I started riding to get to and from work at a brewery while in college in Tacoma, Washington. I don’t know how to drive and I’ve never owned a car. I used to walk everywhere. The bike opened up my world.
One day, I rode forty-five miles from Tacoma to Seattle to visit my sisters. Inspired during my ride, I thought if I could ride from one city to another, I could ride across the country. I wanted to get out there as soon as I could, but I was totally broke. I graduated college that spring, worked in Alaska for the summer to save money and then rode down the East Coast in the fall, from Boston to Montreal, down to Key West, Florida. That was in 2008.
For the next seven years, I worked seasonally to save money for bike trips all over the world. During a nine month trip in 2015, while riding in Israel, I realized I would still be in the country during an 850 mile bikepacking race. I entered the race on my touring bike, a cheap steel hardtail, for fun. I was the only woman. By the end of the first day, I was 25 miles ahead of the man in second place and having the time of my life.
From Israel, I made a plan. I’d fly back to Alaska, get a racing bike, ride 2,100 miles from Anchorage to Banff, take a week off and then race the 2,750 mile Tour Divide. I’m from Alaska and I’d never traveled through Canada to the US. I wanted to see how my state connected to the rest of the country. I took 19 days to ride from Anchorage to Banff. It was my first long solo ride and I felt so much freedom. I rested for a week in Banff and then started the race. On that ride, I broke the women’s record, taking it from 19 days to 17 days. Since then, I’ve raced the Tour Divide three times. My fastest time is just under 15 days, 11 hours. My overall goal is to break the men’s record of 13 days, 22 hours, 51 minutes.
The next year, in 2016, I raced the Trans Am Bike Race, 4,200 miles from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia. I was in second to fifth race for the entire race. During the final night, I caught the leader and beat him to the finish to win the race. The whole thing took me 18 days, 10 minutes.
I’ve raced and ridden more than 100,000 miles around the world in 45+ countries. There are so many more places to ride.
I’ve hosted two women’s scholarships and run a middle school girls cycling mentorship program in my hometown. I’m motivated to encourage more people on bikes, especially more women.