I was a very unathletic until around the age of 17. I used to spend my time sitting around on the couch, eating donuts and watching TV. I hated myself and I hated life. I had no purpose or direction in life and felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere.
I was introduced to mountain biking in late 1996 and bought a cheap bike at KMart for about $100.00. I went for my first mountain bike ride wearing tight denim shorts, a tight white shirt, black dress boots, and large hoop earings. I suffered terribly but actually had fun. Soon I found myself in a bike shop buying a used bike that was what the shop considered a “real mountain bike”. I also purchased a helmet and a pair of riding shorts. They soon talked me into riding with toe cages and riding more often.
One day I went to the bike shop looking for a way to meet people to ride with. They told me that there was a mountain bike race in June 1997 and that even if I sucked I would still meet people who rode. I showed up at the race, alone, not knowing what to expect. There were only about 6 women racing that day. I got on my bike and took off at the sound of the whistle. I puked, I sweat, I suffered relentlessly, and I managed to get 2nd place. I also met a bunch of people that day who would change my life forever.
I soon started to ride with people and began learning about training, riding clipless pedals, eating better, and most importantly how to like myself. With my racing I felt like I belonged, like I had a reason to wake up each day. My life finally had meaning and I finally had friends.
Fast forward several years and along the way I have met so many people who have touched me in so many different ways. Some of them I owe my life to and most of them molded me along the way into the person I am today. They introduced me to new sports, inspired me, helped me learn that I can do whatever I dream to do as long as I put my heart into it, and they gave me the best gift of all, friendship.
The person I am today is a little bit of each person along the way who has taught me something special. There are so many people I look up to and strive to be like, but in the end, all I want to be is me. I hope that I can inspire others and give back what so many people have given to me. I thank each and every person who has helped mold me into who I am today.