I remember riding around a school one time at night. There was snow on the ground. It was so cold that I started crying. But I kept training all winter because I loved riding so much.

Growing up, what I liked about cycling was that it was an individual sport. I was racing for myself. Also, it was more physical than other sports I’d played. So I kept at it, and when I was 16, I got on the junior team and started competing in international races. That’s when I knew I wanted to do this for a career.

I love the European races because of the harsh conditions and aggressive riding style. I like to sprint and be on the front—I really like to push myself. I don’t ride for the sunny days and leisurely routes. It means more to me to finish a ride that’s really difficult; I think for the most part, I have a higher pain threshold than normal people.

Nothing really scares me; I don’t let fear control me. Actually, my biggest fear is not being able to ride because I love it so much. It’s my way of life, and I really can’t imagine not riding. I’m most fulfilled when I ride; it gives my life meaning.