Arapahoe, Ute, Cheyenne Lands (Golden, CO)
Gravel, XC, Bikepacking
What sparked your interest in cycling? What do you enjoy most about it?
I've been commuting by bike since I was a teenager. It was my primary form of transportation up until a couple of years ago. Commuting really sparked my interest in cycling, especially when I lived in a more rural landscape with lots of gravel roads. I was amazed at how I could ride to the next town over and beyond.
What have been some of the highlights of your work as an outdoor educator and advocate?
My most memorable highlights to date are the times when the young people I'm leading outdoors make the connection with the natural world that shapes their perspective and outlook. For example, I've seen this happen during a bikepacking trip where a student goes, "Woah, I get this! The outdoors is amazing!"
Other highlights include leading 14-day mountaineering courses in the Elk Mountain Range of Colorado (Ute & Mountain Ute Lands), riding the Great Divide & Baja Divide, and organizing an all-Black bikepacking trip with The Black Foxes.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lifetime?
I think everyone should spend a night outside by themselves at least once in their lifetime. Any time spent with just you and nature is priceless and long-lasting; to do so overnight and under the stars is unforgettable.
What led you to your work as an outdoor educator?
As a young person I was always fascinated with the natural world but I had limited access to what I could do outside. I came out to Colorado to be a summer camp counselor one year in college and I thrived. The role suited me so well! So when I moved to Colorado as a young person, I naturally gravitated to the role of an outdoor educator. Since then I’ve made it my mission to help people develop their relationship to the natural world.
It's a Saturday morning and the weather is perfect. What are you eating for breakfast and what comes next?
Saturday morning, it's around sunrise and I’m eating a bowl of granola cereal with lots of fruit and nut butter. My gravel bike is packed for an 8-hour ride through the foothills of Tava (Pikes Peak) and I'm gulping down a coffee. I’m really trying to hit the road before the sun crests the horizon.
You combine all sorts of outdoor pursuits into single trips. What's one memorable multi-sport trip of yours?
Oh, that's so hard to choose! One of my most memorable multisport trips was in 2020 when I invited a small group of friends to bikepack and climb in the South Platte region of CO (Ute Lands). We documented the trip with photos and video, and the b-roll and behind-the-scenes footage is hilarious! That was definitely a top favorite multi-sport adventure!
What feat on the bike are you most proud of?
My ride of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is what I'm most proud of. My first night camping outside of Banff was my 2nd time actually bikepacking! I really jumped into bikepacking and ended up LOVING it! In fact, I finished the ride by riding right up to my house in Florissant, CO, after completing 1,800 miles of the route.
Many people may know you as a member of The Black Foxes. How did that collaboration come about?
The Black Foxes is a collective of Black cyclists and outdoors people committed to advocating for and celebrating Black people and culture in cycling and the outdoors. We came together over the course of a year and formulated a Manifesto that we felt spoke to who we are and what we want to see in the outdoors and cycling. In just under a year, we’ve been able to help foster a sense of normalcy and community for Black people and culture within the cycling industry.
You mentor aspiring young cyclists. Is there anything you notice as a common thread in these young people who want to start riding or improve their skills?
Yea! Something I see a lot of is young people experiencing those light-bulb moments after trying something new. It happens either in a moment of failure or success, like when they get over an obstacle or take a fall and immediately see what the trick is. It's so rewarding to witness those moments of growth and wonder that shape their perspectives.
Are there any organizations that you would like to shout out?
Yes! First and foremost The Black Foxes! TBF are my ride-or-die kind of family and friends, I don't know what I'd do without them! Shoutout to Outdoor Afro - Colorado for providing a sense of community for me in such an important time in my life! Lastly, shoutout to the Colorado Outdoor Education Center for helping me build my foundation in terms of my Sense of Self, Community, Earth, and Wonder.
Any achievements you'd like us to mention (personal, professional...anything you’re proud of!)
- I rode the Great Divide and Baja Divide in 2017-2018.
- I began an affinity group for Black, Indigenous, People of Color in the sport of climbing in the Denver/Boulder region of Colorado, "Melanin Climbers of Colorado" that has now grown into "Cruxing in Color."
- I joined The Black Foxes in 2020, a collective of Black cyclists and outdoors people committed to increasing representation and advocating for Black people in the outdoors.
- I helped organize an all-Black bikepacking trip with The Black Foxes.