Age: 43 Sponsors: UFCW Local 99, Sivilli Capital Management, Sabino Cycles Bike of Choice: Seven Ti hardtail 29er Tire of choice: GEAX Saguaro Where did you grow up? How long have you been in Tucson? I grew up on a farm in Indiana until I was 13.  Pretty much been in Tucson ever since. When did you pick up mountain biking, what was your earliest memory of MTB? I picked up mountain biking after my car’s engine blew up.  I was a cigarette smoker who had a hybrid and thought it was a mountain bike.  I took it to the trails and soon learned it wasn’t a mountain bike when I wasn’t allowed to race it at a local event.  That is my earliest memory of mountain biking.  That would have been about 1993. What is this big event that you hold every year to raise money and belongings for those in need? That’s the Christmas Day Give-Away.  The Endurance Project is a community outreach project that I started five years ago when I wanted to show my daughter what I thought Christmas was really about.  So I work at a grocery store and I ask my co-workers and the community who shops at my store for contributions around the holidays.  I put boxes in my store and in the local bike shops that support me, and they fill up with toys, clothing, blankets, toiletries – you name it.  There are people who need anything and everything.  On Christmas morning, the Salvation Army does a free breakfast for the needy at the Tucson Convention Center.  We set up right outside so that people can choose what they need on their way to enjoy their meal. Another thing we do is collect donations of food items – a few of the vendors at my store help out with this – and we have a cook-out in a park where people in need are usually gathered.  Then we just grill up whatever is donated and have a BBQ.  We do that about once a month. What made you start it? What inspired me to start The Endurance Project was this time when a homeless man approached me in a parking lot.  I thought he was going to ask me for money, but, when I told him I didn’t have any cash to give him, he said he didn’t want any money.  What he wanted was a coat!  So I went to a thrift store and bought him a coat.  The look on his face was priceless.  I knew that was how I wanted to support the community that supports me. You attempted the triple crown (AZT, TD, CTR) last year along with Eric Foster and Forest Baker, how difficult was it, what happened on the Tour Divide? The Triple Crown attempt was brutal.  After winning the AZTR 750, I think I went into the Tour Divide with the wrong mindset.  I thought there was no way that I wouldn’t finish!  1,000 miles in my rear shifter broke.  So I set the bike up SS and continued a few days more.  I started getting knee issues since I hadn’t trained on a SS.  After riding off-course to Yellowstone to get the bike fixed, I woke up and couldn’t stand on that knee.  I took two days off, but it never really got better.  I couldn’t believe it, but I had to call it quits.  It turned out that that was probably the best thing that had ever happened.  It really showed me my limits.  It was a humbling experience that has really shifted my mindset.  Now I start each event with the number one priority being fun.  If I finish well, that’s just a bonus!  It was that mindset that led me to a top-ten finish in the CTR a month later.

What do you have in store for races this year?

This year I’m traveling to Israel to participate in the first ever Holy Land Bikepacking Challenge – 850 miles from the North to the South of Israel.  Next I’m going for another Tour Divide finish, I’d like to see the Mexican border in less than 20 days!  After that I’ll see about the Colorado Trail Race, and then I’m really hoping to be able to fund a trip to Costa Rica for La Ruta.  I know it’s a three day stage race, which isn’t usually my style, so I’m thinking I may just ride through the course.

What is your favorite bikepacking route? My favorite bike packing route…God.  For me it’s whatever one I’m on!  But I know my girlfriend Rachel would say she’s heard me tell her about a million times how much I love the 100 miles from Superior to Tucson on the AZT.  That’s the most brutal, backcountry 100+ miles in Arizona!

What is your favorite race in general?

My favorite race has to be the AZTR – but I hope I haven’t ridden my favorite yet!

What do you do other than bike?

Other than bike I love to run trails, scramble up canyons in the Catalina Mountains, I loved to paddle when I take the time to get down to Patagonia, AZ, and anything that takes me outdoors.  Oh yeah, and I stock the frozen department at Safeway 40 hours a week.

Favorite Mexican dish?

My favorite Mexican dish is a red chili chimichanga.  Just saying that made me hungry. Anything else? More and more lately, I just stop and think to myself how unbelievably lucky I am to live this life.  I am so grateful to my sponsors, family, and friends.  Without their help it wouldn’t be possible.

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  1. Pingback: To the Dead Sea on the HLC, Israel | gypsy by trade

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