Kathryn Ramsey seeks the soul-healing abilities of the saddle.
Grief is one of those mysterious black clouds that comes at us in different ways. For some, it creeps around the corner and slowly descends down onto our shoulders. For others, it attacks from the front with a strong punch. Perhaps that’s why we all deal with this ambiguous monster in myriad ways, from retreating to the bed to searching for religion to doing something different with our lives. Or, as in the case of Kathryn Ramsey, riding a bike for 2745 miles.
Ramsey lost her son Chris two years prior in a tragic car accident. Chris was an accomplished writer, musician, and gymnast, and losing him was devastating. To help process her grief, Ramsey set her sights on riding the Tour Divide, an epic mountain bike race along the continental divide beginning in Banff, Canada and ending at the border of Mexico. The ride is usually solo, and cyclists must find their own housing along the way. Known as one of the most challenging off-pavement cycling routes, much of the route is unmarked with nearly 200,000 feet of vertical climbs.
But for Ramsey, it wasn’t just about losing herself in the ride. It was also about honoring her son. To do so, she wanted to benefit the gym at which Chris spent so much of his time. So she set up a GoFundMe Campaign called the RideForChris, in which she encouraged donors to contribute funding for equipment for Bitterroot Gymnastics.
To fully commemorate her son and family while training for the ride, Ramsey reached out to Circa Cycles, a company that creates fully customized road bikes. Circa spent several weeks learning about Ramsey and her other two Wyoming cowboy sons. She gave them photos, napkin sketches, and told stories about Chris and her family. The team then created a graphic language that would define Ramsey’s bike. They named the bike “Medicine,” which came from the Navajo Medicine Wheel, a spiritual map of Navajo philosophy. Circa then translated this aesthetic to a full custom cycling kit for Ramsey, as well as her friends and family.
Ramsey began her journey of Tour Divide with a rough start, battling pneumonia and giardia, and she’s now receiving treatment for both. We wish Ramsey all the best and hope that this experience brings her adventure, challenges, escape, and peace.