When I was little, my parents always kept me active in sports, like
swimming and running. One day, when I was around 10 years old, I saw
cycling on TV, and said, “I want to try that.” My dad found an indoor
track nearby – a safe place to learn and see if I really liked the sport.
I fell in love with it.
A year later my parents drove the family car more than 20 hours from
Florida to Texas, where I competed as an indoor track racer at
Nationals. I wouldn’t have been there, just like I wouldn’t be where I
am today riding for Team
Novo Nordisk and USA
Cycling, without my parents’ support.
Before joining Team Novo Nordisk, I was usually the only person my
age on the track, and as far as I could tell, the only person training
with diabetes. Finding the team changed my life—having the support of
people who understand what it’s like to follow your dreams while
managing your diabetes is really special.
Even though it was helpful knowing my teammates and I had similar
stories, I struggled with sharing my own. When I was brand new to Team
Novo Nordisk, we were sharing our diagnosis stories with younger kids
who had diabetes. When it was my turn, I left the room and cried. I
remember calling my mom and saying, “I can’t do this!” I couldn’t talk
about it without crying because it brought back the same emotions I
felt, and questions I had, when I found out I had diabetes. My mom
talked me through it. She said, “You’re in a position to inspire
people and race your bike.” She lifted me back up, and I went back
into the room and shared my story. Her words continue to give me the
courage to share my story today.
I’m a little bit of both of my parents – compassionate like my mom,
and realistic like my dad. Both sides come out when I’m mentoring
young riders, especially a girl I call my “Mini-Me.” She’s a talented
racer and gets great results, but she’s really hard on herself, which
I can totally relate to. Her dad asked me what interests and goals she
should focus on as a young athlete. I said, “Let her fly.” My dad
could have pressured me to be any type of athlete. But he saw how I
fell in love with cycling. My parents let me be me. Hers are
understanding and supportive, and as long as they have her back,
she’ll figure it out.
Someday I want to look back on my career and say that I gave it my
all. Family is important to me, and as I’ve moved up in the cycling
world, I’ve had to sacrifice being close to them to train—even on
holidays. I may not always tell my parents every little thing, but
they know I appreciate them so much.
In a way, being on Team Novo Nordisk feels like I have an even
bigger family now. And I’m comfortable enough to put my feelings out
there and let my parents, and my team, know that I love them and I’m thankful.