This profile of elite Canadian cyclist Svein Tuft traces the 31-year-old’s career back to its inauspicious beginnings. After dropping out of high school “to explore,” Tuft, a native of Langley, B.C., hopped on a $40 thrift-shop bike and ventured deep into the B.C. wilderness, towing his 80-pound dog, Bear, in a homemade trailer. He didn’t start racing until he was 23, and though Tuft was a natural—within two years he was on the Canadian national team—the culture of doping associated with the sport turned him off, and he quit. It took some prodding, but Kevin and Mark Cunningham, owners of the now-defunct Symmetrics Cycling team convinced Tuft to return to racing in 2004. At the time, Tuft was mowing lawns to pay the bills. Last year, Tuft won a silver medal at the world cycling championships. And now, at his advanced age, he seems to be hitting his prime. Tuft’s a member of one of the world’s top teams and will likely compete this summer in the Tour de France.