Livin' the Dream

Livin' the Dream

About Me

I am a sophomore at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, majoring in journalism. My passion is cycling. I am a category 4 bike racer and my absolute dream would be to turn pro one day. My more realistic goal is to become a journalist for the sport of cycling and eventually move on to become a broadcaster for the sport.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Last Day as a Teen

Today, April 30th, is the last day of my teenage years. Tomorrow, May 1st, I turn the big 2-0. I thought since my blog has kind of gone to waste the last couple of months, I would take this time to reflect on my life as a teen. I’m not going to lie, my teenage years were kind of fun, but as I think about them, maybe I bit off a little more than I could chew with regards to one particular thing. Of course my family has had a profound impact on who I am and where I have gotten, but I thought I would focus on the people who have affected me along the way that are not family.

KICKS Karate

I am who I am today that to the guys and gals at KICKS Karate. By the time I became a teenager I had already been doing karate for 9 years, yeah I started at the age of 4. KICKS Karate helped me to learn self-discipline and mellow me out just a little. (Anybody who knows me, knows I am full of energy) KICKS Karate was also the place of my first job. I will never forget my first day of work, being on the clock and making real money. When I got home from work that night I threw up because the only thing I had during my four-hour shift was a bottle coke, which I probably drank oh too quickly because I did not have the luxury of having soda at home. I worked for KICKS Karate for three years before I moved and everybody in that company is top notch, some of the best people you will meet. Before I moved I was able to get my third degree black belt, which I am very proud of today. NEVER GIVE UP!!

Boy Scouts

I am not going to lie; being a Boy Scout is pretty fun. I will never forget all of the camping trips, staying up late by the campfire, roasting marsh mellows, and all of the other  crazy things us boys did. In Boy Scouts I met two of my best friends as a teen, Stephan and Sam. Sadly, Sam died in a car crash last year and that was one of or the worst day of life. I will never forget all of the fun times we had together. In Boy Scouts I was able to reach the top of the mountain and become an Eagle Scout. Once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout. Again, I started boy Scouts as this crazy kid that caused trouble, but was able to leave more mellowed out and more mature thanks to the great leaders my troop had. Special shout out to Mr. Marsh, I am still sorry about throwing up in your brand new Audi. For the record though I did not get any throw up in his car.


Riding my bike and the sport of cycling has been a major part of my life even before I was a teen, but when I was thirteen I began racing my bike and boy, is it just great. I am choosing to focus on the people who helped me mature in the sport though.

I have to start off with my coach Frank. I have known Frank for seven years and he has seen me progress from a little tiny kid to a not so tiny little kid. Frank has not only taught me valuable lessons about the sport of cycling, but also life lessons. He is not just my coach, but also a mentor and someone I feel like I can talk to about anything. Thank you Frank.  Next, up is Aziz. Aziz helped me to become a better racer. He helped me to learn how to move about a peloton better and ride my bike in a more straight line. He is another person that is not only a coach, but also a mentor, someone who taught me life lessons. I will never for the day I won my first race. I was 17 years old and in my fifth full season of racing. My coaches were so happy for me.

In my early years of racing, I always looked up to the fast category 1 guys and longed to be them. I would chase them around at Hains Point and always ask them all of these questions. I had a tendency to go on group rides greater then my ability. One day, I made a bad mistake on a ride called the Goon Ride and almost caused a crash. I will never forget noticing the next day that I had been called out on the regional association discussion board. I had let my coaches and my team down. The next time I showed up to that ride, one of the fastest guys in the area Chuck came up to me and gave me some encouragement. Thanks for helping me out Chuck.

I cannot talk about influential people without mentioning Andy and all of the guys over at the Miller School of Albemarle. Those guys are so much fun and just all around good dudes. The inspiration for my life motto Livin’ the Dream stems from them. I have a strong relationship with Andy today even though I only attend his cycling summer camp once. Those guys have helped me realize that riding a bike is one of the greatest things in the world.

When I moved between sophomore and junior year of high school I was able to get a summer job at The Bicycle Place. The guys at that shop are super chill. I have Mike, the owner, and his good friend Rob to thank for giving me the opportunity to travel the US working bike races and meeting top-notch pros.

Jeremy “JPOW” Powers. I think no more needs to be said. Anybody who knows me, knows what impact he has had on me.


I entered college as a teenager in the fall and am leaving a man in the spring. (Bet most of you guys laughed when I called myself a man) College is a whole new experience, you are living on your own, but mom and dad are still paying for most of your things. Still though I managed to pretty much blow through all of the money in my checking account in the first couple of months. I will not make that mistake again. In college I found some pretty cool friends in Chris, Corey, and Josh. We had some pretty fun times this spring traveling around racing our bikes.

Now that I am in college I noticed maybe I wasted some of my teenage years focusing just on cycling. I mean I wouldn’t hang out with friends on the weekend and that ended up with me not having many friends to really hang out with. When I got to my last high school years I was spending Friday nights at home in front of the TV with mom and dad instead of chilling with friends, mostly because I was never asked to hang out. Reflecting on this has made me realize I put so much time into racing my bike and guess what I am going to be a category 4 racer at the age of 20. This has made me realize life is not all about cycling. I still dream of going pro, but maybe it is time to grow up and there is more to life than just bikes.

In conclusion, do not waste your life focusing on one thing, broaden your horizons. Coming to college has made me realize maybe I am a little one-dimensional and it is time to expand my knowledge beyond cycling.

Live life cause I am always LIVIN’ the DREAM,


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