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?

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