Age: 36 | Vitals: 5’8”, 160 lbs. | Moustache: Cop/Slovenly Fireman
Years riding: About 15 years XC/trail riding; 10 years DH; 7 years dirtjumping; raced bmx as a kid.
Current Residence: Lake Tahoe, California
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, I developed an early appreciation for going fast and jumping on two wheels through racing BMX. The sport was going through a bit of a growth spurt, and I was fortunate enough to have three tracks in town to which my parents were willing to drive most weekends.
For several years I raced locally and nationally, and got a few state and national rankings under my belt. But more importantly, I laid a foundation for what would later become an adult obsession: hauling ass and taking chances on narrow strips of dirt in the woods.
I loved riding bikes as a kid, but the competition aspect began to wear on me. Eventually I discovered skateboarding, and found that I could remove skin and concuss myself till I spoke in tongues, and the only measure of success was the amount of fun I had.
Outside of academics and girls, my entire junior and senior high school development consisted of second residencies at skateparks, and doing anything and everything possible to learn new tricks on a plank of wood bolted to some wheels.
A brief stint in northern Maryland in junior high opened up the newly developing world of snowboarding to me, and provided a third way to move through the outdoors while standing sideways (can’t live in a beach state without surfing, obviously).
An ongoing disagreement with the Georgia and Florida highway patrol forces about the velocity at which I should be able to drive my car between Georgia Tech and friends in Florida resulted in a mandatory bicycle purchase while a license suspension played out. This was my first mountain bike. I wasn’t in the best locale, but it’s where I discovered the thrills and serenity of smashing big wheels over roots and rocks by myself in the woods.
This period in college is also where I got a job as a bike mechanic and began understanding just how the tools used in this pursuit all go together (and fall apart). The relatively safe – and yes, flat – rural roads outside of Gainesville, Florida where I went to grad school also lent themselves to a pretty serious road bike phase, but the spandex is too painful a subject so we’ll just leave that where it sits.
My entire life in sports – snowboarding, bikes, skateboarding, and surfing – always pointed west. That’s where the media was, that’s where the big names were, and, let’s be honest, it’s hard to take these pursuits seriously in Florida. So away I went, and Lake Tahoe is where I landed. I needed infrastructure and Tahoe delivers. The roads here are dangerous, so in the name of safety, I sold the road bike and began downhill mountain biking early on.
The sport has continued to evolve since my humble beginnings and my interest in bikes, and the ways to ride them, tweak them and generally just enjoy all that they provide has grown along with it. I do what I can these days to split time between trail riding, shuttling, or throwing big bikes on a chairlift. I’m also forever looking to create the greatest ‘hold my beer, watch this’ moments at the dirtjumps. I lost the desire to compete years ago, but will always be looking for ways to ride bikes better and faster.
My ultimate rides these days – regardless of the genre – are runs where brakes are used at a minimum. It’s the search for smooth and fast lines, where the only thing that determines whether or not the hydraulic stoppers get touched is fear. My priority will always be the descent, but I never completely discount the need for a little work to reach those magic, gravity-fueled moments.
Some favorite equipment:
Turner and Specialized frames, Shimano brakes, Sram shifing bits, Maxxis tires, Dynafit bindings, and newer Polaris sleds (yes, I stay in Tahoe for the winter).