I started riding as a way to escape. Getting severely caught up in my own head as a teenager, it was something that had never happened before, but I knew needed to be figured out so I moved to Tucson, Arizona.

Tucson, what can I say? Is this place real? Are we seriously still in the United States? This place is something. I’m not kidding what is it, February? I wake up on the regular around 6:45. Throw that bowl of cinnamon and brown sugar oatmeal in the microwave, get dressed, eat up those oats and get out the door. It’s 7am, 50 degrees and an hour later it’s 85! I love this place.

From shivering to sweating in an hour, I’m ripping all my clothes off and stuffing them in my jersey pockets.

The other day I got up late, wasn’t feeling great. Had my breakfast and hopped on the Focus and headed to Lemmon on a whim. I was warmed up after the 6,500 ft. ascent and feeling amazing. Riding for me, does something unexplainable, I feel—free. I feel clear-headed, all the stress in my life is gone and I focus, I ride. I began the decent; something felt different this time. I ride Lemmon like every week, probably 30 or so time all the way to the top, this time felt different. It was just after I passed the Palisades, where it starts to decent into Summerhaven, and on the decent I was looking around, on both side. To the left, Tucson, to the right, huge, bare plains that seem to extend forever. All of the sudden I began balling, I think it was some sort of spiritual awakening! It was incredible.

This experience is unexplainable and I’m not sure what it means yet exactly. But either way, it was awesome, and I realized how much cycling has done for me. Being in Tucson the last five years has helped me to become the cyclist I am. I can remember back to the days in the beginning when my girlfriend would ask how my ride was, and my response commonly was “I threw up.” I worked hard then and continue to keep working now to become faster and a better competitor.

I look forward to what my future with cycling will develop into. Being able to spend 15+ hours a week riding and training with some of my best friends is nothing short of a dream.

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