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  • On July 20th, I'll be pedaling away from home to embark on the biggest adventure of my life (so far). I'm not sure exactly how far I'm going or how long I'll be gone. All I know is that I'm heading off into the Kansas horizon with my sights set on the mountains. Colorado is a given. My goal after that is to head to Ketchum, Idaho for my second 100 mile gravel race this season. From there, I'd be absolutely elated if I could make it over the Cascade Mountains before first snow and watch the sun set into the Pacific Ocean.

    I'll be making frugal choices and living on about $10 a day to stretch my modest savings. To help offset the costs of inevitable bike repairs and the occasional cushy bed and hot shower, I thought I'd give my friends and family the opportunity to support this soul-seeking pilgrimage. If you have it in your heart to assist a girl chasing her dreams with a million flat tires along the way, you can become part of the journey with me. In return, I'll mail you a handwritten, postcard update from wherever remote spot I happen to be.

    If you'd like to follow along with my journey you can see bike tour-specific posts right here.


    Peace, Love and Bicycles,
    Katelyn

#k8bikeswest week 2

As of today, I’ve ridden my bike 1,071 miles. That’s hard for me to wrap my head around. I’ve been on my bike seat for 5-9 hours a day for 2 weeks, yet I can’t quite grasp that I didn’t fly or drive to Fort Collins, like normal. I RODE MY BIKE HERE. From Kansas.

It hasn’t been easy- as hard as you can imagine it might be, this ride has been harder…and I’ve vented all of that on Facebook. So much so, that some may think I’m only seeing the bad and the hard. But this is definitely not the case. I make sure I notice the good and the incredible too. “Be here now” is a favorite little mantra of mine. In most of what I do (I can’t say ALL, because I still work on it everyday) I try to be present and observe all the feelings I have- the excellent and the not-so excellent. This post is dedicated to some of those excellent experiences I’ve had so far.

Biking at 3, 12 and SOMETIMES 30 miles an hour I get to see the land in detail. There are rolling hills and cloudless skies that go on for miles. The rainbow of wildflowers that line the roads. Butterflies fluttering alongside me. Lone trees in expansive fields. Wheat swaying in the wind- putting a perfect image to the phrase “amber waves of grain”. Noticing the gentle changes in landscape as I inch West – wildflowers and corn fields give way to cattle grazing pasture, then the cacti and sage brush slowly appear. As I climb into higher elevations the scent of evergreen hangs heavy in the air and the aspen groves with their white bark and heart-shaped leaves start to appear. When I can muster the energy, I take pictures of things that take my breath away, and feel a small sadness that the photo fails to capture the magnitude of what I’m seeing.

Exploring #smalltownamerica in a big way. Tiny towns from 20 to several thousand. Feeling like I’ve stepped back in time. Sitting down to lunch at mom and pop diners and snacking at roadside hole-in-the-wall joints.

Experiencing such incredible hospitality from complete strangers that has moved me to tears. Over and over and over again.

Meeting and riding with 4 really awesome people from all over the globe! (Virginia, Australia and two British chaps)

Pedaling for 9 days across mostly flat land and then seeing the mountains rise up in front of me.

Staying in the coolest old Assay office (turned primitive bunk house) in Guffey, CO. In fact, the entire town of Guffey was quite the sight.

Riding my bicycle through, over and around the Rocky freaking Mountains!

 I set out on this trip to ride solo through as many states as I can- hoping that I’d somehow find myself or realize something big. Well, I haven’t ridden much of this ride alone and I certainly haven’t come to any great conclusions about life but I do have some perspective. A friendly follower of my Instagram account shared some words that have really stayed with me: “So here’s how I see it. In life, stuff happens. In the years ahead when it hits the fan, you’ll think back to a 90 mile day in a 100 degrees with wind and 100 square feet of shade all of which were full of nasty, biting flies. It totally sucked, but you did it and then you got up the next day and did it again. After you conquered that you took on the hills and they were a whole new ball game. With this in your “been there done that” background you will know that you can deal with stuff. Even if when you decide enough is enough you have proven to yourself and a whole lot of friends that you’ve got guts. You have the total right to be proud of whatever you accomplish…”

So with that being said, if I didn’t ride a mile further, I would still be proud of myself for embarking on this epic, amazing adventure. All of this just amazes me; that I can do it. That I’m doing it and that tomorrow morning I’m heading out for more. Stay tuned.

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  • September 14, 2014 - 4:51 am

    Jocelyn Rice - Excellent blog and of course stunningly beautiful photos!

#k8bikewest week 1

The morning starts with an alarm at 4:45. I usually hit snooze until about 5am. I sit up to force myself awake and slowly start organizing my stuff. I deflate my sleeping pad and roll it up. Next comes my sleeping bag and travel pillow. I dress inside my tent and pull out any items I may need during the day to place toward the top of my bags

After I’m up and out of the the tent, I’ll plug my phone into the closet outlet (I’ve been lucky so far with places to charge up my phone) while I prep breakfast. I don’t want to rely on coffee to get going, so I avoid it unless I’m having a particularly rough day. Breakfast generally consists of oatmail with ground flax, chia, hemp hearts, mashed banana and peanut butter. Once or twice I’ve gone off the deep end and gorged on convenience store donuts or a muffin- in which case I slugged down a greens-n-protein shake beforehand to not totally deprive my body of nutrition. After breakfast, I’ll wipe out my dishes and pull out the snacks I’ll eat before my lunch stop. Usually it’s a Larabar or trailmix. Depending on the proximity of stores, it may be fresh fruit.

After breakfast, I pack up my tent. I usually wait to do this to TRY to allow some of the dew to evaporate off before I stuff it into its bag. My tent goes into a dry bag that I place across the top of my rack and saddle bags and is strapped into place with a bungee cord.

It seems no matter how early I wake up, I never get out of camp and onto the road any earlier than 6:30am. As hard as it is to get up and moving in the morning, this time of day is my absolute favorite to ride in. The wind is almost never strong this early in the morning and the traffic is light or non-existent as well. There’s an air of optimism for the day and excitement to see what will unfold.

I usually try to get part way through a map segment (about 15 miles or so) before my first stop. I’ll flip the map if I need to, drink extra fluids, maybe take a quick bite, quickly stretch and keep going. How long I stop depends on how many photo stops I’ve already had by this point.;)When I decided I’d go on this trip, I knew I’d have to take it one day at a time. Realistically, it isn’t one day at a time or even one map at a time- it’s one map segment at a time. 15 miles? “I can do that.” Ok, another 12? “Sure.” 18 more. “I got that.”

Mostly I ride through back roads that are lightly-moderately traveled but there are some roads with more semi-trucks than I’d like. Cars and trucks generally give me a very wide clearance and I use my dork-tastic rearview mirror to see if any oncoming vehicles look like they may not get over so that I can bail toward the ditch.

The first few days I listend to A LOT of music. Now, I’m getting tired of hearing the same stuff over and over again. I’ll turn it on during a particularly difficult section or to drown out the sound of my bike yelling at me to fix it. Mostly I try to make sense of the noise in my head. When things get really monotonous, I make it a point to notice the beauty around me- even when there isn’t much beauty at first glance.

Depending on how it coincides with a town, I’ll stop between 12 and 1 to eat lunch. If I’m disciplined, I’ll go cheap and eat my apple and peanut butter with a protein shake. If I’m super hungry, I’ll stop at a cafe (usually mexican in these parts). I like to order vegetable fajitas, because I can eat half and save the rest to add to dinner. I try to stop for at least an hour during lunch, depending on how long the ride is for the day. On the hottest days through Kansas, I’d break up my days a little differently. Ride, swim, eat, nap, ride, swim, set-up camp, eat, sleep. Not too shabby. People often complain about riding through Kansas, but having days like that was a blast. The hardest days were riding through Eastern Colorado (more on that later) where there was no place to stop and certainly no pools.

After 5-7 hours of riding, I ride into the town where I’ll camp. In Kansas, I camped at city parks for free. One night, a riding partner was gifted a motel room, and another I slept at a work camp. In Pueblo, I camped under a bouldering wall behind a church. I never know where I might sleep. I scope out the shower first (sometimes cold, sometimes hot, sometimes a pit bath) and then look for a plug-in for my phone. I look for a flat spot with as few rocks as possible and try to make sure I’m not in the firing line of any automatic sprinklers (made that mistake the first night). I set my tent up and place my saddle bags in my tent. I like to have all my belongings close to me in the night.

After everything is set up, I’ll make dinner. It’s usually parboiled brown rice and beans with whatever vegetables were cheapest at the grocery store. After cleanup, I’m usually ready for bed. One thing I didn’t expect about this trip is how exhausted I’d be. I thought I’d have time to read, update my journal, write lots of letters and maybe even blog. Sometimes, it’s all I can do to force myself to pull out my camera for a photo or to write a single card to put in the mail. Many times, I don’t do anything but brush my teeth and fall into “bed”. Sleep is something that hasn’t been an issue on this trip and that has been so refreshing. I often times struggle with my sleep, and working so hard during the day, going to bed when it’s dark and rising as it becomes light has definitely helped with that.

 At 4:45, my alarm goes off and I do it all over again!

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Bicyle tour packing list

Starting tomorrow, this will be my home for the next 2+ months. With the help of a few kind touring cyclists and some ultralight backpacking friends, I’ve whittled down the items I’ll be taking with me on my tour.

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Arkel waterproof handlebar bag

*a quick note about Arkel. I received a noticed from their customer service department stating that the bag I wanted was on backorder because they were currently going into production. I replied back stating that I was on a time crunch for an upcoming tour and they said they’d try to have it out as soon as possible. I checked in once more a few days later and the kind ladies in the customer service department spoke with the seamstress and had one  rush- finished and out the door the same day. Not only is Arkel’s customer service fantastic, but this handmade bag is amazing quality. I, HANDS DOWN, recommend this bag over any other*

Sea to summit 20L dry bag

Ortlieb waterproof panniers

     bag 1:

     bag 2:

  • Patagonia Down Sweater jacket
  • Therm-a-Rest NeoAir sleeping pad
  • medical kit
  • bulk food (parboiled brown rice, quick oats, peanut butter, crunchy chickpeas, trail mix, lentils, Vega protein powder)
  • REI 40+ sleeping bag
  • bike tools (Alien 2 multiool, spare links, 2 tubes, chain cleaner and lube)

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Laura is having a baby

Actually, that should read Laura is having another baby. You see, Laura was my second, ever paid photo comission. I photographed her beautiful belly when she was pregnant with TJ..when TJ was born, when he turned 1, at Christmas, and when he turned 2… Then I moved to Colorado. Laura and I have stayed in touch for the last few years and I am just delighted to have the chance to document the new addition to her family.

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just play

The number of images in this post exceed any other post by A LOT.  I just had such a hard time narrowing down my favorites. This session was a landmark one. It started out like a lot of other sessions, as you can see. Lovely posed shots, nothing at all wrong with them. But then the kids got restless as kids always do- so I decided to use my nanny experience, get on their level and just play. (novel idea, right?;))For over an hour we slid down slides, jumped up and down, raced across the lawn, climbed on hay bales and explored. Garage sale rainbow necklace, wrist full of friendship bracelets, skinned knees, bug bites, wind-blown hair and so much laughter. These images just tell the story of childhood so well and I love them so much. I hope you do too.

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