I started riding bikes because I was overweight. I was playing soccer to try to lose the weight, but that didn’t work, so then I began riding in the city’s velodrome. It took three years of riding, but finally I started to get fit, so then I started racing, and I got some results. I won some local stuff, and then I was selected to do some national races.

Cycling in Colombia was really strict. I couldn’t drink a beer, couldn’t have a piece of cake … the goal was always to be super skinny. Cycling in America is much more fun. The races here are much more organized too.

I love the feeling you get right before a race. Your adrenaline is going, you feel really nervous—like you’re about to jump out of your skin. But then when you start racing, all the nerves go away.

When I’m not riding, I spend time with my family back in Medellin. We’re all really close. In Colombia, it’s really difficult to find a job, so I feel lucky that I’m able to race for a living.

I’m stoked to be on this team. I’m still learning English—I don’t understand much yet—but it’s still a lot of fun!