I grew up in Western PA in a small town named Somerset just outside of Pittsburgh. I gained interest in cycling through the Livestrong movement and volunteering at Cycling Nationals at Seven Springs Ski Resort, which I later found out that TCH owner, Owen Gue, was also coincidentally racing (he may have been the guy that I dropped the H20 bottle during the feed zone, whoops). So for my 16th birthday, my dad bought me my first road bike, a 2004 Lemond Big Sky S.
My real passion back then was running and swimming and I took my running to college where I was a student-athlete at Messiah College. During this time I loved road biking but XC and Track training took priority. However, the handful of rides I took during the offseason, left me wanting to get serious about triathlon and cycling post-college.
I moved to Missoula summer of 2010 to attend grad school in exercise physiology at U of M. The program and Missoula was a perfect fit! I studied the limits of human performance: exercising in extreme heat, cold, and altitude. I found it fascinating.
During grad school, my running took a back seat form a chronic college running injury. My Lemond Big Sky S and newly acquired Kona Big Unit Hard Tail Mtb rekindled my love for riding and I quickly realized the Missoula trails had a lot to offer. Then I learned about cyclocross, which was steeplechase running, mountain biking, and road cycling all combined. CX is now a favorite.
After grad school, I fell upon a race-timing job with Competitive Timing. I never knew that chip timing races was a real job, but it was. Over the past few years, I’ve been busy during the summer months traveling to races across Montana and the PNW timing running races, triathlons, marathons, cycling races, and Nordic. It’s the perfect fit for me. In 2016, I partnered up with the owner and the future of race timing looks bright!
The Cycling House has provided me a great opportunity to take a break from the finish line and timing chips, and share my passion cycling with the TCH clients. I look forward to clients’ stories and hearing their cycling goals during their week escape to Tucson during the winter.
What is the best thing about working at The Cycling House?
I love meeting guests from all over North America who each have a different goal and story of why they ride and why they are in Tucson with us. It’s really neat to share a week of riding, training, and vacation with them in their busy lives.
Do you have a favorite ride?
Any new route whether that is a new trail, fire road, or paved road. Although one my favorite rides is probably Missoula - Nine Mile - Petty Creek. It offers some great gravel sections, the perfect amount of elevation, the smoothest paved road in Montana, all with little traffic. Ok and one more: Rolling Thunder Cyclocross. Under the lights, mud, fans, sand, barriers, Thunder Mountain, riding through a Big Sky Brewery. I could ride that every week until my legs and cross bike gave out.
What is the most memorable day you’ve ever had on the bike?
Hell Ride 2016. One of my first ‘road cycling races’. Within a minute of the start, teammate Brendan Halpin went on a solo breakaway leaving the group. Six miles later, I got antsy and starting picking up the pace. The peloton eventually let me and another rider go and the two of us reeled Halpin back in some muddy, cold, and wet conditions. The three of us drilled it for a few miles until we were caught by the peloton. Things fragmented later in the race when we went up and over and then back up and over Petty Creek. On the ten-mile stretch of paved, slightly downhill road coming down Petty, I thought I could break up the pace-line of 6-8 riders with some monster pulls. Not the case. We got to the aid station before the final stretch of 25 miles of gravel and I blew through it thinking it was my only chance to breakaway for a top three finish. I threw down the hammer and went deep only to be caught one by one by ten minutes later. The last 15 miles were the worst. On the last 200m climb, my quads were cramping when I sat in the saddle and my hamstrings were cramping when I stood. It took me a few minutes to get up that hill when other riders were taking a minute. Although it wasn’t a great finish, I learned a lot about road racing that day and that it’s important to not burn your matches early. Racing bikes is a heck of a lot different than running races, which is what I was used to.