When I started riding bikes it was a much-needed escape from the trappings of adulthood. The facts are, youth is a construct of the mind. When you are young, you're chasing milestones. But once you hit the stride of adulthood, the banality of the daily routine sets in. It was this realization that gave me the opportunity to satisfy a deep craving.
I grew up skateboarding and loved the ability it gave me to travel far under my own power. The thing was, I couldn't see that as a sport that I could grow old into. As magical as skateboarding is, one small mistake, can be so painful. So bikes seemed like a logical, low impact transition.
I had recently discovered hiking, and when I found out I could bike the stuff I could hike, I was in. There was no arm twisting involved, I got a basic bike and started riding trails. Before I knew it, I was stuck in the vicious cycle of upgrading my bike to suit my growing skills and abilities. Not long after, I started racing cross country bikes and a few years after that, I got into Endurance racing.
One of my best friends showed me an article about John Stamstad riding the Great Divide Mountain bike Route unsupported. I was intrigued by the impossibility of going so far, for so long, under your own power, and doing everything yourself. And even though the challenge seemed out of reach, it became a dream that I wanted to achieve. I needed to prepare for such an adventure, but the ability to ride long distances, off-road, without doing laps was not a thing that existed in Florida. So I created it. And the routes I made, to prepare for the long route, became things I invited folks to try. And soon. The desire to go as fast as possible faded away, and the beauty of traveling off-road, and seeing the nature that I traversed, became the true charm.
Fast Forward to Now, I organize the longest endurance events in the southeast. I invite folks to push themselves farther than they ever considered. And I have been doing it for over a decade. No longer is the desire to do it at top speed a priority, instead, I encourage them to savor the experience and enjoy the terrain.
It didn’t take long for me to find Love in leading groups. When I first started, I didn't even realize that I was leading small group tours. I was just inviting friends for long weekend rides, on routes, I was creating, and we were camping, eating and drinking along the way. The time I spent leading these groups gave me the experience I needed to become proficient at guiding. WE would go deep into the forest to chase the sounds of thousands of singing frogs, and find those spots where we could see what an unimaginable amount of fireflies looks like. As much as I love creating ultra-endurance events, I love showing folks the nature that comes with off-road travel and sharing the secrets that the forest possesses even more.
Bike Florida was interested in doing off road tours and after seeking out routes and ideas they approached me for assistance. I was 100% open to the idea of partnering with a company that has spent so much time to share the cool things that Florida has. It seemed like a natural partnership considering we both have a deep affinity for the Sunshine State.
The fact is, CAMP is a key element of the touring experience. Good food and good drink in remote places really cap off the evening. A sip of bourbon by a hot fire, really makes you feel alive. Good coffee and bacon, creatively crafted, by folks who have literally tried to think of everything, really places an exclamation point on the experience. In short, I enjoy the adventure of sharing the magical places that most folks don’t get to see, and the wonderful encounters that a good camp can provide, it is truly what makes me passionate about Bikepacking and off-road touring.