Women on Bikes Series: Kerrie Runde

I'm a 42 year old mountain bike girl who lives in Iowa and loves the outdoors all year long. Enjoy a number of outdoor sports but mountain biking is my absolute favorite! I'm a mom of two children, a massage therapist and I also build houses for Habitat for Humanity when I am not on my bike.

When did you first start riding a bike?
My very first bike was a bright yellow banana boat seat bike. I think I was about seven or eight years old.  I grew up in the country so that is how I would get to my friends house or our local country store.   

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
My motivation is just being able to exercise and be outdoors. The challenge of singletrack trails always has me coming back for more to see what I can accomplish next time around. My mountain bike friends are huge motivators and are amazing and talented people! 

Do you compete in cycling events? Why or why not?
I don't compete; I have never had the competitive personality. I ride to conquer the next hill, creek, rock or log.  I ride to get outside and be with nature.

What other styles of cycling do you enjoy and why?
I'm a single-track trail girl ALL THE WAY and I just purchased my fat first fat bike! This will be my first winter in the snow and love it already. My fat bike has given me some extra confidence and it allows me to feel more stable and roll over logs, bridges and obstacles with ease. So now when I get on my mountain bike my mind already knows I can conquer without a second thought. 

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride?
The first time I rode a mountain bike.... Oh boy...... Seriously I was absolutely terrified! I remember thinking I will just have to repeat and repeat until I get it without falling off and hopefully I wouldn’t die in the meantime! That trail is now my warm-up trail and my favorite fast track. I instantly release my brakes and think “hammertime” I smile and my adrenaline starts to soar!  Best feeling in the world! 

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
Yes, I still get nervous, but I have some great friends who support me! I have one friend named Margie who has taken me under her wing and is such a great teacher! I know I would not have continued mountain biking without her. Quite honestly when I began my journey of mountain biking I would just hammer it, close my eyes, and hope for the best. I would be amazed if I made it and when I would fall it would just make me want to repeat it over and over until I conquered. I would sometimes repeat a section of the trail 20 times. Often going home being frustrated, tired and bruised. I have had lots of bruises, blood and scars to show my hard effort!

You recently experienced fatbiking! Was it what you expected? Better? Why did you enjoy it?
I love my fatbike, it simply makes me giggle! The bounce and float I get from my fatbike puts a huge smile on my face. My winter beauty has giving me the opportunity to ride all year long. I have gained so much more confidence with my fatbike. I love the sound of fresh snow under my tires. The beauty of the winter in the woods on my mountain bike is a blessing that only a fatbike rider gets to experience. So surreal and I am very grateful to be one of the people who gets to experience it!

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?
I use clip pedals and I remember thinking I am out of my absolute mind trying to lock my foot in the pedal and go over boulders at the same time! As scary as it was to do, you do you catch on very quickly.  When I first started with them I set them very loose and now I cannot ride without them.

Have you had any biffs that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome?
Oh yes I have had plenty of wipe outs, nothing broken thank goodness, but lots of blood and bruises. It's just a part of the sport. In a weird way after a ride we are all comparing our battle scars. The more saddle time I put in the better I get and sometimes I can go a whole ride without falling or running into a tree! 

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
My first challenges were looking ahead. I now always look 5 to 10 feet in front of me. Learning how to climb over rocks and roots are pretty tough in the beginning. Being in the right gear about 3 feet before you hit the obstacle and then apply a burst of leg power to give you the momentum you need to get up and over. My first mountain bike was a 26 full distention and I recently moved to 29er! Love love love the 29er!

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
Switchbacks still trip me up but I just keep trying until I make it. I ask a lot of questions when I ride with a group. I find following the line of a good rider ahead of me helps out a lot.

What do you love about riding your bike?
I love so many things about my bikes. I now own two bikes- a carbon Niner, 29er and a Trek Farley. I love to be outside in nature and on my bike is my favorite place to be. The challenge of singletrack trail is addicting and I also love the intense adrenaline rush and focus that you need to have to conquer single-track riding. I love how strong I feel after a hard long ride whether by myself or with my friends. My bike always makes me happy! 

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I just purchased a carbon Niner. I have a very special guy in my life who built my bike from scratch. So my bike is built with pure love and I'm grateful to have him in my life and share the same passion I do. It is so great to have a partner who likes to do the same things you do. It's also great to be with someone who understands why you want to be on your bike every day! This bike is so light and I roll over things a lot easier with a 29 inch wheel. I chose carbon because I just wanted a light bike. I also have a Trek Farley. I do love both of my bikes so much it's very hard to decide which one I want to take out. Riding in the snow is just so much FUN! 

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
Well I don't have all of the right gear but I did purchase CORE battery powered gloves. Love love love them! If I put them on the medium setting they will last for four hours. Now we just need heated shoes and seats!

Do you participate with local riding groups? Tell us about them and why people should join!
I love riding with my local group. People who ride are so nice! I learn something new every time and it's fun to be with the people who share your same passion. I can go to any city and mountain bike riders always go out of their way to make you feel welcome. When I happen to find a girl mountain bike rider I'm sure I scare them. I have a hard time finding girl riders in my area so when I find one it's very hard to let them go! 

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
I guess most women are scared and don't want to get hurt. I say give it a try; it is so much fun once you try it there's no going back!

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
I think people should try and rent bikes and have a good fit for their height. Renting is a great way to just try the sport before you invest a lot of money. Plus you can try different kinds of bikes.

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
The freedom, adrenaline, and accomplishments I make while riding makes me feel alive, fit and healthy!

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
So my goal this year 2015 is going to try to log 1500 miles on my bike. I also do gravel grinders, and on one of my rides I got chased by two goats. It was the funniest thing ever! Usually I get chased by farm dogs but goats- that only happens in Iowa!