I was a competitive swimmer from a very early age. After years of over-training I decided to stop swimming at age 16. I have the classic swimmer’s body: 6’5″ tall and lean. Good for swimming, not so much for cycling, especially in windy conditions. And living in the windy City of Chicago certainly does not help me!
I attended undergraduate school in Arizona where I took up mountain biking. At the time there were amazing trails all around Arizona State University. Much of the area surrounding Tempe was undeveloped, and as such, amazing rides in open spaces were only a 30-minute drive away. South Mountain was my favorite stomping ground, along with McDowell Mountain and Fountain Hills.
After graduating in 1996, I started traveling extensively for work and stopped exercising until 2013, when I took up cycling. My wife Theia is an avid athlete, and encouraged me to do more than to sit on the couch. I stumbled upon cycling because of my brother’s gift to me: a 5 year-old, fully jacked Serotta, with a Campagnolo Super Record groupset. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but the bike was 64cm and fit me perfectly.
When I first started cycling, the longest I could ride was one hour. I spent the entire season of 2013 riding two or three days a week, for one hour at a time, on the bike trails in the area near my house. Days in between rides were 45-minute “power walk” days. The following season I built up the courage to start riding on the street, which gave me the ability to slowly increase the distance and experience true cycling. When I joined Vision Quest in the Fall of 2014, I could ride 2.5 hours at a pace of 19 mph, and probably thought I was one level below “pro”. That is, until I was placed in the “C” group and men and women of all ages would consistently drop me from group rides.
By the Spring of 2015, I started to get serious about cycling and started working with a personal coach through Vision Quest. Together we set goals for fitness and race results. With his help I lost 30 pounds and took my FTP from 210 to above 300 watts. I’ve also developed a strong aerobic energy system by riding sheer volume. In 2016 I rode more than 15,000 miles and raced two of the most epic endurance gravel races in America: Dirty Kanza 200 and the Belgian Waffle Ride. My goals for the coming years are primarily race-related. I’ve put in some serious training. Now I want to see results!