Team Bio: Heather Krauss

imageI’ve always loved riding a bike and dreamt of racing bikes as a kid. I regaled at sprinting my banana seat bike up and down the neighborhood, but what I really wanted was one of those awesomely cool Schwinn 10 speeds, or even better a Bianci. There was a little Bianci store in my city that I always wanted to visit, but I only saw it as we drove by during the occasional run to McDonalds for a Big Mac. When I was in junior high, I finally was given a K-Mart special, 10 speed (5 in the back) with drop handle bars and index shifting. I would challenge myself by riding up Chapman Ave which thanks to STRAVA, today I know that it is 0.7 miles long (the steep part), with a 255 ft elevation gain. All I knew back then was, it was steep and hard, and making it to the top without stopping was the prize. I should go back and ride it some time.
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Well that beautiful bike was stolen, and I didn’t have another one to call my own for a long time. On my twenty first birthday I moved to France with my dad, and I inherited a Schwinn Le Tour II from his girlfriend! I rode that bike plenty for the next 8 years until I returned to California with my German husband, leaving that bike behind. ¬†Eventually I bought a crossover bike that I used to commute and rode for fun and fitness. Then one of my sisters offered me her Diamondback suspension-less mountain bike and I began to explore the trails near my neighborhood. Next thing I knew I met another mom who had a real mountain bike and we began to ride together venturing on to the trails near Rancho Santa Margarita. Another mom was invited to go on our weekly rides, and the idea was hatched to start a women’s mountain bike club. We were out riding when we came up with the name of our nascent club, the ‘Trail Angels’. My next bike was an inexpensive full suspension Specialized. Our club grew, we became proficient mountain bikers and many of us tried out racing, both cross country and downhill. Before long I needed a much better mountain bike so I swapped out my horse (literal horse, not the heavy mtb) for a new Specialized racing machine. Then I realized that the best way to improve my speed and endurance would be to train on the road, thus I needed a real road bike. It wasn’t too long, and that stiff aluminum bike was upgraded to a carbon bike that I bought used from my BSG (bike shop guy). It was a top of the line Trek 5500 with brand new Dura Ace, what a bike. So I mountain bike raced, did endurance events, did some road racing, criteriums, time trials and hard core climbing centuries. I was really into cycling but when we moved to SD county in 2004, cycling began to take a back seat and eventually I rode only once or twice a month. In the meantime, my husband began cycling and got serious about it, and in June 2012 he asked me to do a charity ride. There I met some local women cyclists who invited me to come ride with them, and I was hooked once again. Cycling is good for the body and the soul, and I had really missed the social aspect of riding with others. Here we are, a year and a half later, and cycling again is providing me with a wonderful group of friends and keeping me fit for all my other outdoor interests including hiking, backpacking, climbing, snowshoeing, back country skiing, alpine skiing, mountaineering…if it’s outside, let’s go do it!

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