Sunday, June 9, 2019

Women Involved Series: Kristi Mohn

In the bike world, I am part of the Dirty Kanza crew - I've been involved in many aspects of the race for the past 12 years, and I love it!
I am a co-owner of a Coldwell Banker Real Estate office here in Emporia, am proud momma to Sydney and Mason - 21-year-old twins, and I'm married to the stunning and talented Tim Mohn, better known as TFM (Tim F#$king Mohn) :) .
I started riding bikes probably 17 years ago - mostly to spend time with TFM. He needed to find something to do to get in shape. I had been a runner; he hated that when he tried it and so took up cycling.

Soon I was joining him for long-ish rides that were dates....Our babysitter said to me one time - "You are the only person that when you call and ask if I can babysit at 6, I have to ask a.m. or p.m." :)

TFM was one of the initial 34 riders in the first DK in 2006, and that really cemented our love in cycling. I saw an opportunity to get involved and make our hometown a better place to live with DK as the vehicle for that change.

I am pretty passionate about getting women out there on the gravel - our #200women200miles campaign has been super successful, and fun! I also love pushing myself hard on the bike as well. I've ridden LandRun, Gravel Worlds, Rebecca's Private Idaho, and did complete the 200 miles of the DK last year. I've also ridden the Ho Chi Minh trail with Rebecca Rusch on her first MTB LAO trip in 2016. She's become a close personal friend and is really a big inspiration and support system for me. I've met SO. MANY. AMAZING women thru biking, I can't even begin to imagine my life without them in it.

I hope to continue to get more women on bikes and in the industry, and I hope to continue racing different events each year - meeting new folks, greeting old friends, and riding my bike in super cool places!

Tell us about your introduction to #bikelife, what about it made you say "Yes! This is for me!"
My introduction to #bikelife....my husband was looking for some sort of exercise that he actually enjoyed. I was an avid runner at the time, and while he tried that, he didn't enjoy it, at all! I suggested he try cycling, and after a few tries and a new-to-him bike, he liked it. I soon joined. Our twins were young at the time and this was a way we could go on our "dates." Hire a babysitter and go for a ride!
What do you love most about being able to share cycling with your husband?
It's a great way for us to connect and have conversations that are uninterrupted. It also takes us to some great places and we've met some of our best friends through cycling.

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
Descending with confidence was a challenge. Practice helped! I love climbing but wasn't a big fan of the other side of the hill :) Rebecca Rusch gave me some pretty great tips, the biggest of which was to get down in my drops - I never knew. If you are uncomfortable with some aspect of cycling, say it out loud - most likely someone else has experienced that same thing and can help with solutions.

For folks who are nervous about giving gravel and/or endurance riding a shot, do you have any suggestions on how they can go about creating a positive experience?
A great support network is awesome! Finding that thru a local shop, or even looking on FB to see if there is a cycling group in your area, those are great resources. Don't be shy about it - generally speaking, we are a very friendly group that wants to see new cyclists succeed!

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?
HA! YES! The beginning of Day 2 of an 8-day MTB trip in Lao, I was descending some steps and went over the handlebars. Though the landing was soft, I broke my wrist. I spent the 7 days ahead riding with a broken wrist (luckily it wasn't a bad break). There was no way I wasn't riding - I was halfway around the world. I think that very fact just provided the reason to push through the pain and look for ways to adapt.

Once I got back, I resorted to trainer rides while the wrist healed, then used a Lauf fork for a while to take the edge off the gravel.

I'm fairly stubborn, so it's got to be something big to keep me down for a long time.

What do you love about riding your bike?
All of it. Seriously. I like the training, inside and outside. I like gear and shopping for it. I like learning about taking care of the machine (new found interest). I like how strong and capable it makes me feel. And I love long point to point rides with friends that end at a great restaurant or new location.

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
Really? This may get embarrassing -

I have a titanium Salsa Warbird (trusty steed), a salsa bear grease (kept in Ketchum ID for winter fat biking), a Niner RLT RDO (for super speed and comfort), and a Specialized S-Works Epic (newest to the fleet for my newest goal - mastering mountain biking). I also own the back half of a Salsa PowderKeg. There's a pretty crappy Trek road bike hanging on the wall that I need to sell, but motivation. And I have a converted steel frame Fuji road bike that is now a single speed that needs some time spent on it!

That's not terrible when you consider how much I love riding, right?

You are part of the Dirty Kanza team, tell us about the magic that is Dirty Kanza-
I don't really know if I have words to explain the Kanza...I do know this- Kanza has changed the community I live in and love. Emporia is a different town then it was 10 years ago. I also know it impacts people's lives, including mine. I'm grateful nearly every day for this little bike race.

A couple of years ago, DK started an initiative to increase women participants by creating the #200women200miles campaign. What was the inspiration behind it?
Giving women the courage, space, and opportunity to try something outside their comfort zone. It's done so much more...

What has been the most inspiring part of having so many women show interest in participating in an event that they might otherwise be intimidated by?
Last year when I actually was able to ride in the event (the rest of the DK crew stepped up to cover my jobs and a few key friends and volunteers filled in for me), I found myself in a paceline that was 6 or 7 women strong...and exactly that, all women. After a bit, it really hit me where I was riding, and tears filled my eyes. I have never been in an event where that had happened. We were calling each other by the states we were from, which was pretty cool too!

Why do you feel women should commit to participating in at least one cycling event?
It's important for us to take the time for ourselves. It makes us better at all the other things we do. With the inaugural 2018 Women's Camp, I said: "put yourself first without putting others last." I think that sums up a lot about one of our biggest downfalls as women - we don't make enough time to make sure we are being our best selves. So whether it's a cycling event or some other event, sign up! It's good for your heart and soul.

For folks new to events, do you have any tips or suggestions that might help them feel more confident?
Find training partners, watch the numerous videos available, ask questions, find a great LBS to work with!

What has been your favorite event to participate in?
MTBLAO changed my life. No doubt. But all of the events I've done have really come out of relationships from Dirty Kanza...

Tell us about your experience riding the Ho Chi Mihn trail with Rebecca Rusch-
Rebecca has become a close friend over the years. She's a solid human - both on and off the bike. When the invitation came to ride the first MTBLAO trip, I jumped at it, even though I really didn't ride mountain bikes at the time. Riding in Laos was so unique. Beautiful scenery, kind people, great cyclist to share the trail with, all set against some of the biggest destruction I've ever seen and will ever see in my life. It is the most heavily bombed country in the world.

It's an experience that is difficult to put into words. I remember a day in particular where Don Duvall, our moto guide, stopped to show us an aerial of the trail we were riding on. I'd been riding along thinking about all of the random ponds we were riding by - turns out, they weren't actually ponds. When Don showed us the view from above, you could see all of these for what they were - craters left from all the bomb we dropped on this country 40 years ago. It was sickening. As we rode on, we descended thru a small village on the way to our day's destination. I was thinking about that war, and about my father who didn't have to serve overseas, and my son, who is the age to be drafted. I was super conflicted, and out to the side of the road, villagers had gathered and were smiling and waving and cheering us on. It was surreal. I'm sure I'm not doing this justice, but nonetheless, the Ho Chi Mihn trip was life-changing, and continues to inspire and change me, and give me direction.

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling?
I think largely we get in our own way. Cycling is also a pretty expensive sport to get into, and often we don't feel great about making that investment in ourselves.

What do you feel could change industry-wise or locally to encourage more women to be involved?
I feel we just need to keep asking women to be involved - and when they do, we need to welcome them and support them.

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
I'm not really sure - I guess I just want them to find what I have found. Plus I love having more ladies to ride with!

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
I have a birthmark shaped like pac man on my left thigh?
I live 1/2 a mile from my brother and his family and from my parents?
I went to school to be a high school Spanish teacher?
I married Lawrence KS most eligible bachelor?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

What You Learn At A Trail Workday

In this post, I'm going to write about my recent experience participating in a DHPT: Decorah Human Powered Trails workday.

We met up on a Wednesday in Van Peenen Park to work on a handful of spots on a couple of the trails. I'll admit, I was nervous because I've never been at a trail workday yet and I certainly didn't want to be in the way.  I didn't participate in trail workdays in the past due to my arm and shoulder issues. They're still there, but I have a much better handle on them and figured I should be good to go with volunteering.

So here is what I learned with participating in my first trail workday.

#1. Anyone can help! If you don't know how to do dirt work or run a chainsaw, there will be something you can help with. You can pick up sticks, you can be a helpful hand with grabbing tools for other folks, you can help carry stuff, etc.

#2. If you are interested in learning some of the easier aspects of dirt work, simply say so and you'll get help learning! I watched Travis use the tamper to pound dirt down and it looked easy, so I asked if I could try it and the rest is history. It was super simple, tiring, but easy to do- and it's helpful! When I wasn't tamping, I was using a rake to break up dirt clumps to allow for tamping to happen. Something so simple as breaking up dirt clumps is helpful for dirt work.

#3. If you enjoy using the dirt trails, you should find time to join a workday at least one time.
Why? It makes you appreciate the work that has been done that allows YOU to enjoy the trails. It's eye-opening. Also, there is something to be said about taking some ownership and volunteering time to help something you love. After the work was done, you see the improvements, and you can't wait for the weather to cooperate so you can ride it!

#4. Trail work can be done by and appreciated by everyone. If you run, bike, or hike- you will reap the benefit of trail work. Regardless of how you enjoy the trails, you are part of a community of folks who enjoy outdoor recreation. Volunteering time at a workday allows you to connect with like-minded folks, and you just might make new friends!

#5. Kids can help at a workday, too! It's a great way of introducing them to respecting the trails and understanding the work that goes into creating them. It's a great time to educate trail use etiquette as well.

We were able to accomplish a good amount of trail work within a couple of hours, even if it made me tired! It's really neat to see a group of folks get together, and as the work progresses, see the stoke everyone has over how it looks and how they can't wait to ride it. 

DHPT: Decorah Human Powered Trails will announce their workdays on Facebook and through email. If you would like to be involved, you can send an email to josie@decorahbicycles.com and get added to the DHPT mailing list!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Women Involved Series: Tricia Davis

I am a Canadian physical therapist, wife, athlete, coach, writer, organizer, trail advocate and doggie-Mom.

I live in Brevard but have spent the past 20+ years searching for the perfect place to live. We are pretty close here. Although, no place is perfect. We have been lucky enough to live in Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, British Columbia, Arizona, and Washington. (I may have forgotten some.)

My husband, Chad and I started Crankjoy.com to provide great, inspirational information on mountain bike products, destinations, and events. We hope to get people out of their backyard to explore new places and meet new people while living the passion that we do - mountain biking.

The coaching company I co-founded (killercoach.com) is a way for me to help people reach their athletic goals while staying healthy and preventing injury- a nice niche for a physical therapist. I am also quite active with Pisgah Area SORBA - our local IMBA chapter and serve on the Board of Directors to try to get people involved and stay informed about changes in our regions trails, access, and social groups. I am not a superhero but I do aspire to take over the world with my mission: inspire, connect and encourage people to experience this short life to the fullest- with a dirty little grin.


Tell us about your introduction to mountain biking, what about it made you say "Yes! This is for me!"
I first started riding mountain bikes when I was 18- one of my first rides was a small local race. I was dating a road cyclist during high school and he thought mountain biking was silly, so that made me want to do it even more. I thought it was way more fun than riding road. I just loved the dirt, mud and literally being immersed in nature.

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
All of the skills challenged me. Just staying on the bike was a challenge. Being young and recovering from crashes was easy, not so much these days! I always enjoyed riding behind faster and more skilled riders. There just weren't the skills clinics that are available today. If those existed back then I would have for sure started there.

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
I think everyone has their nemesis trail or feature that really psyches them out. Mine is for sure off camber slick rock and roots. Knowing that everyone, even the most skilled rider has difficulties with some aspect of riding makes me feel better about my own riding. If I get to a section and have to put a foot down or walk it, I try to get a little further each time to progress, but puckering up before the section comes along usually doesn't help. I try to just let it come and see what happens.

Clips or flats? What do you use when and why?
I am old-school so ride clips usually, but I have been trying to do some skills session and some winter riding here in Pisgah in flats. Learning to track stand and wheelie is way better with flats. I think they are both good and both have their place, but generally, I am more comfortable being attached to my bike.

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?
Just get out there and try it. Go with a friend and learn how to do it right. Have someone start you out on an appropriate trail for your level of skill and make it safe. Most people learning to ski or play tennis would pay for a lesson, so why not for a sport like mountain biking. It just makes sense to me. Keep in mind that the videos people see on Red Bull is about 0.05% of all mountain biking. You don't have to shred and do backflips to be a mountain biker. You just have to enjoy nature and adventure.

What was the inspiration behind starting Crankjoy?
We (my husband Chad and I) wanted to provide information that would inspire people to get out and enjoy traveling to new places with their mountain bikes like we do. Writing for Crankjoy has led us to some pretty amazing places and has allowed us to meet some really inspirational people. Highlighting these experiences is a great way for people to see how they can connect with their mountain bike community in a more intimate way. The ladies tab is a spot for women to learn about products, experiences and events that are cool.

What has been the best thing you've done or experienced since creating content for Crankjoy?
For sure it has been meeting a ton of people in and out of the bike industry who are passionate about riding. Mountain bikers are an interesting and eclectic bunch of people. Expanding our connections across the country and Canada has 100% been the best thing to come from Crankjoy.

What event(s) have been your favorite to attend and why?
I am a sucker for the ladies Roam Events- especially the inaugural Ladies mountain bike festival in Sedona! It was a magical event and gathering, and Ash and Andi with Roam Events just get it. They do an awesome job of making everyone feel included and truly care about each participants experience. The Brevard Roam Fest is pretty cool too, and it is right down the street from me!

You co-founded killercoach.com, tell us what inspired you to get involved with coaching?
Racing triathlons back in the 90's made me get into coaching. I wanted to do an Ironman and once I started researching how to train, I was hooked. Watching my husband train as a pro mountain biker was also an inspiration. I thought it was a nice compliment to my daily work as a physical therapist, dealing with injured and sick people every day. It was nice to have that perspective working with healthy and super driven athletes. It is a valuable combination now to be a coach and a physical therapist, I think it really offers my clients a well-rounded perspective. I also still love triathlon, especially the off-road variety.

What has been your favorite coaching moment so far?
Working with my killercoach co-founder Melissa Ross. She is much younger than I am in chronological age, but so wise. I love having her as a coworker and good friend to help my professional as well as personal growth. She is always there for me and I can always count on her for solid advice. She is one of the kindest people I know and has an amazing way of considering everyone's perspective.

You are on the board of directors for SORBA, tell us what you do on the board and how folks can be involved-
I am lucky enough to do all of the Social Media and Community Engagement for Pisgah Area SORBA. I got involved at a time when folks were not that organized and the membership was just not growing. We are now organized and going in the right direction. The past leadership did a great job of organizing grant funding (for a 5 year total of $528,000!) from the government and maintaining a relationship with the forest service. This is a lot of money, but not near enough to get the trails to a place where they are sustainable. These grants also require matching funds and volunteer hours to execute. Now we need to mobilize the "people" who are loving the Pisgah Trails and area, to help build and maintain sustainable trails for years to come. I'm excited to help and if you love the trails here too you can donate to the trails directly via Pisgah Area SORBA's Paypal account.

Why do you feel it's important for women to be involved with their local mtb trail group?
I don't just think women need to be involved with their local MTB trail group, I think everyone who benefits from the trails needs to be involved. If you ride, hike, run, operate a business in the towns that derive business from mountain bikers or just think trails are important to your community (and let's face it who doesn't) then you should participate in some way! Donate, volunteer your time and help promote your local clubs. Women are underrepresented in the mountain biking community, although that trend is changing and I feel we as a user group have plenty to offer. Being a trail advocate has many forms, from digging in the dirt, organizing grants, soliciting donations, promoting club events, helping keep the books, manning a booth at a local fair; there is something for everyone to use their personal talents doing. It takes a village.

What do you love most about being involved in the cycling industry?
Cyclists, especially mountain bikers have a unique perspective on life. It's the people I've met and the connections I have made that I love the most about the cycling industry. I don't think anyone is in this industry to get rich or show how powerful they can be, so there is not a lot of that to deal with. People that ride respect nature, love adventure and just want a positive life experience. Who doesn't want to be around that all day? In my mind, this is what is important in life.

What do you love about riding your bike?
I love feeling fit and strong. I love that there is no limit to what I can do on a bike. There is always a trail/race/event I can do that challenges me. Feedback is usually immediate and absolute. There is very little grey area in mountain biking. I find riding very centering and meditative if I want it to be. It's also a great way to meet new friends and connect with old ones.

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I am a huge Ibis fan. I love all their bikes, love the company and love the folks that work there like family. That said my favorite Ibis is my Ripmo. It's an amazing long travel 29er and she's blinged out with custom I-9 wheels to match the blue and orange frame. Its the sexiest bike I've ever owned. I've had it for a couple of months but not been able to ride it much due to the terrible winter we have been having here in Western North Carolina.
I also have a super pimp Ibis Hakka MX, which is a gravel bike with a dropper! This bike has been a lifesaver this winter for me. It has been keeping me sane and when it's too cold/wet/muddy/dark to go outside it's hooked up to a smart trainer and I have been obsessed with riding Zwift. It's like a video game for your bike. Indoor riding is way more fun this way and you can connect with other riders in real time, which is cool. The added fitness will pay dividends in the spring and fall, so I will be able to get right out and do some big rides without having to rebuild fitness lost over the winter.

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
I think some of the images, videos, and stereotypes in the bike media can be pretty intimidating for women. Watching some of the mountain bike videos and seeing some of the print media, especially ads makes mountain biking seem a little far from reach for most women, especially older ladies. Sure I'd love to be able to ride a big flowline with gap jumps and whip out my rear end every time I jump, but I really don't think that's gonna happen. It is happening in my mind even if no one can see it. If I can get that feeling of pushing my limits and enjoy trails with a big smile on my face that is enough for me. If women looking to get into the sport realized that it can be whatever you want it to be, I think it would be amazing. Having someone to open up that world to you is important. With the proliferation of women's events and skills clinics over the past 5 or so years, I think this is really contributing to the growth of the sport for women and is super important.

What do you feel could change industry-wise or locally to encourage more women to be involved?
I'd love to see more of the bike companies sponsoring and supporting events that empower women. The Bell Joy Ride and LIV ambassador programs really stand out as leaders in this movement. Also, bike industry hiring more women will go a long way to changing things. Ibis is pushing the envelope encouraging women participation without specifically making a women's specific bike, in fact I guess you could say all their bikes are for women they just let the men ride them too:} All Ibis are designed by lady-power in a small package, Roxy Lo. She understands the connection between form and function.

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
I love to see traditional stereotypes shattered and more importantly I love to see how people feel after riding a mountain bike. It really is the best therapy. I love giving ladies the tools to explore their own abilities with regards to fitness and skill on the bike and watching the massive improvements that happen once someone gets "hooked."

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
I love collecting notebooks and amazing paper and stationery and love the feeling of opening a new book.