My story

I grew up in Germany and left after high school with a full Volleyball scholarship to the United States. My first year at university was anything else than what I expected from America. I went to a historical black university in South Carolina. Being a minority has taught me a lot of big lessons what life is really about. After a year I moved to Rhode Island and then pursued a Masters of International Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

While studying and later working at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, I exchanged the Volleyball first for running shoes, then adventure racing and finally a bike.

The nature of cycling– discovery, competition and community – made me fall in love immediately. Within a year I raced Elite and wanted to see how far I can go and raced a few professional races in Europe.

While pursuing an additional degree in sport, I moved to Minnesota and discovered gravel racing which was cycling on steroids for me: The physical and mental challenge, the discovery of new, wild places, the adventure, the down-to-earth camaraderie.

As I was afraid of making cycling to my job, I decided to get a secure, stable job in the corporate world with a predictable future. I moved to Zurich, Switzerland to work as a management consultant for one of the largest IT companies and moved then with the job to Australia.

But the longer I spent working in this job I wasn’t really passionate about, the less enthusiasm and energy I had for work, for family and even for cycling. I felt so alive on the bike discovering new places, pushing my limits and being surrounded by like-minded people. What happened to that energy?

I realized that something had to change. My energy was draining and I couldn’t wait until retirement. That “something” meant for me making a drastic move: Quitting the job and creating my own path.

It was scary. I would be leaving the security of the job and the predictability of my career while starting something I didnt even know how to call it.

I tried to get some perspective and asked myself: When I am 90 years old, what life story do I want to tell and what would I regret of not having done?

So I quit my job and moved to Spain.

It was a bold move, not knowing what lies on the other side of this drastic decision, not knowing the future.

Months later I can say that it has been the most rewarding move in my life. I am now pursuing my passion for adventure cycling – riding, writing, talking and breathing it. No words can describe how much richer, fulfilled and happier my life feels now.

There is just no substitute to living the dream.

But I also know how difficult it is to make that move to pursue a passion. That is why I am here.

With my #NoSubstitute philosophy my mission is to empower others to go out and explore, to take risks, to be themselves and to live their life to the fullest.

Because there is absolutely no substitute for the time of our lives!

Yours,

(RAD) Monika

#NoSubstitute