Steep cliffs, roots, rocks, long ass up hills, fun fast downhills. Yeap, this is Iowa my friends. Not the descriptor usually used when talking about this vast farmland state but I’d bet you’ve never been to Decorah. In my opinion It’s pretty much the Vermont of the Midwest.
I’ve mountain biked there once before but never under the guidance of one of the most rad, community gathering, Pugsley Worlds (winter bike race in the dead of winter in the snow on fat bikes, yes, amazing) riding, biggest bike enthusiasts I’ve met yet, Josie Smith.
But let's back up a minute. How did we meet? Well, through the strange and ever connecting ways of the (bike)world, our paths crossed, which I am damn thankful and even more grateful for. After talking with Josie about my trip, she, in full on Josie community gathering style, asked to interview me for her blog, Josie’s Bike Life. On her blog she asks other female bikers questions that can haunt us all, like how do you overcome challengers or biffs? And what do you do to get back on the bike after these biffs? Her goal is to get other badass chicks on the bike, I’m down with that! Did I mention, she’s interviewed killer bikers like Britney White.
I was totally on board for the interview but also made sure that Josie would become a stop on my trip, I had to ride with her. As my travels progressed and I landed in Decorah I became anxious and a bit nervous to ride. The trails in Decorah are steep, rooted, rocked out and with plenty of ledges to tumble to ones broken demise. To add another challenge for riding we met at the trailhead at the butt crack of dawn, I'm not a morning person. I'm not evil (that special talent comes out bout midday!!) just nonfunctioning. I was happy to hear Josie enjoys morning as much as myself, after a sleepy hug of hello, we hit it. I tried to keep up with her mad climbing but ended up cursing the bike gods as I pushed my monkey up most of the hills but my curses quickly turned into evil (midday?!?) cackles of laugher as we blazed down the steep gnarly bliss of the downhill. Once my legs woke we became perfectly synced in singletrack flow. We did have a few biffs (especially me) but ya know it’s a good day in the saddle when you finish the ride with bit of blood running down your knee. Hot damn!
I gotta say, I was impressed and stoked with Josie’s riding, she’s only a few years in and killing it. To boot she’s a great person and real. A few days later we sat around talking bikes at a local beer pub with her boyfriend Travis, who owns Decorah Bicycle Shop where Josie also works, we really got to know each other. I may say this over and over but these are the moments I cherish. The moments that I take with me, that impact, influence me to keep going. I am so lucky to not just meet people but get to see their life, community and the fire in their eyes!!!
If you would like to Donate to Case Of The Nomads here's a new link, makes it easy!!! Thank you!!