The Tour de Tucson – Chapter 1

It’s all fun until someone brings the tab

“If you two ride, I will pay for it.”

That is how it all began, sitting in a conference room in Tucson. They were talking about riding 100 miles in the annual Tour de Tucson bike race. I chalked it up to an in the moment challenge between two people who are not accustomed to being outdone.

If I am being honest, I thought both were just a little full of shit.

The thought process was simple. They train, we sponsor them, they race, we throw a party…. good event.

One phone call changed the scope of all that.

“Hey man, want to race on Team Volante?”

“Umm…ok, for what?”

“My girl, Schwinn Armstrong and one of our customers say they are going to ride 100 miles in November.”

If you have ever met my boy Alfonso, you can totally visualize what I am about to describe.

On the other end of the phone, I could imagine deductive reasoning and high-level deliverables being calculated within the short periods of silence.

“If I have 6 months and a carbon fiber bike, I may be able to train for that.”

A few days later, a text message.

“Bro, I am in.”

How are we going to give back?

At times it may seem that Dustin operates in the shadows at Volante. That may be true unless you are one of our customers. Then you get a cnce to really know him well. He is a passionate guy and has an opinion on pretty much everything.

He and I were in the middle of a Volante-focused conversation when he asked, “What are we going to do to give back? We are fortunate to be where we are. We have to do something to give back.”

We have debated endlessly about privilege and whether people can make it out of a broken cycle.

While I acknowledge that there are people whose circumstances make it nearly impossible to thrive, it is my unwavering belief that we exist in a society (U.S) where access to information and resources are available to almost everyone. The world’s collective knowledge sits in our rear pocket every single day, yet many of us leverage this limitless tool to post selfies and make tik-tok videos.

The most successful individuals that I personally know, have come from extremely humble backgrounds. It is at the intersection of tireless effort and the insatiable hunger for knowledge that I have seen these men and women propel themselves and by extension their families forward. It is the knowledge and experience they provide that brings new opportunities.

This is what I was going to look for – an organization that focuses on solutions through education, support, and accountability.

Standing on the shoulders of giants.

I was born in a very small town. Depending on your viewpoint, it is either God’s country or a place that burned extremely bright and has subsequently lost its shimmer. It is a town where the families go back hundreds of years. To give you some context, there were less than 35 people in my graduating class.

We were laborers. Miners and farmers, people who worked hard and did the most with what they earned. Although I have always felt a bit out of place there, that town, those people, and my family made me. As I look back on the catalyst or deviation for my family, there is one person who decided her path would be different. With her determination and ambition, all our paths would be different.

My grandma Olivama was a single mother to 4 children. My grandfather died in a mining accident when my father was 2 years old. My grandmother, along with her two sisters, raised my dad, his two brothers, and my aunt. She went to college every summer for 18 years to get her degree in elementary education. My dad and uncle spent days in her car eating snacks and reading comic books while she was in class. Those efforts and sacrifices led to her being an educator for 37 years.

Two of her children became career educators, one an entrepreneur, and my father, one of the only non-degreed managers at a Fortune 100 company. 9/9 of her grandchildren have college degrees. She has 9 great-grandchildren. The 3 of age to go to college, 2 whom are mine, are well on their way to completing their educational endeavors.

One person can decide to change the path for all those who come after them. It is up to their descendants to dedicate themselves to the journey paved by these trailblazers. Their unwavering work ethic and tenacity will determine their success.

Live and Learn

After an extensive search and interview process. Volante and our team of riders will be training and fundraising for Live and Learn AZ. They focus on breaking generational poverty through women. The program lasts 2 to 3 years and focuses on;

Career Planning 
Financial Literacy 

Live and Learn’s program is focused, accountable, growing, and most importantly, aligned with our vision for change.

This was my story. My hope is that over the course of this journey, you will find out all about Live and Learn and our team will share with you who they are, where they come from, where they are going, and most importantly, WHY they do what they do.


Learn all about the Tour and our Riders here –