We began our competitive sporting careers together in middle school competing across the west in alpine ski racing for the Eldora Mountain Ski Club and Summit Race Team. It was in this environment of elite alpine ski competition that we learned how to be athletes, how to train smart, how to believe in ourselves, and most importantly this is where we grew to become the best of friends.
With dreams of Olympic skiing medals, we threw down in the weight room, carried rocks while running up mountains, and skied every day after school bashing gates at Eldora. Even though we never obtained these dreams, our coaches, most significantly Susan and Brian White, both former world class athletes themselves, gave us the skills we would need to someday become elite level cyclists. Brian got us into cycling as an off-season sport to stay in shape for skiing, and without much training or any seriousness to it we both excelled right away. Soon we realized our potential lay in cycling, and upon graduating high school we left the gravity sport of ski racing to punish ourselves riding bikes up the hills instead. We don’t ski race anymore, but being the best skier on the mountain is a skill we will have the rest of our lives. It helps to have that background when descending an alpine pass at 65mph in the rain!
We quickly rose through the ranks of cycling, creating our own teams along the way, riding under the Eldora Mtn. Ski Club, Vecchio’s Bike Shop, and in 2003, Duane Duggan ReMax-Paketa Cycles, helping us out at a critical point in our careers. We believed we had the ability to succeed in cycling, but nobody knew who we were yet. Through the support of this team, we traveled the country to NRC races in Timmy’s parent’s minivan, which we successfully ran into the ground, sleeping in the back and driving through the night. One night a bear even ate all our food! It was rough, but it made us both stronger. We trained and raced hard by day and delivered pizzas by night to fund our mission, and some good results that year found us a spot on Jonathan Vaughter’s TIAA-CREF team, which is where we are today. The support from Jonathan and TIAA-CREF was truly incredible, and we now have every opportunity to blow the doors off the world of cycling!
Our TIAA-CREF team grew each year and morphed into Slipstream-Chipotle. The variety of races we could do with a bigger team combined with our contrasting riding styles meant we didn’t race together as much as we would have liked, but we both had succesful seasons. For 2008, Ian will be riding for Team Type 1, racing the USA Pro Cycling Tour as well as select major races in South America and Asia. Timmy will again be riding for Slipstream-Chipotle on the European circuit. Hopefully soon we will join up again on the same team!
Reflecting on our path through sport made us realize what wonderful opportunities we had growing up and how much the experiences and mentors we had in skiing and cycling shaped our lives for the better. We wanted a way that we could give back and help other kids to have similar experiences and mentorships. So, we formed the Just Go Harder Foundation to help raise money for kids who couldnt otherwise afford the opportunity to be a part of the skiing and cycling clubs that have meant so much to us growing up.
Our biggest strength both as cyclists and as people is our ability to function as a team. We believe success in the sport of cycling is built upon thousands of hours of hard work and experiences, and at the end of the day, only those willing to make the necessary sacrifices will come out on top. We both draw on successful careers as elite, national level alpine ski racers, and can transfer what we’ve learned to cycling. By working together both on and off the bike we can make larger sacrifices and achieve far greater goals than either of us by ourselves. We share each other’s successes and failures, draw confidence from each other, and strengthen our individual weaknesses as we work together. This kind of teamwork is perhaps the most important aspect of the sport of cycling. We have found that having a supporting group of people around you, including coaches, managers, teammates, and parents, can make all the difference in the world for our confidence and training quality, helping us in our quest to become champions on and off the bike.