AFBP: Tell us a little bit about growing up in Northern New Mexico?Macky
: I grew up in Taos, spending a lot of time outdoors because that's what kids do in Taos. Skiing, mountain biking, and playing soccer. Also, Taos is kind of this oddball community of people who "do their own thing.
" It's not the kind of place where people pressure their kids into being investment bankers. It's more of a "follow your passion
" kind of place, whether your passion is mountain biking or building Earth Ships. I went to high school in Angel Fire so I have a lot of history there, with the bike park and the riding in the area. I would go up to the resort to ride after school -- the lifts would be closed, so it was all pedal up to go down. I did my first ever race in Angel Fire. It's been amazing to see the park grow into what it is today.
AFBP: At what point did you realize that you were going to pursue a career as a professional mountain biker? Macky
Macky on Upper Chillin' at Angel Fire Bike Park
: I went to Middlebury College in Vermont and got a computer science degree. I raced pro cross country while I was in college, but I didn't think much about doing it as a career. Then my senior year when most of my friends were applying to work at places like Google and IBM, I realized that I had pretty much zero interest in spending my life programming. There's just no way I would have been happy doing that. I needed to do something different so I decided to go all in and see if I could make it work. I moved back in with my parents, did freelance web design to pay the bills and started racing and training full time. As I have been able to support myself more and more through sponsorship I've dropped the web design, but I know it's something I can always come back to if I need to. I've learned how to make things work on a very slim budget (I live in a van now), and that's really allowed me to build up a career. AFBP: This video is about movement -- why did you decide to focus on that? Macky
: I'm a very physical person. I like to move, and I'm a better, happier person when I'm moving. If I sit behind a computer or a desk for too long, I get grumpy, I'm not my best self. I feel really lucky to have been able to have a career as a professional athlete. It's definitely the right thing for me to be doing. I get to spend a lot of time training, riding my bike, being outside -- moving. Training is a huge part of my life, but it's more than that. Racing mountain bikes, there's always room for improvement, so I feel like I'm always moving forward, growing my skill set, becoming a better rider. I always have something to work towards, so it's movement in that sense as well as the physical. I also get to travel a lot for racing, both domestically, in my van, and internationally.
AFBP: How does #vanlife play into all this? Macky:
Training in Nevados de Chillan, Chile
I've had a lot of people tell me that it's easy to get stuck -- in a place, in a job, weighed down by responsibilities -- that's not what I want in life, so I'm doing my best to avoid it. Living in the van gives me a lot of freedom, both financially and physically. I can afford to follow my dreams and race bikes and travel. I've been all over the US in my van and seen how diverse this country is -- the Moab desert, mountain meadows -- it's really an amazing country. Plus, you see a lot of stars when you live in a van. The best part is that I can make my home wherever I want. And right now, what I want is to keep moving.
#vanlife in Moab