Bike Fort Collins first launched You Know Me. I Ride a Bike. back in 2009, where we featured local residents, for whom riding bikes is big part of their life in a broader awareness campaign. Beginning in 2021, we are excited to reintroduce this bio-series, where we feature one new Fort Collins resident each month here on our news-blog/website, as well as through The Pedal Post eNewsletter and our social channels, highlighting their love for bikes. Please join us, as we hear their stories and learn more about these remarkable folks who live and ride right here in our community.
September 2021: Kristen Arnold
….by Anna Kelso, BFC Community Relations Coordinator
Sitting down with Kristen Arnold on her final day of intervals for the season and, in fact, her racing career, was a timely opportunity to reflect on her past 6 years of professional racing and where she aims to go from here. A professional road cyclist and registered dietitian/sports nutritionist, Kristen enjoys the bike loving community she has found since moving to Fort Collins two years ago and has quickly sunk her roots deep in the two wheeled culture that puts our town on the map. (photo credit: SnowyMountain Photography)
Not having been involved in sports as a child, Kristen stumbled into the world of cycling at the urging of a family she babysat for. They loaned her bikes and took her on rides and it wasn’t too long before Kristen’s latent athletic talent bubbled to the surface. A natural athlete (as it turns out), Kristen quickly made her way through the ranks of USA Cycling and onto the women’s professional circuit with her breakthrough season in 2015. Her race resume includes teams such as Amy D Foundation, Veloclassic p/b Stans NoTubes, ButcherBox Cycling, and Wolfpack p/g JAKROO. The Butcherox Cycling team was particularly triumphant for Kristen as they are the first US team to offer equal pay to their male and female riders. Kristen’s primary objective throughout her racing career was to contribute to a strong and powerful team that worked well together in the pursuit of winning bike races. After 6 years of racing on the professional circuit, she has successfully actualized these ambitions.
A natural leader, Kristen was an active community organizer in Columbus, Ohio where she worked for environmental groups targeting climate change and social environmental justice. She has transferred her same leadership skills and passion into her cycling career by forming groups such as the Lady Gnar Shredders in 2014. Kristen saw a need for more opportunities and resources to help women get into the sport of cycling. For Kristen, this is one of her most notable achievements as it successfully provided a platform for women to find their way into bike racing (road, cyclocross, and mountain biking). As an organization, the Lady Gnar Shredders went on to hold the first ever Women’s Midwest Road Race Championship.
Emboldened by the experiences she gained through bike racing, Kristen is inspired to guide other women in the world of competitive cycling. Similar to her own background, Kristen recognizes that young girls often do not have the exposure to life lessons learned through competitive sport. Introducing girls to bike racing offers them an opportunity to not only learn how to succeed, but also how to persevere through failure and defeat – learning from a loss, pushing through challenges, and finding success on the other side all while prioritizing health and wellness. Bike racing isn’t only fun, it is a metaphor for life and building life skills for success and self actualization. Kristen strives to bridge this gap for girls and young women alike.
With Kristen’s final season of professional racing coming to an end, she looks forward to having the time to put more of her energy back into the community, paying forward all the support she has so graciously received over the years. With her new found time she aims to dedicate more of her expertise to local organizations such as the Fort Follies and Sendtown Bike Club, particularly mentoring girls and young women finding their way into cycling and removing barriers to entry.
Looking back on the 2021 race calendar, Kristen’s top three highlights include: Maintaining 3rd in the team overalls for the USACRITS series, Placing top 15 at Athens Twilight Criterium, and Completing the entire USACRITS series. Finishing up the year at the USACRITS Finale, Winston Salem International Criterium Challenge on September 25th, Kristen will close one chapter and begin the next.
Kristen, Bike Fort Collins wishes you all the best as you wrap up your final season and we look forward to cheering you on in your next chapter! Thank you for all you do for the sport of cycling and the women finding their way.
Name and age: Kristen Arnold, 31
What do you do for a living? Sports Dietitian, Cycling Coach, National-level cyclist
How long have you lived in Fort Collins? 2 years
How long have you been riding? 10 + years
What kind of riding do you do? road, mountain biking, gravel, commuting
Do you commute via bike? yes, for errands and around town
Why do you ride? for fun, fitness, and competition
What kind(s) of bike(s) do you ride? road, mountain, gravel, commuter
What would you like to tell someone who is thinking about starting to ride a bike? Wear a helmet, please!
What makes you smile when you’re on your bike? going fast, riding with friends
What got you into riding your bike? Was there a specific moment/experience? I commuted to school in Undergrad to save money on parking. I started racing after borrowing a bike from family friends and joining a cyclocross practice for fun.
Where is your favorite place to ride? Red Feather, Colorado. I am a big fan of Bike Sports Gravel Graceland Routes!
What are the biggest improvements you’ve seen for bicycling in Fort Collins? The 3ft to pass signs are so wonderful! These are much more informative and helpful than the ‘share the road’ signs.
What gets you on your bike on a cold, rainy, crummy day? Shoe covers. They are so helpful.
How often do you ride your bike (vs. drive)? Generally I will ride to anything 3 miles or less to get to.
Did you enjoy reading about Kristen? Read about other inspiration individuals just like her who ride bikes here.