Jody is like that cool kid in high school, mere proximity to her elevates your own standing in the social pecking order. She’s friendly, outgoing and confident. Plus, she’s got a rad haircut, tattoos, a sweet nose ring and always sports a fun outfit so she stands out in a crowd. In addition to all of this she can totally crush on the bike. She usually races on a single speed and does everything from shorter distance mountain bike races to 110 mile gravel grinders. It seems like she is racing every month and always seems to find the podium.
Here is a sampling of her results from the past year:
- 2nd Place Female Single Speed, 2017 Chino Grinder 108
- 4th Place Coed Duo, 2017 6 Hours of Frog Hollow
- 2nd Place Coed Team, 2016 Fire on The Rim
- 2nd Place Female Single Speed, 2016 MBAA Series
While I am slightly jealous of how she still looks cool after hours of racing I’m most inspired by Jody’s character. Jody embodies the word advocacy better than anyone I know and I love how she uses cycling as a vehicle for advocacy.
Jody’s Instagram feed is evidence enough of the impact she has made in the lives of others. She has countless photos with other people and their smiles say everything. Jody recently shared several photos of her and her nephew riding a tandem bike. Her nephew happens to have autism and the joy in the photos was palpable and inspiring. Jody also volunteers as a mountain bike coach for one of the middle school and high school mountain bike teams in Flagstaff. At some of the races last year I got to see her giving the girls on her team shoulder massages and pep talks as they nervously waited in the staging area before their race. Her exuberant personality has a special way of putting people at ease and giving them confidence. This makes her a perfect advocate for getting more girls on bikes!
This part of Jody’s personality isn’t just set aside for cycling, she works as a professor of special education at NAU, teaching teachers how to effectively work with special needs students. She recently won two awards for her work at NAU, Teacher of the Year and the Commission on Disability and Access and Design Leadership Award. Jody also enjoys running and hiking, so she volunteers by trail running with dogs from a rescue shelter, how cool is that?!
As you can see, everything Jody does is about elevating others. Even in racing, she is always encouraging her competitors. I myself have been the beneficiary of this encouragement two years in a row at the Chino Grinder. This year when she caught up to me with 15 miles to go in the race she looked at me and said “Let’s just embrace the suck together, because this sucks!” And that is what I love about her, she doesn’t sugar coat things she just steps in and meets people where they are at. With her words and actions, she says I’m here with you and you can do this. She has done this for me both in cycling and in life.
I hope the girl that receives a bike in Jody’s honor will have a strong spirit and energetic personality like Jody. More importantly I hope that she will find friends and women that will step in and advocate for her and inspire her to be resilient and confident as she continues on in her journey of life.