What inspired you to start cycling?
I started riding fixed in November of 2012 when I finally moved out on my own right outside of downtown Jax. I was then introduced to Forward Set, which was the local cycling blog/brand in town at the time. Watching all the awesome races and tagging along at the events got me hooked. I loved the people, the atmosphere and the benefits that came along with cycling! So I purchased my first fixed gear at a local bike shop! It was a Globe Roll1 Drop. Getting used to riding fixed took a little while for me to catch on. The first day I rode it, I clipped my friends wheel and ate shit! (Still have a scar from that fall) but, everything after that was gravy. I started to commute to school and work instead of drive. And also started joining some group rides and met a bunch of awesome people! A few months down the road my car got totaled. That moment I realized I was so thankful I already had a love for cycling! So then my bike was my only mode of transportation and I didn't mind that at all.
My first few races I ever did was was Hellcat Alleycat 3 where I got 1st place girl and Burro’s 6th year Anniversary Messenger style Alleycat where I also won 1st place girl. Then I took my cycling to the next level and moved out to Los Angeles, CA with Addison Zawada and Kirk Tsonos. LA is really where my passion for cycling started to explode. Races were always happening, everyone was always riding, bikes were EVERYWHERE! Since then I've moved all over the place and explored all kinds of cycling. Over all I have to give credit to the homies from Jacksonville, Amber Hoadly, Andrew Parker and Addison Zawada for inspiring me to ride and welcoming me into the local bike scene. I wouldn’t be as passionate about cycling if it wasn’t for them, and all of my other friends who continue show their love and support! Okay I'll keep the answers short from here on ;P
What is unique about cycling in Jacksonville?
Knocking out a century here isn't as intimidating as it sounds. There is no elevation and the wind usually helps you out a lot.
What do you recommend to a cyclist who is going there?
It is FLAT here. If you want any elevation at all go ride up a parking garage or do laps over the Acosta Bridge. It's humid, everyone knows that about Florida. Riverside, Jacksonville and even some parts of St. Johns feel safe for cycling and I highly recommend AGINST riding on Blanding Blvd. Always put your phone in a plastic bag when you ride because there's a good chance you'll get rained on unexpectedly.
Tell us about your experience racing criteriums:
I haven't raced a crit in over a year now but damn were they so exhilarating! The nerves and chills you got at the start line, the amount of adrenaline that shoots through you when you take off, the taste of blood in your mouth from pushing your body to the absolute maximum, the way your brain shuts off all sound from the crowd and announcers and focuses only on the sound of your heart pumping a million beats per second. I have to say I really do miss it at times.
Best cycling moment so far? When I made it to the break with the big girls in Wolfpack Hustle's Short Line Crit a few years ago.
Favorite ride and why?
Hands down would be mountain biking and camping on Catalina Island. Why, because it's the fucking Catalina wine mixer.
You have only to believe if you wish to achieve. That rhymed. Unintentional.
What do you love about the cycling culture?
Coffee and Coffee Rides.
Is there anything you’d like to see improve in the cycling community?
Women in the Tour De France would do it for me.
I do plan to have a few more race seasons just don't know when I'll finally knuckle down and commit.
What advice do you have for women who want to get into cycling?
There is plenty of advice for women getting into cycling out there on the internet so the advice I'll give is for those women who have just recently stopped racing or is starting to taper off. I'm sharing this advice because I struggled with it greatly. Just because you are not racing anymore does not make you any less of a person. Everyone takes breaks and it's OKAY.
Keep an eye on Tori's feed:
All photos by @lalvarez30
No women in the TdF is very, very, strange and backwards. Should’ve happened long ago.