When I get Kim on the phone, I can hear the voices of her son and husband teetering in the background. They are in the middle of a big family road trip, a winding-down for Kim after completing the manuscript of her book – a narrative nonfiction account of the biggest tornado outbreak in the history of recorded weather. As soon as the book was turned in, she, her husband Eddie, and their six year old son strapped their bikes to their car and hit the road in search of some good off-road biking and to visit some friends and family. As she speaks to me, they are on their way from Durango to Santa Fe after visiting Shonny Vanlandingham, big-name mountain biker and triathlete and the family's close friend. While Kim sounds a bit frazzled after her busy day, I sense that I'm speaking to the woman in her ideal state: on the move, exploring a new place, packed tightly with her husband and son and the family bikes, a finished book and a long day of riding lying in her trail.
So my classic story is that within my first eight times on a mountain bike, I was on the Slickrock Trail in Moab in clipless pedals, bleeding and crying. It was a little rough. I was just too stubborn to quit, but I was definitely not good at all when I started, I just refused to give up.
I recently found a letter I wrote to myself in high school where the teacher asks you to write, what do you want to be doing in 10 years? And I wrote, I'm going to be the editor of a science magazine! And I found it, and I was an editor of a science magazine. And then I quit my job because I wasn't writing enough. I was sitting in a lot of meetings and assigning and editing, which was great, but I just wanted to write. I love telling stories, and I love making sentences.
The Ride Leader
I actually recruited a friend of mine to lead it because part of my thing is, I don't feel like I'm always the expert, I like to sort of round up the sister riders and round up the expert, and put them together. Vero Vanblaere is an artist who started doing this Le Tour de Ham ride. It's on a weeknight after work each week, and it's just like a 10 mile joy ride downtown that's grown to around 80 people. So I thought maybe I'll get Vero to lead it, because I don't know this route, I don't ride this route, I don't consider myself an expert on riding in the city of Birmingham. So I let her lead it, and I just sort of organized the event and got everyone there. We made it a skirt ride, so everyone wore skirts! I think one woman brought her adult son and was like, "Is it ok if I bring him?" And I said, "Yes – he can't half wheel us though!"