One Of The Youngest Competitors At 'Tour Of Utah' Prepares For Famed Bike Race
In the suburbs of Lehi lies the Eisenhart residence where family and friends gather, but most importantly, where 23-year-old professional cyclist TJ Eisenhart’s childhood dreams became a reality.
Eisenhart said at the age of eight, his family took a vacation to Spain where they were able to watch Lance Armstrong lead the Tour de France through the Pyrenees. Eisenhart said in that moment, he knew that’s what he wanted to do.
At 11 years old, Eisenhart’s parents gave him his first racing bike and he said from that time on, he couldn't get enough.
“Like, when I was in ninth grade,” Eisenhart said, “I was sitting in math class and I was just like, ‘I shouldn’t be here,’ like, ‘I don’t want to be here. I know what I want to do and that I’m going to do it and I’m going to give everything for it.’”
Since he was 18, he’s been a professionally sponsored bike racer when he first signed with the BMC Racing Team for four years. Then, at age 22, he signed with the Holowesko Citadel Racing Team presented by Hincapie Sportswear.
With a very easygoing and upbeat personality, Eisenhart said once joining his new racing team, he has felt like he has been able to show his fans his true personality.
“Finally when I had the freedom to like, open up,” Eisenhart said. “It was just like an explosion. I was just, ‘Boom. TJ Eisenhart’s here.’”
Breaking many stereotypical cyclist looks and personality, Eisenhart said he was reminded of why he races and what life is all about when his dad gave him a turquoise necklace, his signature statement, which he never takes off.
“So the turquoise is like, I keep it on and I race with it always,” Eisenhart said, “cause it’s that reminder to not like, take it too seriously. No matter how hard the race is, or how hard the situation or how serious you have to take this, like, don’t. Like, remember that it’s you racing a bike and I have family and I do this cause I love it and like, there’s other things.”
By wearing the turquoise necklace, Eisenhart said it helps keep his mindset focused and to be 100 percent true to himself, which in turn helps him to excel in his riding.
As Eisenhart continues to prepare for the Tour of Utah, which is hailed as the toughest stage race in America, and an invite-only race, he said he looks forward to racing on his home court as it has benefited him by being able to ride on similar trails and train in a higher altitude.
“I’ve definitely been looking at most of the stages that I really feel like are crucial and are going to need to be seen,” Eisenhart said. “So the time trial at Big Cottonwood Canyon, basically I’ve ridden that at least every day this week. So yeah, definitely, it’s always an advantage checking out the courses and stuff and having a leg up that way, but in the end, it always just comes down to how you feel on that day.”
With fans around the world cheering for Eisenhart each step of the way, Eisenhart said his biggest fans are his family.
He said they have continually supported him throughout his racing career and he looks forward to seeing them on the sidelines as they wear neon colored clothing and hold cardboard cutouts of Eisenhart’s head.