By Allied Cycle Works
He was America’s most memorable road racer for a decade, then he retired from the sport at the end of the 2019 season to turn his energy full time to art.
Then COVID hit and life got weird. We talk to Taylor about lockdown in Spain, where he’s going with his art, and what riding means to him now that it’s not his job.
TALK TO US ABOUT LIVING THROUGH THE COVID LOCKDOWN IN SPAIN. WAS THE SELF-CONTAINMENT AS SEVERE AS IT APPEARED TO BE IN THE US MEDIA? WAS ANYTHING SURPRISINGLY HARD ABOUT IT? WAS ANYTHING ABOUT IT SURPRISINGLY EASY TO MANAGE?
We were locked in the apartment for 7 weeks without being able to go outside for walks…forget riding..! The police presence was oppressive and in a sense, we were more paranoid of the 5-0 than the virus. My girlfriend Kasia and I would escape for mini walks through town, always vigilant of course. Although, one day I got caught as we were strolling through town; the police stopped me, questioned me and then took me to the Police station.
Ultimately they were just trying to scare me and I’m not gonna lie, it worked!
Kasia dove deep into cooking, we both slept a ton. We felt overwhelmingly grateful to not have to worry about a job (I’m unemployed anyway…) or family members struggling.
I felt very nostalgic and often wished to be in Colorado, but took the time as an opportunity for deep rest and my intention each day was to surrender to the forces around me and dive into my internal world—my creativity.
The time went by very fast in the end. We had weekly meetups with a couple different people, again disobeying the official orders and sneaking home at night through silent Girona.
YOU’RE ONLY ONE YEAR OUT OF RACING, SO NO DOUBT YOUR PERSONAL NETWORK OF PRO BIKE RACERS IS AS BIG AS IT EVER WAS. WHAT DID YOU HEAR FROM THEM ABOUT TRYING TO MANAGE WITH THE QUARANTINE? WHAT WAS THE DOMINANT EMOTION YOU PICKED UP ON FROM THEM – DESPONDENCY, DETERMINATION, BEFUDDLEMENT, SOMETHING ELSE?
I don’t communicate with many pros. Most of them were just confused at not being able to ride outside and then having their sponsors commit them to racing virtually on Zwift. Some pros went apeshit on the trainer, others did not…it varies greatly. I think it allowed everyone some headspace to consider a life without racing and what else they’d like to pursue, if anything.
YOU’RE AT THE BEGINNING OF AN INCREDIBLE TRANSITION IN LIFE. THE CYCLING MEDIA HAS CHARACTERIZED IT AS A CAREER CHANGE: FROM PRO BIKE RACER TO ARTIST. DO YOU CONSIDER ART YOUR NEW JOB? OR DO YOU FEEL SOMETHING MORE FREE THAN THAT – LIKE YOU’RE ON A SABBATICAL FOCUSED ON ART?
I’m most definitely unemployed right now and lucky to be enjoying it. I believe in my artwork, I work every day to make things and progress as an artist. I am constantly reminding myself that I just spent 10 years pushing my body beyond its limit 11 months out of the year just so I could eventually build a big enough foundation to take a break. Once you’re in the break it’s very easy to fall back into a pattern of abusing the body especially since 90% of my feelings of satisfaction over the last decade were related to how hard or how long I trained.
I’m discovering that once you make a big life change your habits don’t just automatically adopt so reprogramming myself has been a big challenge but one I am enjoying. Quarantine helped a lot with this as I was forced to stay inside and could no longer explore my physical surroundings to find satisfaction in the day. Instead I had to direct energy inside and through the body using breathwork, meditation and dance (music).
Read more at Allied Cycleworks