We are pleased to welcome new Salsa sponsored rider, Krystal Salvent, to our team. Krystal is a relative newcomer to the cycling world who’s taken quite a unique path to find it. Her love for cycling and helping others discover and experience all that the bicycle can offer have become a driving passion for her, and we look forward to sharing her message. Enjoy getting to know Krystal a bit via the interview below, and follow her on Instagram (@krystalsalvent)
SALSA – Please tell us a bit about yourself, your upbringing, and where you live now?
KRYSTAL – I'm a first-generation daughter to young immigrant parents. My mother is Puerto Rican-Dominican and my father is Cuban-Mexican. I grew up in New Jersey with my three brothers, and I have a half-sister whom I met later in life. Growing up, I experienced many challenges including living in a disinvested community and having an abusive parent. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger but moreover resilient.
Living in a disinvested community, the big three—basketball, baseball and football—were the sports available to me and my brothers. I wasn’t too keen on any of the big three and spent most of my time running. Growing up my brothers would call me “Baby Lightning” because I would spend hours just running around the neighborhood, but mostly sprinting away from them because I knew they couldn’t catch me.
At 17 I moved to Manhattan to pursue a career that started in Medicine and ended in Dentistry. I continued to run recreationally until my mid-twenties, when I took it more seriously and started to race. Having the itch to travel, I always planned my races around places I wanted to visit. My interest in sports grew and I got certified in personal training and a few other modalities. As a form of cross training, I started “spinning” and would ride indoors to supplement my running in the winter. Riding turned into teaching and this is where bikes became an important part of my life.
I moved to Colorado two years ago to take training more seriously, and in the process, I fell in love with mountains. I needed a break from the go-go-go of NYC life and Colorado has given me the chance to refocus my energy on the things that are important and ground me: cycling, being outdoors with my dog, Latte, and discovering new ways to find adventure.
Photo: Eric Arce
SALSA – What was your path into cycling?
KRYSTAL – While working as a fitness professional in NYC teaching spin classes, I was recovering from an injury and had a desire to explore the world beyond the concrete jungle. A dear friend encouraged me to take “spinning" outside. In true Krystal spirit, I dove right in and signed up for the TNT America’s Most Beautiful Ride with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society, a 100-mile ride around Lake Tahoe—even though I didn’t own a bike or know how to ride a bike (that wasn’t stationary).
SALSA – Can you share a bit on the how, when and where that your cycling skills really progressed?
KRYSTAL – When I first started my journey I was overly confident as a novice rider. I didn’t understand how different outdoor riding would be and the skills it would require. Moving to Colorado was a big jump in progression, since I also had to navigate elevation and bike handling on gravel. In the same breath, I took on another discipline, mountain biking, which came with its own set of skills and challenges. My skills are still progressing but I certainly am not satisfied, and I am always pushing myself to get better, especially as I move through different disciplines and landscapes.
SALSA – How would you describe your riding style?
KRYSTAL – I don’t know if I have a “style.” I like being good at a lot of things; it keeps me excited about life. One of my mantras is, “Not all who wander are lost.” So if going wherever the adventure takes me is a style, file me under that.
SALSA – Imagine we are in a post-COVID world, you’ve got 3 days off work and a stellar weather pattern has taken hold. What’s your plan?
KRYSTAL – Call all the friends because we are going bikepacking!
SALSA – There’s been a huge uptick in new cyclists lately. What is your message to them about the possibilities that the bike offers for their lives?
KRYSTAL – The possibilities are limitless. Start for fun or do it for sport. Have a goal or have the goal be just to get up and pedal. It’s the beginning—let it be fun, let your body and energy guide what it looks like. Adventure is quite literally anywhere and everywhere when you have a bike.
I encourage you to find a local shop or virtual classes where you can educate yourself on the basics such as what you’ll need to carry at all times, how to change flats, etc. so you feel more confident riding. It makes a world of a difference. Also, go out and make some friends! There are so many groups excited to bring new members into the cycling community and share the joy of riding. At first it can all seem incredibly daunting but I promise, keep pedaling and you won’t regret it.
Photo: Dana Gautschi
SALSA – Gelato or ice cream? Poutine or French fries? Brussels sprouts or cranberries?
KRYSTAL – ALWAYS Ice Cream (I have a lot of opinions on ice cream which we talk about in another interview), French fries, and Brussels sprouts. But only Brussels sprouts if they’ve been sauteed in bacon!
SALSA – Any additional thoughts to all the folks out there reading this?
KRYSTAL - What comes to mind is “just keep pedaling…”. I know, I know...but stay with me. Falling, failing, the unknown is so SO hard and so uncomfortable but there is so much to learn and experience on the other side. I think it's easy to get bogged down when we don’t get it the first, second, or third time. But if you can hold on for just a little longer, you are that much closer to the moment when it all clicks. I’m not going to pretend cycling is easy. I’ll be the first to share my stories of road rash, bumps and bruises—my battle wounds. But here’s the thing: all wounds heal. Just like life, it’s going to kick your butt at times and there’ll be just as many times where your face hurts from smiling!
SALSA – Where can folks follow you on social media?
KRYSTAL – I use Instagram a lot (@krystalsalvent), so feel free to connect with me there.
Photo: Emily Sierra
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Referred to as Talent, Athlete and Latina Extraordinaire, I often quote “Not all who wander are lost” because life is about the journey, the adventure, and the discovery.