Women on Bikes Series: Kacie Freeberg

When did you first start riding a bike?
I first started riding bikes in 2008. I got my first mountain bike, a Gary Fisher hifi

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
Riding has become a hobby that my husband I can do together. In addition, my brother and sister in law have started to ride. Also, during the winter, riding my road bike on my trainer helps pass the time as well.

Were you and your husband inspiration for your brother and sister-in-law to get into riding? How did you introduce them to it?
Yes, well kind of. So my sister in law rode a little bit before but nothing serious. We got them a new set of mountain bikes for their wedding present. My sister in law took a pretty bad tumble a few years ago and has been rattled ever since so we have been working on getting her confidence back to ride more as a family. 

Full disclosure, Erik works at Trek so that has been pretty key into not only my own involvement and growth in the sport but also my brother and sister in law.  

My husband is my primary mountain bike instructor and I can say it's definitely interesting sometimes! I'm not the greatest with critiques sometimes and he has struggles because he's a natural and just "does it" while I need visuals and verbal explanations.

What were some of the struggles you've had with having your significant other being your primary instructor?
I think we all have been there! Erik and I have had our share of fights on the trails. I think the challenge for me personally was I like to be good at things and this was not something I was just "good at". Also, I hated feeling that I was holding him back.

Now looking back I realized it didn't matter how fast we were going, or weren't going, it was that we were outside and doing something fun. 

I started leading when we go down the trails, that helps me to learn how to read the trails and focus on what I am doing and not what he is doing and I can't do.  To help make sure it’s always "fun", we pack a cooler with a few adult beverages to have victory beers afterwards. Also, I have found going with some friends helps to keep it chill. There are a few gals that I like to ride to change the pace. By seeing what each other can do that helps us push ourselves verses trying to catch up to the guys that have been doing this for decades.  

What have been some of the positive things?
I had to learn how to be coachable from my husband, and he had to learn to be patient. This has translated to other areas of our life beyond the dirt.  He is coming from a good place and intention and realized I am frustrated with myself and not him.

As mentioned before, by including riding in vacations it’s hard not to have fun. Also, I have learned that it’s ok to walk, no judgment, no pressure. Just like life there are good days and bad days. 

What kind of riding is your favorite? (paved, gravel, mountain)

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride? (If not a mountain biker, how about first commuter ride, paved trail ride, gravel, etc.)
Scared! I was not a natural at all.  My now husband, then boyfriend, was very patient with me despite the falls and tears.

When you started riding, did you decide to get involved on your own or was it inspired by your (now) husband?
Very much inspired by Erik. He got me my first bike and has been the key "financial backer" of my hobby. Now, it was not without a lot of conversation and being pretty clear that I was interested. 

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
Time, patience and practice.

Do you use clipless pedals? If yes, what are some tips/suggestions for beginners that you would share? If no, are you thinking of trying it out at all?
Yes. Best tip is just to keep them loose and know you are going to fall. Like anything, the more you do it the better you get.

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
Many! I fall a lot and so much so that when I don’t fall during an outing I feel that I am not pushing myself enough. I have made a few trips to the hospital and have looked pretty rough. Again, falling is just part of the sport. The biggest thing I try and keep in my mind is to not let a fall rattle my confidence. 

What do you love about riding your bike?
Riding for me serves a few purposes. First, for me it is a great way for me to get outside and get some exercise. Secondly, it is a great hobby for my husband and I to spend time together. Our vacations typically involve a bike in some way. My all-time favorite ride is a warm sunny day with long climb up in the Colorado Mountains with a fun descent. 

I feel that people are so lucky when they can bike with their partner/spouse as something to do together. What are your thoughts on that?
I couldn't agree more! I know I keep going on about this but by being able to do this together it’s a great, inexpensive way to get outside and see the country. 

Tell us about your bike(s) and why you chose them!
Madone (road); Lush 29' (mtn); Session (DH)...as you can tell I am a Trek gal. I am blessed to have a husband in the Trek family and will always ride a Trek.  I do love their products and have had very little maintenance issues or replacements besides the typically wearable parts. Also, I have a pretty big crush on one of the mountain bike engineers. 

What accessories/products do you recommend?
Basic support pack (tube, co2, tires); I love my garmin that I use for my computer and helps me stay on track. Also, I have it linked to my smartphone because I am an avid nutrition tracker as well. For clothing, I just wear whatever is comfortable. Bontrager baggies for mountain biking, Alpine shorts for DH and bontrager women bibs for road.