Monday, May 27, 2019

Women on Bikes Series: Kristine Krauss

Hey there! My name is Kristine Krauss. I am a cat 1 downhill racer, park rat and dabble in trail riding in the snow season. My now Fiancée Kim Godfrey introduced me to mountain bikes on one of our first dates in 2015 and I have been addicted ever since. We have recently formed our own downhill race team HB&T Racing. We travel around the country racing while holding down the 9 to 5 jobs. I enjoy doing most of the maintenance on my bikes myself but I am still working on learning suspension. When not riding or wrenching on the bikes I can be found working the day job for a prosthetics company that specializes in transradial recreational products.

Instagram for myself

HB&T Racing Instagram

HB&T Racing Facebook

Tell us about your introduction to mountain biking, what about it made you say "Yes! This is for me!"
The first time I was introduced to a mountain bike was in 2015 on a date. Kim took me to Valmont Bike Park in Boulder. I was warned about the high powered brakes and then set loose. Kim gave me some pointers and I took a pretty good digger trying to jump. When we were done for the day I had a shiny new scrape on my arm and couldn’t wait to do it again. The next bike adventure I got to ride some very gnarly “secret” trails. A full day of shuttle laps and barely making it down the mountain I was hooked. From that day on I have become a freeriding and gravity racing nut.

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
I struggled a bit with braking and a lot with vision. It took me taking some coaching from Kim and friends to understand that I could actually use my front brake and not go over the bars. Lots and lots and lots of practice in parking lots working on the 2 – 1 – none technique. Vision was the toughest to get a grasp on for sure. Not looking at the ground right in front of your wheel is tricky especially on rough tech. Again, I spent many hours doing circles around cones in parking lots just working on looking ahead. I think not getting frustrated with your self is key. Nothing about mountain bikes is intuitive.

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
Vision is definitely something I am always working on and I still struggle with cornering and track speed for races. When I get down or start getting frustrated with a skill I have to remind myself that this is fun. Generally when I force myself to remember that I am able to get back out there and give it my best.

Any tips or suggestions for folks wanting to introduce someone to mountain biking, especially if it's a significant other?
I would say start out small/easy. If lending someone who is new to bikes one of your bikes at least make sure it fits and isn’t completely clapped out. Take some time to actually give some solid pointers. I.e. foot position, breaking, how the gears work. With the significant other, definitely ride WITH that person. Listen to what they say and offer up stoke or advise. And if your partner is very frustrated offer up lessons. They get the info and skills they need and you score a new riding buddy.

Clips or flats? What do you use when and why?
Oh, flats for sure. I did give clips a try but I don’t care for the feeling of being “stuck” to the bike. I believe learning to ride flat pedals gives a rider honest skills and helps prevent bad habits.
For folks who are nervous about giving mountain biking a shot, do you have any suggestions on how they can go about creating a positive experience?
I would say coaching. A coach can get you started in the right direction and help you through any hang-ups or nerves you might have. I would say that is the main reason I have been able to ride as well as I do.

Have you had any biffs (accidents) that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome?
I have had a few uh… get-offs that were a challenge to recover from.

I did dislocate my elbow. It took 6 months for it to heal and it still tweaks sometimes but I started with dry needling to help stimulate the muscle recovery then strength exercises to keep it healthy.

The other notable biff I had was on the World Cup track at Angel Fire Bike Park in New Mexico. I stuffed my front wheel and went over the bars straight on to my chest. I had on a hard plastic chesty that kept me from breaking my ribs. I ended up with a pretty serious concussion and was transported off the mountain by patrol. That was a mental hurdle. I was scared of going fast for a little while and scared of that trail. I took my time getting back up to speed. Little bits here and there. The biggest help came from a friend. She told me to just hold on and breathe. Remembering to breathe was absolutely the best way for me to get back up to race pace and conquer that trail.

What do you love about riding your bike?
I love the feeling of clearing a new big jump or smashing a rock garden. I love that as I get better I can take on more challenging things. This is one sport where there is pretty much no cap on the skills or challenges.

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
My trail/enduro bike it a Canfield Brothers Balance. 27.5” wheels with a coil shock on the rear. I chose the Balance after shopping around for about a year. I finally got to ride one and it was magical. Everything just felt amazing so I had to build one up for myself.

My dh bike is the awesome Canfield Brothers Jedi. 27.5” wheels with coil shock on the rear. I owned the YT Tues before but the way the Jedi is designed to smash rock gardens is crazy. It is my favorite bike to ride.

Tell us about HB&T Racing-
We travel the country racing and riding as much as we can while holding down the 9-5 job. We both race gravity/dh and dabble in enduro racing. Kim races in the pro category and I race cat 1.

What do you enjoy most about having your own race team?
The freedom to choose the races and design the season we need.

What has been your favorite event to participate in so far?
Crankworx Canada. I raced the Garbo and the air dh. It was awesome to see and meet so many talented women.

Why do you feel folks should try at least one mountain bike event?
To say you did and the feeling that comes with it.

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
It looks like a scary dude sport. The industry does a pretty good job painting that image.

What do you feel could change industry-wise or locally to encourage more women to be involved?
Creating awareness and buzz. Things like community bike days and ladies rides are a good place to start. The bike industry could help out by treating the women in the industry as equals to the men.

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
The excitement and happiness that comes from any rider when they are able to learn a new skill or get that double.

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
I played goaltender and forward in inline hockey for 10 years.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo HB&T Racing. These ladies know how to have fun and win...!

    ReplyDelete