I live in the Bay Area, CA and I love being active outdoors--mostly running and biking. I do not consider myself a natural athlete, however. I had really bad asthma as a child and for a long time, I avoided anything that made it hard to breathe. My asthma eventually improved, but between a dysfunctional childhood and poverty, athletics was not a priority in my family. I think my first real exposure to the outdoors was the summer after my freshman year of high school. I attended an Upward Bound program in northern Massachusetts; it was located on a private school campus, which was essentially in the middle of the woods. 

For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by hundreds of trees and dozens of trails.  It was so beautiful. That summer, I tried to run a lap on the track for the first time, but I couldn’t make it all the way around. I was so embarrassed, but the challenge lit a fire in me. By the end of the summer, I was running 2 miles and decided to join my high school cross country team. My love for running and an elevated heart rate only grew from there! I have since jumped into rock climbing, snowboarding, CrossFit, weightlifting, powerlifting, triathlons, and most recently, mountain biking.

I got into mountain biking at the beginning of the pandemic and absolutely fell in love. It combines all of the things that drew me to other sports: a little fear, speed, a tough mental game, endurance, and most of all, a ton of fun. I have an amazing group of friends to ride with, but also love riding solo for the meditative aspect.

Doughnuts or Bagels? This is hard. I love bagels but also have a sweet tooth so I’ll go with donuts.

Home mountain range: The Sierras 

Fur-Baby: My fur-baby is a tuxedo cat, who my son affectionately named Keya

Favorite trail (bike), favorite mountain (ski): Bike: Briones and Joaquin Miller Regional Parks, Wilder Ranch in Santa Cruz, and Mt. Tam. I love trail running in Redwood and Skyline Regional Parks. Snow: I learned to snowboard in CO at Arapahoe Basin, so that place will always have my heart. Now that I live in CA, Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe is my go-to spot.  

Go-to aprés beverage: A very cold, hazy IPA 

Day Job: I’m an attorney. I currently work for the State of CA, but spent many years in legal aid.

Follow Jess's Adventures: @jbrzadventures