Kate

Kate

I grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, a very hilly town with not a lot to ride. I went to college at William & Mary, and I got really involved in the outdoor recreation program. It was kind of the next natural step to start biking. I did a lot of the Capital Trail, going from Williamsburg to Richmond during my freshman and sophomore years. I never really considered myself a cyclist, just more of a casual biker. My friends and I would ride everywhere we could, we didn’t have a car, just our wheels. My bike was kind of my best friend. 

I moved to Delaware for an internship in 2019. I didn’t have a car and I didn’t know anyone there, so I spent the entire summer going on these crazy expeditions with my bike… His name was Apollo. Just a basic, middle-of-the-road bike, but I racked up a lot of miles on him. I took him through a lot. He was my rock. I didn't have anybody else but that bike. And then, during COVID, Apollo was stolen. To be fair he wasn’t locked up at the time, but I was devastated. 

During my senior year, I built a bike (not much to write about here, it was a wreck), but that bike is currently in Ely, Minnesota; I probably won't ever see it again. I lived and worked there for a few years and didn't have room in my car when I moved away. That was that. Kind of a crappy bike; I don’t really miss it. I purchased a bike after that, his name is Apollo 2 (Apollo for short). Really nice road bike, got him here in my house with me. I hope this is the last iteration of Apollo. 

I graduated college in 2021 and moved to Ely, MN, to work for Outward Bound, offering outdoor expeditions for people of all ages. I instructed my first course that summer, and then I was offered a position to go down to West Texas. I knew this guy out there; he said, "You gotta come." Long story short...I have never felt more alive in a physical environment than in the desert. The Blue Ridge Mountains will always feel like home, but the desert is something else. I truly believe there's magic in the desert. The population in the town I lived in was like 35 people, right on the Mexican border, on the Rio Grande. We were outsiders in that town, but I did a lot of riding while I was there. My friend Phyllis is an epic mountain biker, we’d go as much as we could. 

What I bring with me from Texas and Minnesota is a sense of place, feeling like I have the ability to live anywhere, pack my things in a car, and feel at home in whatever community I find myself in. I feel like I can bring people together, and the people I meet along the way help me feel like the best version of myself as well. Not sure if I’d ever go back to a town that small, but it was a special time. I think a piece of me will always be in Far West Texas. 

I’ve been in Raleigh for about a year, I moved here in February 2023. I tell people that I got here in July because I was a hermit for my first few months here, doing my own thing, a lot of running, biking…not really getting out and meeting people. I spent a month paddling down the Grand Canyon in June. After that, I came back here, so I tell everybody I moved here in July.

Raleigh’s not going to be the end... I’ll probably end up out West. But I’ll be here for a while. I decided to stay for a bit to be closer to my family. As I started to ground myself, it felt like the right thing to do to lean into the place, lean into my family, lean into the community, and it feels like I’m going to stick it out for a bit. It’s a big thing for me, to have a home. My friend Marta and I used to joke that once we had a rug in our house (that we bought ourselves) we’d made it. Symbolizes stability in a way… you know? If I have a rug, it means I’m not living out of a backpack. There’s something to that. And I have a rug in my house now!

My friend Alycen and I made a plan to bike across the United States. We'll partner with BikeMS and bike across the country in 2025. We'll try to do it in conjunction with RAGBRAI, hit RAGBRAI, and go from there. I also have a lot of thru-hikes planned, but none of them are in the States. Whatever happens, it’ll probably be one of those trips where I book a flight and fly out the same week.

For now, I want to find passion and purpose in my work. Up until this point it has been rare to find that, but I have finally started to hone the things that make me tick and breath deeper. Geology and the environment are essential parts to that, but I love working with people, it gets me excited. People are complex and three-dimmensional. I do miss living in the woods, it’s not something a lot of people can empathize with, I think about it no less than three times a day. But for right now, I love my rug more. 

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