Coach & Mountain Bike Pro
Payson began his racing career in the Fall of 2007 and developed his passion for the sport in the Texas State Championship Series. At 17 he traveled with USA Cycling to Kirchzarten, Germany, where he raced and trained as a member of the USA Cycling National Team for the first time. In 2011 he graduated from the Austin Waldorf High School, and moved to Durango, CO to further his education and pursue a dream of being a professional cyclist. In 2012 Payson signed with the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory/Sweet Elite mountain bike team, and for the next two years matured as a racer under the guidance of Chad Cheeney, Ned Overend, and others. “I’m sure I’ll look back on those Sweet Elite years as some of the best of my life. That was such a special program to be a part of.”
In 2014, Payson moved on to create a program of his own, Richard’s Rainwater MTB Racing, a project he will always remember with fondness.
In 2015, Payson joined the Competitive Cyclist pro mountain bike team, where he enjoyed some of his best results to date, as well as learning from some of the seasoned veterans on the team, such as Justin Lindine and Jason Sager.
For 2016, Payson joined the all new Team RideBiker p/b Sho-Air program with an eye towards further progressing as a racer, seeing the world by two wheels, and helping others enjoy the bike along the way. He is especially proud of bringing his two roles of racer and coach together in 2016, by representing WRA as his official club partner on the Team RideBiker pro team, as well as facilitating WRA’s relationship with the greater RideBiker Alliance grassroots program. “When I was a junior, it was often the hope of a glamorous pro career that motivated me. What I didn’t expect was how I would fall in love with the travel aspect, living out of a suitcase, and the daily grind of training. I still have enormous ambitions and dreams for the future, but more than anything, look forward to living this incredible lifestyle as long as I can.”
An academically distinguished student at Fort Lewis College, Payson is finishing up a major in Exercise Science and minor in English Writing. He also competes on the road, dirt, and track for the Skyhawks, and enjoys his coaching role with Williams Racing Academy. After five years in the professional ranks, there is much to share with cyclists of all levels and ambitions.
2015 also marked Payson’s sixth season as a member of the USA Cycling National Team. He is also a proud More Than Sport Ambassador using various races throughout the year as platforms to raise money for charities such as World Bicycle Relief. Payson currently bases out of Durango, CO, and various deserts, depending on the time of year.
“To be honest, I’m not sure what ‘home’ is now, and I’m okay with that. The Texas Hill Country, Colorado Rockies, a five star hotel in China, or tent in the desert… I guess home is wherever my bike takes me!”