My name is Katrina Nowak and I am 16 years old. I live in Houston, TX – which isn’t the easiest place to train for riding over mountains! I chose to do Ride the Rockies because I love a challenge. This is my first time doing RTR and I am very excited, but also nervous. A ride this long initially sounded very intimidating. But my brother and sister have already done it. Why not me too?

I usually run varsity track and cross-country, so I
have lots of endurance and power. How hard can it be? There was one small detail. I didn’t even have my own “teenager size” bike. I outgrew my kiddie bike a long time ago. My mom and I have done lots of rides on the tandem over the last 10 years, but I hadn’t actually been riding on my own.

It was the night of RTR 2018 registration. I heard my mom calling friends all over the country trying to see who might go with her this year. No luck. She sort of had that sad puppy dog face, contemplating a lonely ride or not going at all. “Mom? I was thinking I could go except…I don’t want to go on the tandem…and…” (I just sort of left it hanging there.) “Oh, do you want a new bike?” (SCORE!!!) A few moments later, we were registered. A few moments after that…”What have I done?!”

We did get the bike…then I spent the next 3 hours going about 3 feet. Oh no! I had forgotten how to ride a bike!!! Kindergartners on my street were giving me strange looks as they rode by. But I was determined. By the end of the day, I could ride to the end of the street without putting my foot down. Woo hoo!

While things are very busy with high school projects to finish and exams to study for, I am working hard on training for this ride.