Dear twelve-year-old Kit,

By now, you know all too much about your future cycling career. But as with all good things, they must come to an end. Though you’ll never fully leave cycling, you’ll never quite be as present as you once were. Stepping away from your professional cyclist identity will alienate you from participating in any form of the sport – and leave you isolated without a tribe. The day you eventually come out, you’ll have assumed a role in a community that is, for all intents and purposes, very much in its infancy. With a rainbow and acronym gives itself constant makeovers, the LGTBQ community is still very much figuring out how to exist, let alone co-exist. Throughout countless moments of exploring this strange new world, you’ll find yourself in the crosshairs of the communities’ growing pains. There’ll be times when your back is up against the wall, questioning the folks who try to pull down those around them, including you. “Where’s the community in that?”, you’ll ask yourself. That’s going to change, though. One day, you’ll be approached by someone named Jonathan asking if you’re interested in joining an LGBTQ dodgeball team started by him and his friend Brit. I know what you’re thinking…DODGEBALL? REALLY. Don’t be so quick to judge, Kit, because here’s where it gets good. Brit and Jonathan are going to do something groundbreaking for you – they’re going to make you part of a team again. Even better, a community! Our world has become so filled with noise by the inflictions of pain, that there’s nowhere left to run and hide from it – even if only for a moment. How special that Brit and Jonathan took pause, came together, and used their breath as a force for good. Their reach doesn’t just extend to you, but every color of the rainbow to provide a safe space that celebrates competition, teamwork, love, and family. It’s only until you join Jonathan and Brit’s team that you finally feel the you-est version of you since coming out. I know how difficult it will be leading up to that point, but they’re going to show you that’s it’s okay to have FUN, again. I know how hard you’ll one day work to try and make the world just a little bit better, but remember you can’t love others until you show yourself a little love first. What an impact a simple game of dodgeball can make. On and off the court, Brit and Jonathan’s obsession with provoking joy in the lives of their fellow human puts them in a league of their own. It’s no surprise why this tiny, incredibly special tribe continues to grow and form lifelong relationships. You’ll draw so much from Jonathan and Brit’s breath, not the least of which being in order to build community, you don’t start by saying I hate you to those who pull you down. But by saying I love you to those who pull you back up. Until next time, 27 year-old-Kit