• Route: Sierra
  • Ride Year: 2021
  • Hometown: Amarillo, TX

About: When people meet me, I like to explain that I am “Branch, like a tree,” and I jut out my arm. Ironically, if I had to describe a prominent driving force in my life, I would say that a big one is environmentalism, particularly climate change. I can guarantee that I will bum you out if you let me talk about it. I know, that’s a pretty sexy talking point. I also enjoy playing guitar, reading, and listening to music.

Why I Ride

I ride because it’s crazy thing to do, because it will be formative for me as a person, and because of the stories I will have after it’s over, but mostly I ride because I get to choose to ride.

My mother survived breast cancer, but I was too young to remember much of what happened. I remember her wigs, and I also remember her lying in bed a lot. My Aunt Elizabeth passed away from colon cancer, but again I was too young to really understand. I finally understood when my Aunt Evelyn, single mother to my cousins Bruce and Annie, passed away from metastasized breast cancer in her spine that we thought she had beaten years ago.

I'm not sold on free will, but I do think we have choices (and that matters). These women chose something. My mom chose to double the length of her chemo to ensure that it never came back. My aunt chose to laugh at my dad’s jokes that Thanksgiving, just weeks before her death. She chose to fight through ten years of chemo, work full-time as a physician, and raise two children by herself all at once. I have never heard a word of self-pity from either of these women. That’s what they chose, and I want to thank them and their children for their brave choices with my choice to ride.