For me, a bike equaled freedom. My parents were pretty involved growing up, and having a bike gave me the opportunity to get out and do my own thing.

As with most Texan kids, my first passions were all “ball sports” like football, baseball, and basketball. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately at this point) I was always a small kid so none of those sports really panned out the way I had hoped. My size along with my desire to compete in the Olympics some day led me to competitive diving in high school. Initially, cycling was always something I did for fun and to cross train for other sports. It was my constant when I moved through other sports in school.

In college, though, I started riding competitively, and I won the Collegiate Nationals Time Trial for Division I (actually the same time Brendan Rhim won for Division II). That’s when pro cycling changed from a dream to a goal.

Now? It’s like I’m living the dream, getting paid to ride my bike. When I’m not riding, I hang out with my dog and work on the farm where my truck is parked (yes, I live in my truck). I’m not into owning too much … don’t want to be tied down to something that I don’t want to be tied down to. My only real expenses are car insurance and coffee.

Most people are ingrained in this traditional mindset: You go to college, you get a desk job, you buy a house, you have a family. I guess I think life is too short to do something just to do it. I want my life to be full of passion and adventure. And testing myself.

Cycling brings everyday challenges and trials, and I believe I grow through that discomfort and become a better person because of it. When I’m out on my bike, sometimes I think to myself, “Would I rather be doing anything else?” The answer is always “no.” Because I believe I’m closest to God and His creation when I’m on my bike.