I was born Alaska, and lived there until I was 12. I was born with a posteromedial bow of the tibia and a calcaneal valgus foot. Basically from below the knee, my right leg was sort of bent and twisted. I learned to adapt as an infant and my leg was never a deterrent. At the age of four, I had a wedge of bone removed to complete the natural straightening that had occurred with my tibia. The straightening of my tibia left my right leg a few inches shorter than my left.
I grew up doing “normal” kid things. I ran 5K races, I played baseball, I raced a mountain bike. By the age of nine, I knew I wanted to be a professional cyclist, whether mountain or road, it didn’t matter. I was transitioning into road racing just before surgery was scheduled to break my right tibia, attach a “stretcher” device which would be turned by the screw sticking out of my leg over the next several months to eliminate the length discrepancy. Before surgery, my parents surprised me with a new road bike, something to look forward to riding with “equal” legs. I never got to ride that bike, however, since surgery didn’t go quite as planned.
Complications from the surgery required our family to move to New York to be near relatives and the doctor who would “save” my leg. I spent the next several years on crutches and endured multiple procedures and surgeries to try to correct the complications. I had to re-learn how to walk. In the end, I’m left with the muscle atrophy, bone-on-bone at the ankle, low ankle flexion, low bone density, knee pain, hip pain, foot pain, scarring, and my legs are still off about an inch or so.
I lettered in high school for swimming and bowling. I took up rowing, which led to a full scholarship to University of Central Florida. I rowed on the A boat for two years until I developed knee pain because of the difference in my leg length. I moved to Tampa with my parents and live next to some great bike trails. Using Speedplay pedals and shims, my dad built up my right cleat so my legs could be almost equal, which alleviated much of my knee pain. I began training consistently in the fall of 2010, began racing in 2011, raced my first UCI para-cycling event in 2013 (winning the road race), and became a member of the US Paralympic Cycling national A team by the end of 2013. Since then, I’ve placed third in the time trial at the World Championships in 2013 and 2014, won the road race at the 2015 ParaPan American Games and placed second in the 3K individual pursuit on the track. Of the four world cups I have had the opportunity to be apart of, I have gotten one bronze medal, four silver medals and one gold medal. I am currently the U.S. National Para Cycling Champion in the time trial, road race and crit.