I didn’t grow up on an athletic path, or come from a place of security or privilege, but as far back as I can remember I was competitive and athletic at heart.
My love for cycling goes back to being a small child. I can recall the speed I felt on my tricycle tearing up and down the sidewalk. I remember the feeling of fear that turned into excitement, and pride I felt the first time my dad took the training wheels off. When I was a bit older, I remember my sister and I pushing how far we could go off our property onto country roads in rural Washington before we got scared from being too far from home, or out of fear we may get caught… Those first memories were filled with joy, excitement, and stoked my longing for adventure and freedom.
Then life took a turn. My parents divorced when I was 12, and I lost my mother to cancer three years later. On my own at the age of 15, I fought to survive, to get an education, to pursue a life without regret, to be true to myself, and to honor a dream I had as a small child: to pursue a life of sport. This did not come all at once. I graduated high school top of my class, I had a soccer scholarship in hand to a college in the middle of rural WA. Instead, I chose to relocate to Seattle to open up more opportunities. In Seattle, I worked three jobs at a time and did environmental restoration work with Americorps to earn an education award to help pay for college.
Fast forwarding a few years, I took a produce stand job in Pikes Place Market, and was taking night classes at a community college. One day I was working in the market, and I took notice of a cyclist riding through on a bike, but he had a radio and a bag on his back. I would see him again and again until one day I ran out and stopped him and asked who he was, and what he was doing. He told me he was a bike messenger, , and he said, “I love it! I’m free, I get to ride my bike around the city.” He then told me the company he worked for was hiring, and I should check it out, so I did. The company at the time provided these beat-up bikes to ride. They asked if I knew how to ride a bike, and of course I did but I had not been on one since I was 13 years old. I went to pedal and started to fall over, and the mechanic caught me, I blamed it on the smooth floors, and that I had never ridden indoors. I somehow got the job and I never looked back.
Six years later, I was living in San Francisco, and was part owner of an all girl courier company. Over the years I had competed in messenger races called Alley Cats and Messenger Championships that took me as far as Budapest. It was not until San Francisco that I discovered road racing. In 2003, I joined a team called McGuire that was partly comprised of messengers. I was a strong bike messenger, but this was a whole new game, and I was in way over my head. My introduction to racing was short-lived, I broke my ankle while rock climbing, then moved to Switzerland, so really there are two beginnings to the start of my cycling career.
In Switzerland I saw my first ever big-time professional cycling event, the Tour de Suisse, I got it in my head that when I went back stateside I would have another go at racing. In 2007 I took a different approach, and participated in the Early Bird Series that is held every spring in the Bay Area. Early Bird teaches the basics of how to ride and race. With new knowledge and skills, I started to find small success. I joined Dulce Vita, and I used every opportunity I had to push myself racing Category 3/4 races when I could, and eventually 1,2,3.
I honestly can’t recall the first race I won, I’m sure at the time I was excited, but I’m also sure I wanted to win a “big girl” race. That became my goal: get experience, upgrade to race with the pros, and be competitive. And then, it started to happen. I won the Davis, CA 4th of July Crit, then The Giro SF – two of the big Bay Area races. Just three years in, and I was on my way up. In 2009 I was wanting more, and I took myself to race in Belgium. In 2010 I signed my first pro contract with Vanderkitten, and would spend 4 years racing with them. Little did I know that my trajectory would come to a halt. In 2011, I was riddled with hip pain, and was struggling to pedal and get power our of my right leg. I tried physical therapy all season, and I just limped along it was not until the end of the year that I found out I had a hip labral tear. I had arthroscopic surgery in 2012, and it was a long road back until I felt like myself again. Directors lost faith in me. I lost faith in myself, and I struggled for the next couple of years until I did a solo project racing for KindHuman bikes. It was then that I fell back in love with the sport, and the results started coming again. The highlight was putting on the green sprinters jersey at the Redlands Cycling Classic. I’ll never forget the moment when I FaceTimed my now husband to show him after the awards ceremony. I was beaming with pride because he helped me get there. It was a victory for both of us.
The next year I signed with Hagens Berman Supermint, my first UCI team. I would win San Rafael for the first time, the sprint Competition at Chico, and pull on my first ever Yellow Jersey at Chico. But it wasn’t until our 2018 and 2019 seasons together where everything just clicked. We were a group of women who all wanted to realize our full potential. We believed in each other, and this allowed us to believe in ourselves. With that common set of goals, we accomplished so many amazing things together under the guidance of a director that pushed us to take chances, and taught us what it truly meant to race our bikes.
I went on to win the polkadot jersey at Redlands Cycling Classic in 2018, because our director believed I could. I would deliver teammates to victory after victory, and their win was often better than any personal win. In 2019 we built on the success of the previous year, and became known for our aggressive racing style and never give up mentality. We won Winston Salem two years in a row, I would take home the overall USA Crits Series champion jersey, and would win San Rafael Twilight for the 2nd time, I stood on the podium at my first ever UCI race, and learned so much about myself as an athlete and as a person.
Looking forward to 2020 new opportunities have presented them selves and I am super excited to tackle whats to come!