. I now had a new idol, doing a new kind of crazy - 24hr races. Mountainbiking had become something fun, cool, new, and different and I loved it.
Favorite Salsa model and why?
By far and away the bike I pull out the most is my Horsethief. I just love the way it rides and what it allows me to do. It has made me a better rider in so many ways. I can ride it almost anywhere and have a huge grin on my face. But I can’t forget my El Mariachi. I have been on some really good adventures aboard that bike, and just when you think you have found the limits of what you can accomplish on it, it turns around and surprises you.
Favorite pre, during, and post ride/race food and bevvies?
Pre race: McD’s breakfast / Pre ride: fried egg over easy w/ ham on toast
During Race: PowerBar Energy Blasts / During Ride: Clif Bar Trail Mix Bar
Post Race: Dairy Queen Blizzard / Post Ride: Steak and Potatoes
When you’re not cycling…
You mean work? Oh, other hobbies. When I get some time - skiing, backpacking, and back roads driving.
What don’t you leave home without on a ride?
A good pair of sunglasses. I have quite the collection of Oakley’s and hate to forget them. But I’m not really into good luck charms.