How old are you? A sprightly 23 years young!
Where are you from? Tampa, FL. Affectionately referred to as the (Great-One-Three) due to its 813 area code in the Funshine State.
What was your first cycling memory? There’s a video of me as a 6 or 7 year old swerving so hard on the sidewalk that it looks like I’m going through an invisible slalom course with a big ol’ toothless grin on my face at the end. It’s pretty entertaining!
How has cycling affected your life? Cycling has taught me firsthand about People Power and all of the aspects of that idea. It’s made me want to live a life where my daily commutes are happily accomplished with nothing more than my trusty steed and my two feet. It’s also introduced me to lifelong friends and given me new perspective of the incredible beauty of our world.
Tell us about your first long adventure on a bike? As for most of the K2F team, we fell in love with touring through the non-profit Bike and Build. We volunteered weekly with affordable housing affiliates while biking from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It was the best summer of my life to date! Keys to Freeze will definitely be a different animal due to the greatly reduced size of the team and the fact that it’s completely unsupported, but the stoke meter is still on full blast.
Any other particular adventures and experiences, bike or non bike related, that will help you for this expedition? This past summer I watched Reese eat, on two separate occasions, 42 hard boiled eggs (one for each mile of the ride that day) and 5 pounds of Bush’s baked beans. I think witnessing him pushing the limits of human performance in relation to food challenges will give me all the inspiration I’ll need to make it to Alaska.
What about the Keys to Freeze trip are you most excited about? Ah, where to start? The people you meet on the road are just absolutely wonderful. On the tour this past summer, I was blown away by the incredible hospitality and generosity we were shown by our hosts. Each new family or church we encountered not only filled my stomach, but my spirit as well. It reaffirmed my faith in humanity time after time and I’m really excited to be able to connect with a vast variety of North Americans.
Each town you go through will create a different impression, what are you most looking forward about visiting these towns along the way? Seeing how everyday folks live in different parts of the country is a truly enlightening experience. I’m so stoked to have 6 months to dedicate to these interactions. On a less serious note: this past summer, Reese and I saw the largest fake cow in the country (adoringly known as the Cowlossus), stood in the geographic center of North America, and climbed atop the 25 foot penguin that marks the ‘coldest spot in the nation’ (which, interestingly enough, was a face-melting 92 degrees at the time). There are so many more of these sweet landmarks to be discovered.
What region are you most excited to ride through? The Yukon, baby! The path to the Last Frontier…whoa.
What do you expect it will be like traveling everyday with the same group of 5? Insane amounts of fun lightly peppered with small stresses and frustrations. The K2F team is full of wonderful human beings that I couldn’t be more pumped about spending 6 months with.
What is one thing that the others don’t know about you, but will by the time the trip is over? Gut-wrenching body odor. Like the seep-through-your-tent-walls-at-night bad. Kidding! Mostly.
What do you envision your sleeping situations to be like throughout the trip? It’s kind of funny, actually. There are two couples on the team and then Reese and I…so if all goes according to plan, we’ll probably be cuddling up for 6 months.
Are you using racks, bikepacking bags or both? Why? Both! I think it makes for better weight distribution, which in turn leads to a happier bike.
There will be a film about your journey. Watching the experience will be fun for your followers. Do you anticipate this will take away from the experience, or benefit it? I think it’s going to be awesome to have something at the end of the trip that we can use to spread the message of sustainability and environmental preservation, but I realize that there will be times where we’ll be pressed to get certain kinds of footage, the right lighting, etc. I’m personally not big into social media, but we’re aiming to use it in a way that will engage our audience and hopefully get them excited about a cause we’re 100% in support of.
Any shoutouts you would like to give? Definitely owe a huge shout-out to my parents and family, who have unrelentingly supported me in all my endeavors. I also want to thank our donors for making this trip possible, my Bike and Build team for an unforgettable summer, and my UF TRiP friends for making me who I am today. Happy biking, y’all!