Kaitlyn is wicked fast on a bike, especially when it comes to ultra-endurance, multi-day distances. I first got to know Kaitlyn while supporting Ryan in his twelve and twenty-four hour mountain bike races. Kaitlyn and Ryan generally ride at the same ability level, so they usually end up pedaling a few laps together during each race and then we always run into each other during the awards ceremony as her and Ryan are waiting for their respective call ups to the podium.
Watching Katilyn race inspires me to push myself and set bigger goals. In addition to twenty-four hour races Kaitlyn’s accomplishments in the ultra-endurance realm are also impressive, she currently holds the women’s record and second fastest time on the Coconino 250 (self supported bikepacking route). Reading Kaitlyn’s race reports and following her adventures through social media motivated me to do my first solo bikepacking trip. Before I went I even consulted her book The Bikepacker’s Guide to hone my bike maintenance skills (shout out to Crystal Topham who walked me through the book with hands on instruction!).
Kaitlyn and Kurt Refsnider recently started Bikepacking Roots, a non-profit dedicated to the support and advancement of bikepacking and the conservation of public land. The growing bikepacking community can often seem elitist and exclusive for newcomers, so I admire that Kaitlyn and Kurt are intentionally inclusive with their new non-profit. Bikepacking Roots will create routes to make bikepacking more accessible, while educating the community on responsible backcountry practices and conservation. The content Katilyn created and/or shared has heightened my awareness of critical conservation and land management issues and taught me so much about the geology and environment of the Southwest. You can check out her incredibly detailed Colorado Plateau Landscape Guide, here. Whether it is on the bike or off the bike Kaitlyn’s actions push me to dream big and for that I am very grateful.