RM3: Tell us a little about you?
I am a 38 year old Army Veteran. I was serving on active duty as a Field Artillery Soldier at Fort Sill, OK when I began losing my central vision due to a rare eye disease known as Stargardts disease. I have lost 100 percent of my central vision and am now visually -impaired, legally blind.
In 2004 I lost my driving privileges due to my visual impairment and that sent me down a road of unhealthy coping mechanisms as I dived deep into alcohol abuse.
First my military career, my ability to recognize faces and now my driving privileges.
Just after I graduated in 2008 from Kent State University, I discovered Paralympic Cycling and so the journey began.
I have competed in the U.S. Paralympic Cycling Division since 2009 with my fully-sighted teammates, on a tandem bicycle. My teammates and I have represented Team USA in 3 UcI Para-cycling Track World Championships. 2012-16-17. Winning a Bronze medal in 2017.
In sum, Stargardts Disease may have robbed me of a lot but through training and racing the tandem bicycle we fight back and build a healthy lifestyle.
R5-PARA Racing with teammate Stephen Pedone, is currently a National Team athlete for U.S. Paralympic Cycling with our sights set on the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
RM3: Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Charlotte but I now live in Mooresville.
When did you first start Cycling?
8 years old
Began racing in 2010
RM3: What is your favorite ride ever (and Why)?
Mt Lemmon Descent with teammate Stephen Pedone (Tucson, aAZ)
Because we averaged 42mph for over 30min and I like to go fast:)
Mot importantly, I could never take a descent like this on a standard bike due to my visual impairment but on the tandem, we redefine the limits and defeat Stargardts!
RM3: Are you on Strava?
Yes. as R5-PARA Racing
RM3: What do you find to be the most fun about riding?
It gives meaning to my life despite difficult circumstances.
Most importantly, it serves as the ultimate healthy coping mechanism, as opposed to alcohol, that I use to fight the daily battle with vision loss and disability.
Training and racing make it possible that I maintain a healthy human component with respect to the psycho-socio-emotio structures with-in the self.
The bike keeps me right!
RM3: Do you do a lot of charity events?
I try to participate in as many as possible but would like to do more.
I am very interested in building my own to benefit a local blind association, perhaps the Metrolina association for the Blind MAB, located in Charlotte.
RM3: When not riding what is your favorite thing to do?
drink coffee and watch Neil Tyson youTube videos.
RM3: When it comes to cycling tell us 3 things on your bucket list.
1) 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games
2) UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup/World Championships
3) Ride Across america
What do you most look forward to at RM3?
Spending time with good friends, holding down the hammer, and raising money for a wonderful cause.
Oh and drinking coffee post ride :)