Team: Team Dream with the support of Cannondale, Fabric and Giro
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
When did you start cycling?
I got into cycling through my dad. Somewhere around 2 years old, I rode my bike for the first time without training wheels. My dad would take me and my brother up dirt Mulholland and follow us in the car taking videos. Once I was strong enough, he started to take me out riding on the weekend with the local group of guys. Slowly, I got quicker and stronger, at the same time I was playing baseball and soccer and loving it. When I was about 12 years old I had to decide whether I wanted to play baseball at a higher level or just keep riding. I chose riding, and it seems I made the right choice!
How has the SoCal cycling environment affected your development?
Growing up in SoCal is pretty awesome. Not only has it allowed me to ride year round in some beautiful weather, but it means that I really get to diversify the things I do. My offseason is the perfect time for big south swells here in SoCal, so I spend lots of time basically living at the beach and surfing until I can’t move my arms anymore!
SoCal is also lucky enough to be filled with some awesome people. I get to surround myself with rad people, such as the Pedalers Fork scene, a bunch of the dudes from the Endo CNCPT team and plenty of other awesome people. WorldTour pros come to L.A. to train in the winter; I’m lucky enough to get to ride with some of those people, and they really know how to put the hurt on!
What is your favorite type of riding?
That’s a really difficult question. My first love was mountain biking, and there’s something so addicting about the feel of getting on a mountain bike and disappearing into the hills. But more recently, I’ve found myself spending lots of time on the gravel bike. I love the whole idea that you can go out on one bike and do a massive day mixing road and dirt. It allows you to link up so much more and create some really wild routes. But, when it comes down to it, I’m stoked riding any type of bike—from my track bike all the way to big enduro bikes!
What’s the most useful tip you’ve learned from your time at Pedalers Fork?
One huge thing that I learned is how to look after your bike. I arrived there as a scruffy kid that would shift under pressure and just ride my bikes till they broke. They taught me to care for my bikes, and I learned how to love working on bikes. Now, I never pass up on the opportunity to let the OCD shine and spend hours making sure everything on my bike is just perfect!
Do you have a favorite drop-bar race?
Grinduro has got to be my favorite race on the planet. It is the perfect blend of having a totally awesome time out in the mountains with your friends but still getting that racing edge that I’m addicted to. It really embodies the spirit of riding that a lot of us have grown up on. Go out for a big day with your mates, sprint for the top of the climb. Hang out. Chat. Bomb a descent totally on edge. Spin back and have a good time. And now it’s awesome to see that this type of racing is taking off! I had the opportunity to go out to Grinduro Scotland last year, thanks to the awesome people at Fabric and Cannondale, and it was nuts to see just how similar yet different the event was!
Any tips for roadies riding gravel for the first time?
I think the biggest tip to any roadie getting into gravel is just to have fun and try and push your limits as much as possible. Yes, it’s possible to get way out into the middle of nowhere on the road, but it’s something else getting out way into the wilderness where paved roads can’t take you. Focus on just having a good time and enjoying the challenges of getting loose!
Where would you like to be in the sport in five years?
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to race professionally. That’s always meant UCI World Cup level for me, and that is still one of my biggest goals. But now, with the emergence and growing popularity of races like Grinduro and other cool, unique events, it’s almost possible to do that professionally. I love those events, but I’m totally addicted to racing at the moment, so I’m not really sure. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens down the road!
I want to give a huge shout out to my parents. They have always been there for me through the good and the bad and have dropped everything to drive me to the middle of nowhere for a race. I honestly couldn’t do it without them. I also want to shout out all the rad people at Cannondale that have turned my wildest dreams into reality. I’ve got a super-exciting few years coming up, and I’m stoked to have them by my side! Finally, I’d like to thank all the people at NICA. Going out to those races each weekend and seeing a few hundred kids all toeing the line, some for their first-ever race, is one of the most inspiring things. It pushes me to be a better rider and try and be the best example I possibly could be!