Cycling may not be one of the most popular sports, but a 17-year-old boy from Connecticut has been taking his talent for it across the world.
Lane Maher has some impressive finishes to his name.
"I first started racing when I was 5 at the BMX track in Torrington and I did that for a while," Maher said.
After a few injuries, he said he decided to trade his BMX for a mountain bike.
Then at 13 years old, he tried road racing.
"I had some success," Maher said. "Nothing huge, just kind of learning and racing and having fun. The following two years after that I took it a little more seriously to make it at the national level. When I was 16 I really started to get some good results. I started to win races and get some top 3s on the podium."
Now between mountain, road and cyclocross, he said he found himself racing year round.
"Usually my last road race is early September and then I take a little time off and then I start cyclocross which is September through February," he said. "Cyclocross is more similar to mountain bike racing. Road racing is a lot different because of the length of the races and also the way they play out."
Maher's interest in cycling led him to joining Hot Tubes, a competitive junior development cycling team out of Massachusetts.
"For me it came up out of the blue and the I didn't realize I had that opportunity, then when I did I took it because it was something I couldn't pass up," he said. "It's been such a huge part of my life since because of my teammates. All the time in the summer it's with them and wherever I go, any sort of vacation or fun weekend is with them."
The sport has become more than a hobby to Maher.
He said he's raced in Ireland, France, Belgium and The Netherlands.
He competed at three national championship races in the U.S. and took home second place last year when it was in Hartford.
"I was happy with that," Maher said. "I was really excited."
Between being a full time student, training at least five days a week and weekly competitions, Maher said he still finds time to get to Ridgeline Bikes in Avon to work.
"This job is good because I get to work on bikes," he said. "It's been helpful for me because I always work on my own bike and I've learned a lot and it's made working on my bike a lot easier and if my teammates need help. And it's also good because the bike path is close by and when I get out of work I can hop on for a few hours and then go home."
Maher said racing is unique. Between the training, attention to detail and three-hour long races, competitors have to be fully committed to the sport.
"When you're with 100 other kids going 30 miles per hour and you're all packed in together, you have to be heads up all the time," he explained. "You have to be on your game all the time. Especially in Europe, it's so much more aggressive and fast. My hope is to hopefully make it professional some day and do that for as long as I can."
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