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.