Hey Sarah! Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Albuquerque, NM and though I spent a lot of my youth outdoors it looked a bit different. I played soccer, swam on swim team, ran track, basically did all of the sports I could. I’d never backpacked, hiked or camped extensively before I moved to Colorado for college. That’s where I found all of the mountain sports and tried them all, ultimately where I fell in love with being outdoors. My parents were supportive of the things I was interested in which I’m so grateful for, and in a lot of ways I’m so thankful I didn’t have an interest in cycling until I moved away. I think I needed to explore those things on my own as a college kid. Now I’ve gotten to show my parents the beauty of the mountains.
How has your relationship with the outdoors evolved since you were younger?
When I was younger I always saw the outdoors as the thing that people did in magazines or documentaries. I was interested in the things you could do outdoors but from afar, a fangirl of mountains if you will. When I moved to Southwest Colorado when I was 18 it changed everything. I went camping, backpacking, climbing, skiing and even mountain biking. I was intimidated by how much there was to know about everything but motivated to learn. The San Juan mountains, my backyard 15 years later, still amaze me. Though I have acquired more skills and nicer gear I have kept that same curiosity and respect for the vast outdoors but with a stronger, and more pressing desire to protect it.
Cycling has obviously become a big part of your life. Where did that story begin?
Cycling became part of my life when I joined my collegiate cycling team at Fort Lewis College. I found my social group, I found an accessible way to learn about the natural world around me and I found a new outlet for my competitive and driven energy. It was in those formative years where I discovered my love for the sport of cycling, it slowly became my focus even out of college. Though I had a career as a graphic designer between college and turning pro, I found my love for riding a bike never really faded.
Why Cycling? What is it about the sport that drew you in?
I think I have stuck with cycling longer than anything else in my life because it continues to evolve and change, at least in my life, in ways that other sports never did for me. It’s something that I can do with old friends, I meet new ones, I get to see new places or visit familiar ones. I can be competitive or regain mental clarity. It can be social when I need that, it can be isolating when I need space. I can push myself or just get outside to move. Cycling has been the way I’ve traveled, be it on a bike or to go ride somewhere new. Cycling has been the driving force behind so much of my life, it’s been a vessel of growth albeit a creator of stress, it’s never ending. I’ve even found a creative outlet within the sport, from kit design to bike and helmets. The first pro team I signed with was inspired by a small design based kit company in Chicago (Ten Speed Hero) who worked with a female artist to create the custom artwork for the team. As I continue in the sport, I’m evolving and changing as a person and I keep finding ways to incorporate cycling into that metamorphosis.
What is your motivation to ride today? What do you look for every time you head?
My motivation wavers between two things. Sometimes I’m motivated by an upcoming race or event that gets me out the door and planning big routes to fulfill the training. Other times the motivation comes from experiencing something new. Sometimes that’s riding with new people, a new place, a new challenge, a new route, a new workout or even a new bike!
What’s next for you?
Looking into the 2023 season and beyond I have goals that fit into each timeline. My main goal this year was to choose one extra curricular race (outside of the Lifetime Grand Prix) that was exciting to me. I’ll be racing further than I’ve ever raced, 360k in the backroads of Spain. My goal was to try something that was intimidating in a different way. I’m also looking at getting another top 3 at the LTGP! A longer goal I have is to bring more people from all over the place into the sport. The barrier to entry is quite high in a gear intensive sport like cycling, so I’d like to do my part to equalize that entry.
Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for those looking to break into the space?
My best advice is to figure out what excites you first, is it a race? Is it a social connection? Is it a personal challenge? Whatever it is that makes you a little nervous and excited, roll with it and take it one day at a time! Everyone at every level has had to learn this sport, it’s all about striking a balance between doing things that challenge you but are achievable too. People tend to bite off more than they can chew when they’re starting out and it can easily switch the experience from being motivating and fun to just demoralizing. Set yourself up for success!
Anything that has been passed on to you that you found helpful that you’d want to share?
Look where you want to go. Literally and figuratively! It’s that simple!
What’s one thing about yourself that people might find surprising?
I love being alone.
What’s your favorite food?
I can CRUSH some Mac n’ Cheese. I love it. Any form, fancy, from a box, homemade, if it’s pasta and cheese I love it.
What are your go-to pump up jams?
Ooo, honestly, I love heavy metal. Anything with a lot of screaming and a double bass really gets me pumped up!
Do you have a favorite Osprey product?
My go-to pack for any distance MTB or Gravel race is the Dyna 1.5, it holds my snacks in an easy to reach spot up front, keeps my jersey pockets for extra layers, and holds just enough water. I also love that the pack doesn’t move around and I can wear it in hot temps, crucial details in any endurance event.
The Savu 2 is another fave! I love to get a short ride or hike in with my dog, Norman, this pack is perfect. I can carry water for him and keep things simple. I keep it packed and ready for when I get home from my training rides so he can hit the trail as soon as possible. Lucky dog!