I am thrilled to share that I will be riding for Vaiano-Fondriest in 2015! We are a UCI Professional cycling team based in Vaiano, Italy. I will be surrounded by some incredibly fast teammates, whom I am excited to learn from and race alongside. I know that this year will not be easy but I look forward to this new challenge and will do everything I can to support my team.
Ever since I started playing soccer in kindergarten I had a dream of becoming a professional athlete, or at least living a life surrounded by the outdoors. The idea of sitting behind a desk never appealed to me. Throughout elementary and middle school my response to the recurrent question:
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Ranged from a whale trainer, to a National Geographic photographer, to a videographer for Shark Week (they have to hold their breath for over two minutes and fight off the sharks with their cameras!) - anything that kept me in the fresh air surrounded by nature. Thankfully my parents always supported my crazy career options, telling me that I could be anything as long as I had discipline, drive, and determination!
By the time I was at university, running cross country and track for the University of Washington, I decided it was time to choose a “real” career. While I was a decent runner, I was never close to winning a race in college, and my goal of being a professional athlete began to wane. During my senior year, I decided I wanted to stop running for the team and instead train for my first Ironman triathlon, one of my lifelong goals. I had a good year as a triathlete in 2012 and the dream of becoming a professional athlete flickered back to life.
Unfortunately after years of running and ensuing injuries I began to fall out of love with the sport. Running brought back memories of days where I would go without food to lose that extra pound before a big race or obsessively weigh myself three times a day. All of this in order to make it into the top seven runners on the XC team or to earn the spot at Nationals, although it usually just ended in injury. However, these years of hard work and the experiences turned out to be invaluable.
While it was difficult to move on from something I had put so many hours, beads of sweat, and blood into, I felt so liberated by my decision. I still run now and again, but I found that my real passion was riding my bicycle...and that’s what I have been doing ever since!
I was fortunate enough to be guided and encouraged along the way by my family and friends. I would never have this opportunity to live my dream in Italy if it was not for , and All4Cycling USA. They have supported me in ways I would have never imagined. It is more than just a cycling shop helping out with bikes and gear. It is a community of people who sincerely support and motivate each other. I always know that when I walk into the store after a rough day, someone will be there to make me laugh or to give me a hug. These people truly mean so much more to me than any bike ever could. They have given me so much confidence in myself and taught me how important it is to not settle for anything less than the life you envision.
The scariest part will be leaving my best friend and my favorite training partner; the remarkable man who motivates me to wake up early to ride, rain or shine, puts up with me when I get “hangry,” and drives me to be a better person every day. For the next few months I won’t be able to run straight into his arms after a tough ride, or kiss him after watching him have a great race. But in just the past year he has taught me so much about cycling, life, and love. No matter how far away he is, I know I will still hear his voice in my head when the pain in races begins to overpower my mind, "Push down on the pedals!" and it will give me strength to carry on. I will miss him so much.
Thus, here I am about to move to a place where I don’t know the language, the people, the culture, or really much of anything yet. And while I am definitely nervous, I am also excited for the opportunity to live the life I have dreamed of. It will be difficult in many ways - physically, emotionally, and mentally - but these opportunities are fleeting there is no time in life to wait for the perfect circumstances. As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a great adventure or nothing at all!” So off to Europe I go, on another great adventure which will be documented here, on Instagram, and Facebook. I will also post links to watch our races live.
Please click here to like our team on Facebook: Vaiano-Fondriest
Our season begins with the famous Strade Bianche on March 7th, stay tuned :)
Professional cyclist turned professional triathlete living in Boulder, CO.