Former pro cyclist Davis Phinney and Olympic gold-medal racer Connie Carpenter-Phinney never made their son Taylor ride his bike as a kid, but they were happy to encourage him when he started racing competitively at age 15. Three years later, in 2008, after finishing seventh in the individual pursuit at the Summer Olympics, Taylor decided it was time to go all-in. “They realized that I was a smart kid but wasn’t necessarily a school person, so when I told them I wanted to race my bike full-time after the Beijing Olympics there was no pressure about college,” the 23-year-old BMC rider told Outside in May.
Davis, now battling Parkinsons, doesn’t compete anymore, but his son says he’s still an inspiration. “He reminds me that I should never take anything for granted, and that no matter what, I should be happy and grateful for what I have,” Phinney wrote in a blog post last December. “Positivity goes a long way, and seeing the bright side of any situation is a trait I have definitely inherited from my father.”