Mountain Biking Math Teacher Might Ride in Olympics

Larissa Connors traveled on bike for the five-mile commute to her job teaching math at Tustin High School.

An Orange County math teacher's passion for mountain biking has added up to the chance of an Olympic ride.

Larissa Connors, a high school math teacher from Silverado, is one of eight candidates for the two spots on the Rio-bound mountain biking team.

"If there's ever a point when I'm not smiling in a race, then I need to re-evaluate why I'm there and what I'm doing," Connors said.

She said biking doesn't feel like work, because she loves going fast. Her husband, Brendan Connors, convinced her in December to pursue the sport full time.

"Why not put the job on hold, dedicate your time 100 percent to to racing and see where it takes you," he said.

Teaching was Connor's original passion. She said she gets excited at the idea of inspiring kids to like math.

At her job at Tustin High School, she rode her bike five miles to work in the morning and made a quick costume-change into teacher's gear.

"This is what I've wanted to be doing from the very beginning," Connors said. "And then I picked up cycling along the way.

To get on the long list for the Olympics mountain biking team is "pretty bizarre," Connors said. The sport has taken her farther than she's expected.

The Olympic team's roster will be announced next week.

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