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Being thankful

Thank you Giant. Thank you Mavic. Thank you Amber Neben

Thank you Giant. Thank you Mavic. Thank you Amber Neben (Image credit: USWCDP)

As I was driving across the country towards my new home, I realized I had taken the plunge, I had committed to becoming a full time cyclist. Just two years ago I found the passion for cycling like so many others and things have progressed so rapidly, it is amazing to look back on my experiences thus far.

I met Michael Engleman, director of the USWCDP, last May at the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic and that is when the ball started rolling fast. I kept in touch with him throughout the rest of the season and by Thanksgiving I was on a plane to Dolores, CO. Mike said, "Just come out and ride your bike." That is when I had the opportunity to ride with Kristen McGrath as well as Missy Erikson, two wonderful and skilled cyclists!

Fast forward to Spring time and I found myself a guest rider of Team Nurenburger riding for Amber Neben at Redlands Bicycle Classic. It became a reality, this is what I want to do full time, I want to give it a chance. I was so close to a professional career in soccer after a successful collegiate career at Mississippi State and now I have the opportunity again in a completely different sport, who wouldn't give it a shot?!

It is amazing how in such a small time I've had the opportunity, thanks to the USWCDP, to talk to and ride with Kristen McGrath, Missy Erikson, Anne Guzeman, Hillary Billington, Amber Neben and her teammates, Tina Pic and I'm now at Tour of Gila and had dinner with Kristen Armstrong. It is a wonderful cycling world and I have thrown myself into it full force.

It has been amazing, all the useful information I've received from all these professionals who've had the experiences and are willing to share them with me! Each individual rider has her own outlook on how to do things, and to be let in on some of their racing memories and how they handled it is so interesting!

I've also had the opportunity to meet those behind the scenes as well. These individuals play such a crucial role in making the races happen and keeping all the riders safe by letting them focus on what they need to do on the bike. Chris Davidson is the mechanic for Team Type 1 and he is so good at what he does, he is positive and always there with a smile. Lisa Hunt is another one that is always there with a smile, she is the director for Value Act and she has a bunch of great gals on the team.

The cycling community as a whole has been so much fun to join, from ProBike, my first team, and all my teammates that gave me useful knowledge along the way, to Jim Phyfer, a Mississippian supporter who believes in my talent, and Debbie Milne, a wheel that I've enjoyed following, to my current team Absolute Racing for continuing support even across the country. I'm so thankful for being talked into riding a bike, joining group rides, for giving racing a chance and for those that believe this is just the beginning.

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Follow the program's young female cyclists as they embark on their journey to the top of the pro ranks

The US Women's Cycling Development program was founded by former pro rider, Michael Engleman, as a way to help promising young women cyclists reach their full potential as athletes.

The dedicated and well spoken women of this program provide thoughtful, compelling and sometimes hilarious anecdotes of their experiences in this diary. For further reading about the program, visit the USWCDP website.