Lifestyle Outdoors Recreation

On a Personal Note: Warren Wilson College Student Monte Cosby Spotlighted in Patagonia Film

Monte Cosby. Photo by Jess Daddio

By Emma Castleberry

Warren Wilson College (WWC) student Monte Cosby is the subject of a new film by Patagonia: Monte: Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop. Directed by Dave Mayers and produced by Jess Daddio, the film follows Monte, who grew up in the public housing projects of Richmond, Virginia, and discovered mountain biking through the Richmond Cycling Corps (RCC), a local nonprofit dedicated to empowering and supporting local youth. “One of the things that stood out about Monte was that even though he was much smaller than everyone else, he could always stand his ground,” says Matt Kuhn, executive director of the RCC. “If anyone picked on him, it didn’t last long, and if he was running his mouth, which he often was, he could back it up. He was a small but very scrappy dude.”

Monte with his friends in Richmond. Photo by Jess Daddio

Jess met Monte when he was 17. She was writing a story about the RCC for REI. “There was a lightness to him that belied the heaviness he had already experienced in life,” she remembers. They stayed in touch, and years later, Monte agreed to let Jess pitch his story to Patagonia. “It is unspeakably shameful that kids have suffered because of systemic failures in our society,” she says. “Monte has had to work so much harder just to have access to experiences so many of us take for granted.”

The film’s title comes from a saying that Monte first heard in middle school. “It really hit home for me,” Monte says. “It is motivating to me. It keeps me going, honestly. It reminds me of where I came from and where I want to go.” Monte acknowledges that these two places—the Richmond projects he comes from and the high-level cycling world he pursues now—are starkly different, and he also wants to create a bridge between them. He says that, through cycling, he’s learned “how to be disciplined, how to have self control and patience, and how to communicate with other communities.”

Monte is hopeful that his story will demonstrate other potential life paths for youth like him. “It is really important with other young people because they usually look up to football or basketball players or gangsters, but this shows them there are other ways, too,” he says. “It is ok to be different.”

Monte Cosby. Photo by Jess Daddio

Monte’s “can’t stop, won’t stop” approach earned him a full-ride scholarship to Warren Wilson College, where he has become a vital part of the community and the WWC Cycling Team. “Monte’s story is an important one to tell because it speaks not only to Monte’s personality but it shows what is possible through the world of cycling,” says WCC cycling coach Harris Wagner. “We should be collectively providing more resources to cycling infrastructure and programming—it has positive effects other than just creating more opportunities to bike. It also creates opportunities to build community, keep our bodies healthy and become more educated.”

Monte is currently on tour with Patagonia to promote his film. He’s majoring in outdoor leadership at WWC and, after college, he hopes to get more young people from his community into the outdoors, both via cycling and other sports like rock climbing and kayaking. “I hope my community and other communities are exposed to how others live and realize that we all have different struggles we overcome,” Monte says. “There are so many who have stories like me but did not have the opportunity to be heard, so I want this to be heard for me and all like me.”

This is the same goal that Jess holds for the film. While Monte is a cyclist, his story is less about cycling as a sport and more about building community and connection around a shared passion. “Access to a bike doesn’t change institutionalized racism or the effects of concentrated poverty—the bike is just a vehicle,” says Jess. “I hope the film inspires viewers to get to work building just, compassionate and inclusive communities where they live. That’s what it will take to move the needle on a larger scale.”

Learn more and watch a trailer of the film at Visit for more information about WWC.

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