Susquehannock Lands (State College, PA)
BMX Freestyle, Gravel, MTB, Road
What sparked your interest in cycling? What do you enjoy most about it?
The freedom that two wheels brought to me in those early years has always stuck with me. The opportunity to be independent and to be able to express my creativity through bikes is what has captured my heart for all these years.
You're a BMX legend but you’ve been riding a lot of gravel lately. What led you to branch out?
I was always an avid road and MTB rider, and when introduced to gravel riding, I just found it to be the perfect blend of the two genres I was already passionate about. Gravel riding has given me an opportunity to further explore a whole new perspective of the area I live in and the evolving community within bicycling.
Tell us about your most memorable riding experience.
I have many great experiences from BMX over the years, especially at the X Games and Dew Tour riding Vert. However, Unbound 2021 was a huge lesson in my life for many reasons. It showed me what I was physically capable of and how far I was willing to go to reach my goal and the finish line. It was going to be a hard race even without mistakes, and when the mistakes came, the cost was huge. Overcoming them and pushing on are the true victory stories from many a person on that day, myself included. I used many of those moments as motivation and lessons for the Tokyo Olympics and for my athletes.
You just coached the Great Britain BMX team to two Olympic medals in Tokyo. How did that feel?
It was a great feeling to take two riders all the way to Gold and Bronze in Japan. I spent two months in the UK with them and worked hard every day on everything from the riding to the mental aspects of competition. It was always going to be the finer details that would separate us in competition, and preparing the riders for this was vital to the success and ambitions we had. I gave 100% to the goal and the end result was nothing short of spectacular for myself, the riders, the team, the world, and BMX Freestyle as a sport.
How do the challenges of coaching compare to the challenges of riding?
Coaching is about being able to relate to the individual on a physical and emotional level so that they hear your message loud and clear. Much like with riding, you're relating to the terrain and the actions you're performing. Coaching is a relationship you form with the athlete, and the athlete has to be coachable and has to trust the coaching process and the vision. If there is no synergy or trust, the investment required becomes a challenge beyond the riding requirements.
Any achievements you’d like us to mention (personal, professional...anything you’re proud of!)
- I am proud of taking two individuals whom everyone overlooked and turning them into Olympic champions. That was a fantastic achievement as a first-time coach!
- I'm also happy that my tires never went flat at any event I've ridden, especially Unbound. God bless those Cannonballs!
Are there any organizations that you would like to shout out?
A huge shout out to my sponsors: Monster Energy, Toyota, Teravail, Pinarello, Stans No Tubes, Kogel Bearings, Standard Bikes, Profile Racing, Rothrock Coffee, The Bicycle Shop State College, and Woodward Camp.
Also, a big shout out to anyone that took a chance on running an event last year. The challenges were hard, but they found a way within the parameters set forth and brought a lot of people together to do the thing they enjoy the most: riding bikes. Kudos to you!