I was born in Russia. My mom and step dad worked for an adoption agency that paired Russian kids with American families looking to adopt and my parents would act as interpreters. I was too young to remember a specific reason for moving to America. But the first place we lived was Arizona. I lived there for exactly one year and six days. I didn't really get settled in America until I started going to High School in New Jersey. That's when it started to feel like home. I was a swimmer at the time and spent a lot of my time in the pool training and racing. This was also around the time I picked up a camera and started taking photos. I went to the School of Visual Arts in New York City for Photography. I picked up a bike to get around the city. It was a rush. I ended up picking up a part time job as a bike messenger that then turned in to a full time job when I dropped out of school. Making a living riding my bike in New York City was an experience... On Wednesday nights some of my co-workers would head out Queens and race on the Kissena Velodrome. I wasn't very good at it. I didn't have any kind of magic touch for racing but I was stubborn and I wanted to get better. Towards the end of the season I gave road racing a try on a hand me down steel bike with 8 speeds. I wanted to keep it all going because I was hooked. I saved some money and bought a second hand cross bike from a fellow messenger. What followed was two years of living hand to mouth and spending all the money I could spare on race entries, gas, and broken equipment. I don't remember the moment when I became an athlete in my mind and quit being a bike messenger. But it was obvious that it had happened. Racing became my focus. Now I'm starting my third season with Richard and the team. I feel lucky to be able to do this. I get to race my bike, make life long memories, and have no regrets about it. But most importantly I get to do it with people who are so much more than just my teammates.