Giving Thanks

While we all should probably express our thanks more often than we do, the first necessity is recognizing that we have reasons to be thankful in the first place.

My hope is that you recognize it in your own lives. I assure you that I am quite aware of it in mine, though I will admit we all need reminding at times.

Some years back, a coworker and I were just finishing up a bike ride in Denali National Park. Because of a closed road, we were literally the only people on the park road that day, and we’d seen some amazing wildlife, including a lynx and several bull moose. As we were loading our fat bikes back into our vehicle, a park ranger stopped to ask us what we’d seen that day. During the conversation, I told the officer, “You live in an incredibly beautiful place.” To which he replied, “Thanks for reminding me.”

That story is a simple reminder to me to recognize the things you should appreciate and be thankful for…and now, it is perhaps a simple reminder to you.

Among the great many blessings in my life are quite a few that relate to working for Salsa. And one of the blessings in that Salsa subcategory is that of dealing with our sponsored riders.

As with any group of individuals, they are a widely varied lot in so many ways. Some are more serious than others, some funnier, some crazier, some quieter, others louder…you get the picture. Yet all of them also share some important traits.

They are helpful, welcoming, and encouraging.

They want to share their knowledge and experiences.

They believe that bicycles can help provide amazing, enriching, life-changing experiences.

I’m thankful to have learned a great deal from each and every one of them.

And that brings me to the real reason for this post.

Today, we welcome our latest sponsored rider, Crystal Kovacs of Bloomington, Wisconsin, to the Salsa team.

I’ll let Crystal introduce herself:

If life as a traveling photographer for 40 weeks a year taught me nothing else it was to be adaptable, quick to make decisions and able to pick a course and stay to it. I’ve pretty much always lived my life by taking chances and “just going”. I’ve never had a corporate job, time clock or upper management meetings. I’ve had customers, adventures, broken down vehicles when I needed that the least, and rice, sometimes lots of rice. Little did I know all of these would be traits that I would use in cycling.

I grew up with quarter horses. My family took 30 days every summer, loaded up the truck and trailer and headed west. We packed horses into the Bighorn and Teton mountains. I had no idea at the time what a powerful gift my parents were giving me and what a seed they were planting inside my head. How many people can say they’ve eaten fresh trout from the stream they are camped by and watched 200 elk drink from the mountain stream? I can, and I am thankful for that adventuresome spirit.

I came to bicycling in my 40s. Like most people I think I spent my 20s and 30s growing my career as a photographer and being a parent. Somewhere along the way the inner adventurer and athlete in me was put on the back burner. As my children grew, we were trying to find ways to connect with them and be able to participate with them, not from the sidelines. We purchased bikes in 2015.  My first bike since I was ten years old was a hybrid, but I had no idea what to even answer when they asked the stock questions in the bike shop: “Where did I want to ride? What kind of surface would I be on? How long would I ride?” Upon trying it out we quickly figured out that the hybrid was not the bike for me. I saw a Mukluk in our local bike shop and said, “I want to try that fat tire bike”. That turned out to be the best decision, and most expensive words spoken to date. Literally, a permagrin emerged on my face and our family hobby was born! If we could pedal, our fatties would go, and go we did. Our family tries to do two to three events together each year and take a two-week long vacation with our bikes.

I think everyone has an inner voice that says, “I need to have adventure in my life”. Cycling was how I was able to hear that voice and embrace the course it has taken me on. Cycling has taught me humility, grace, endurance and the ability to push myself further than I ever thought was possible. Cycling has also taught me that there is a pride that comes when you finish what you once thought was impossible. It’s an adrenaline rush unlike no other. I can’t imagine my life without bikes in it.

My bicycles have given me the ability to redefine and find myself.  Since I began cycling three years ago, I’ve lost 70 pounds. But it’s about more than the physical part of it. Cycling has also given me the ability to spend time with my family in an environment that is just us. There are no outside distractions. My bike adventure has truly opened my eyes to the beauty that exists in our National Forests and BLM land if you are simply willing to go find it.

One of my main goals with the upcoming year is to help inspire other novice cyclists.  If I can do this so can anyone else. I want everyone that wants to try cycling to step up and do so!

Welcome aboard, Crystal. I look forward to learning from you, just as I’ve learned from all of our other riders.




Please read this:

This post will undoubtedly cause our email boxes to swell with sponsorship requests. Please note, we are not taking sponsorship requests at this time, but will be announcing a sponsorship application window soon. Please hold off until that time! Thank you.

This post filed under topics: Kid Salsa Crew Sponsored Riders

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Mike Riemer

Mike Riemer

I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.


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