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Freehub Magazine: Stronger Together Identity and Endurance with Alexandera Houchin

It has taken time for Alexandera Houchin to weave layers of her identity together. First and foremost, Alexandera is an Ojibwe woman. She’s also an artist, a farmer, a mechanic, a cyclist and a person who cares deeply about her community on the Fond Du Lac reservation near Cloquet, Minnesota. “Stronger Together” takes an intimate look into Alexandera’s life while examining concepts of identity, forgiveness and what it means to merge seemingly different aspects of your soul in order to continue moving forward, one pedal stroke at a time.

See more at Freehub!

Waaseyaa: It is Bright – Alexandera Houchin, Her Life, and Her Chumba Cycles Stella MTB

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Waaseyaa: It is Bright – Alexandera Houchin, Her Life, and Her Chumba Cycles Stella MTB

Waaseyaa: it is bright, is light (as in the day), is radiant; it is sunny

It’s been a hard couple of years. Compounded self-doubt, emotional and physical abuse and income insecurity had me clinging to any bit of life I had within myself. I hadn’t really comprehended how I had gotten in that position in the first place. I remember years ago talking to someone who confided in me that she was in an abusive relationship. I’d been stone-cold in clarity when I told her to leave the fucker. She revealed that it was more complicated than that and, at that moment, I pitied her. Years later, I found myself in the same predicament; I was ashamed both for the lack of strength I had to leave my boyfriend and for my inability to listen to her. I’ve spent the last two years feeling like a swollen shell of myself.

Alexandera Houchin Reflects on Her Cover Photo in Freehub Magazine

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Alexandera Houchin Reflects on Her Cover Photo in Freehub Magazine

Our friend Alexandera Houchin sent us over an exciting email yesterday, celebrating her making the cover of Freehub Magazine’s latest issue. Here’s Freehub’s description of this issue:

“An unprecedented number of people are riding mountain bikes as an outlet for exercise and exploration and, as a result, discovering a truth we all eventually come to know: Every ride is an adventure. Freehub’s 12.4 edition is a celebration of this truth and a meditation on how adventure leads to discovery, both of the outside world and within oneself. In our cover story, ultra-endurance racer Alexandera Houchin writes about how her relationship with the bike has instilled a deeper understanding of her identity as a Native woman—and how she’s come to realize the act of racing is a ceremonial expression of her Ojibwe spirit. Transformative adventure pervades this book, with feature stories on a life-changing family bikepacking journey in the Alaskan wilderness and the existential reckonings of a rider attempting to clear a long-neglected trail in central Nevada’s remote Toiyabe Range. Welcome to Issue 12.4—a tribute to self-discovery and embracing the unknown.”

Read on below for Alexandera’s thoughts on this experience…

Alexandera Houchin’s New Custom Chumba Sendero Titanium and Terlingua Titanium Bikes

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Alexandera Houchin’s New Custom Chumba Sendero Titanium and Terlingua Titanium Bikes

Chumba Cycles has been supporting ultra-endurance and all-around badass athlete Alexandera Houchin for some time now, outfitting her with a variety of bikes for her endeavors. Yet with the announcement of Chumba’s in-house titanium manufacturing earlier this year, Mark and Vince, the owners of Chumba, wanted to get Alexandera on some new frames. You might recall our coverage of the Sendero Titanium from this year’s ENVE Builder Round Up. After the show, I reached out to Chumba to see if they’d share some photos of Alexandera’s new bikes, so let’s check them out below…

Alexandera Houchin in Bicycling Magazine

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Alexandera Houchin in Bicycling Magazine

“When I cross the line, people seem stunned”.

“The sun is beating down from a relentlessly blue sky on an 80-degree late-May afternoon in Emporia, Kansas. Alexandera Houchin is joking with her friends and supporters at the starting line of the Dirty Kanza XL, despite the fact that she’s just ridden her bike a few hundred miles through rain and mud from Iowa, napping under a highway overpass to get here on time. The laughter masks her misgivings about this race. It’s not because the DKXL is a notoriously difficult 542km ride through the steep and sharp Flint Hills of Kansas. It’s the race’s name, “Dirty Kanza,” that gets her. Kanza is a nickname for the Kaw Nation, the “People of the South Wind,” who lived in this region long before white settlers arrived. To preface that with “Dirty” shows a disconnect of the history of place that is ironic to Houchin, whose mother is Ojibwe.”

Check out more at Bicycling Magazine!

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Where the Water Ends: a Video Profile on Alexandera Houchin

The University of Minnesota – Duluth has pulled together an exceptional profile video on Alexandera Houchin, the SS TDR record holder. Check it out!

“After living thousands of miles away and spending time zig-zagging down the Continental Divide on bike, Alexandera Houchin’s homecoming is extra meaningful. Growing up, she never saw a Native American dentist or doctor, and decided to counter that with plans to practice dentistry on her reservation. Through her example, Alexandera envisions empowering the next generation to take care of its citizens. “If you can’t see it, how can you believe it?””

Ogichidaakwe: Alexandera Houchin’s Reflections on Her Tour Divide Race

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Ogichidaakwe: Alexandera Houchin’s Reflections on Her Tour Divide Race

Ogichidaakwe

I was always insecure about the fact that I was “uneducated” before I entered academia. Growing up in a trailer park and as the first person in my family to have ever attended a university, I was certain that I was something less than my entire life. The apple never falls far from the tree. And in attending University, I’ve learned that everything I was taught whilst growing up was lessons in obedience. I, an Anishinaabe woman, celebrated the Pilgrims at Thanksgiving time and Columbus on Columbus day. I always thought that I wasn’t Indian enough because I didn’t grow up on my reservation, I didn’t know my tribal language, and I didn’t look Indian. Tell me, what does an Indian look like? How could I trust a system that denied the lived history of my ancestors?

Change, Mourning, Love, Humility & Happiness: Stories from UNBOUND Gravel 2022

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Change, Mourning, Love, Humility & Happiness: Stories from UNBOUND Gravel 2022

It’s been over a decade since I’d been to Emporia to help establish Unbound Gravel’s Crew For Hire program. The world is a great deal different now. Having spoken at length with Kristi Mohn about things like generational change I was curious to see what, if any, of those changes had taken place in not just Emporia but also in the Unbound Gravel event itself. There was also the tragic passing of Moriah Wilson, the induction of the first class of the Gravel Hall of Fame, and a variety of other things going on that really made this year’s Unbound Gravel more significant than most.

Every day that I spent in Emporia had its own moments that showed me something new and unexpected. There were signs of the massive changes the cycling community, industry, and Emporia itself are going through. I witnessed grief, loss, love, and more. Throughout everything, there was one common theme: People who were doing the best they could.

Sink Into the Earth: Lael Wilcox Rides the 827 Mile Arizona Trail

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Sink Into the Earth: Lael Wilcox Rides the 827 Mile Arizona Trail

On April 12, 2022, Lael Wilcox set out to ride the 827-mile Arizona Trail faster than anyone had before. She completed her ride in 9 days, 8 hours, and 23 minutes on April 21. This is her story.

Note: Lael’s time is not recognized by the AZT Race administration which prohibits media coverage. The current official records: Men’s – Nate Ginzton – 9:10:44; Women’s – Chase Edwards – 10:18:59

Pedaling Through Trauma:  How Chase Edwards Set the 800-mile AZT Record While Healing from a Mental Health Crisis

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Pedaling Through Trauma: How Chase Edwards Set the 800-mile AZT Record While Healing from a Mental Health Crisis

Ahead of me, the Arizona Trail snaked into the forest, disappearing behind the shadow of ponderosa pines, and re-emerging in a stretch of marsh lit by a sliver of moon. I dismounted my bike and plunged off a muddy bank onto a log submerged in stagnant water. After seven scorching days racing through southern Arizona, this riparian zone on the rugged southeast flank of the Colorado Plateau offered a reprieve from the harsh Sonoran desert, but without the constant pricks and jolts from agave, cholla, and cat’s claw to center on, my mind wandered where I didn’t want it to go.

It was November 2nd, or maybe 3rd, depending on whether or not the clock had struck midnight yet. I didn’t care. This time last year, I was deep in the relentless clutches of psychosis, and moving my body outside, no matter the time of day, made wrangling with grief and humiliation easier.

May You Have Cool Temps, Tacos, and Tailwinds, Andy and Kevin!

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May You Have Cool Temps, Tacos, and Tailwinds, Andy and Kevin!

This summer has been a torrent of visitors rolling through Santa Fe either on road trips or bike tours and this week, we had a full house with two guests spending the night before rolling south. Andy and Kevin are from the DC area and returned to New Mexico to travel south to Las Cruces over the next nine days. On their way out of town, I took some quick photos of their setups, fully loaded with water, their gear, and some extra pizza from our dinner the night before. I know how much people love to see bikes all rigged out, so check out some quick “Fully Loaded” detail photos below, along with a portrait shot with our other special guest this week…

The Stooge Scrambler Review: Evolution of the Modern Klunker

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The Stooge Scrambler Review: Evolution of the Modern Klunker

Rigid bikes. The roots of riding off-road, yet now the arena of weirdos, quacks, and masochists. Mountain biking started out long before telescoping forks and complex linkage designs, but the bikes of those early days are now a far cry from the activity most consider “mountain biking”.

Of course, those weirdos, quacks, and masochists still have a place in this world, and it turns out I’m one of them. It wasn’t always this way. I used to ride and write about my experience with suspension mountain bikes as a full time job. I could go on all day about spring curves and axle paths, dampers and volume spacers, sag and suspension setup.

But, in the past five or so years, my focus has shifted. I’d rather spend a weekend riding to small places and sleeping out under the stars than shuttling the local loamers and crushing parking lot beers. And in that time I’ve come to value a mountain bike that requires less maintenance.

Having ridden a lot of high end suspension bikes, I know what it takes to keep them running tip top – and I just don’t have the facilities to do that at home, nor the money to pay someone else to do it. A rigid bike makes sense for my sometimes bi-weekly, sometimes monthly mountain bike hobby.

The Radavist’s Top Articles of 2020

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The Radavist’s Top Articles of 2020

Coming off a week of downtime after one of the most tumultuous years of our lives has brought clarity to this annual retrospective. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect as Covid-19 gripped the global community and changed life as we know it. We looked to our new home in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the surrounding areas for inspiration, pinged our good friends for their penmanship, and listened to communities that have been underrepresented in cycling. What resulted were a lot of articles that tackled some big issues and the realization that we still have a lot of work to do.

I’ve spent the past few weeks mulling over our content and have compiled a list of some of the most meaningful and fun pieces from the past twelve months.  Read on below for a selection of memorable moments from 2020, in chronological order…

The Radavist’s 2019 Photographic Year in Review

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The Radavist’s 2019 Photographic Year in Review

Where do we even begin with this post? 2019 was a year that defies all previous efforts here at the Radavist. Never have the pages of this site been graced with more exceptional photography and words! While we’re known for our full-res galleries, we really made a push to include exceptional writing this year. While this isn’t a top ten list, we’ve highlighted some of the exceptional work below. Stories that really stood out from our normal, year-to-year Reportage. Or if you’re a nostalgist, simply flip through the mega-gallery. Keep in mind, this one will take a bit to load!

I speak for everyone here at the Radavist when I say I can’t wait for 2020! Your feedback last week really helped all of us hone our vision and where we should direct our pens and our lens glass.

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Watch “I Just Want to Ride” a Tour Divide Film from PEARL iZUMi HERE!

Rugile Kaladyte‘s film, “I Just Want to Ride”, documents Lael Wilcox’s love for the Tour Divide for PEARL iZUMi. This video was documented by Rue and Jay Ritchey.

Relive this amazing experience here and be sure to check out our Reportage from this year’s event if you haven’t already:
Tour Divide Race: Part 1
Tour Divide Race: Part 2
Tour Divide Race: Part 3
Tour Divide Race: Part 4
Tour Divide Race: Part 5
2019 Tour Divide Race: Behind the Scenes Interviews
Ogichidaakwe: Alexandera Houchin’s Reflections on Her Tour Divide Race

2019 Tour Divide Race: Part 5

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2019 Tour Divide Race: Part 5

Tour Divide Race: Part 5

Words by Spencer Harding

We wake up with dew covering our tents and sleeping bags just on the south side of La Manga Pass in northern New Mexico.  We send Lael on her way as we start our seven-hour journey to jump ahead and try to catch Chris Seistrup at the head of the pack.  As we roll through the outskirts of Albuquerque it seems impossibly hot after almost two weeks high in the mountains.  As we approach Silver City a massive monsoon is building up over the Gila National Forest, no chance the leaders are staying dry out there.  Over a late dinner, we watch Chris’ spot tracker go stagnant and decided to wait until he rolls into town in the morning.