As a late teen my attention began to focus on speed-sports and also initiated my fascination with bicycle mechanics. After working in a wood shop the summer of my 16th birthday, I hit the big time in my own mind by landing a job at Goodales Bike and Ski in Nashua, NH. My position at Goodales developed from sweeping floors and emptying trash, to prepping bikes for repair, to assembling "boxed" bikes and ultimately evaluating incoming repairs and quoting to customers on the spot repair estimates and details. This was a learning process of over three years. Also by my third year I was building all my own race wheels and would not let any one go near my race bikes. Some things never change!
The results board. "Oh gee that's neat. I won."
That time saw me morph from a high school punk on academic and behavioral probation to the captain of the varsity ski team. An accomplishment to this day I am very proud of as I did not even make the selection for Ski Team as a freshman.
The end of my high school junior year also saw me racing mountain bikes. I found sucess immediately.
That's my dog Abby greeting me after winning at Sunapee, NH.
With High School behind me...
... my trainer Adam Nisson and I developed a plan to peak for the Mt. Snow Junior World Cup scheduled for June '97. I would then hang up the mountain bike and focus my attention to the Killington Stage Race coming some three months later. At this point I had a set training program, a strict diet and a one track mind: -Make It Big-.
As you can see the first part of the plan was a sucess. I came from relatively out of nowhere to show up all but one of the top juniors in North America at Mount Snow.
... yet so far away.
At the then prestigious Killington Stage Race I time trialed into 2nd Overall going into the last stage but tactics shuffled the GC and I ulitmately reliquished my spot on the podium. Regardless that ride put me on the radar of the folks at USA Cycling. Watts are watts. As you will see later, that was not the last Killington saw of me.
PS: that's me on the far left next with Will Friskhorn (on my right in the orange sprint jersey).
Part 3 will feature me coming out of High School and going straight to the league. This was perhaps the most magical time in my racing career as I staked claim as being one of the best U-23s in the world all within the span of one year.