Krystal Hansen – One Tough Cookie

Krystal Hansen is one of our toughest Barefooters. Mentally & physically strong, Krystal always gives 100%, whether it’s on the mountain bike, in a group fitness class or climbing over obstacles in Tough Mudder. The best part about it, she’s always doing it with a massive smile on her face. We love hearing about her adventures whenever she is in the clinic, so we thought we’d ask her for some more details…

Most people head out to dinner for their birthday. Krystal spends hers mountain biking in New Zealand! We were keen to hear more about it…
March is one of the better months to go Mountain Biking in NZ and luckily this is my birthday month! For our first trip over, my riding buddies and I flew into Auckland and hired some vehicles to drive down to Rotorua. We mainly rode in the Redwood Forest in Rotorua, however, we also did some day trips to other places like part of the Great Lakes trail and Rainbow Mountain. We all had an absolute ball of a time and came back to Australia envious of the type of riding that NZ had to offer and keen to go again.

A year later on the second (birthday) trip, we based ourselves in Taupo and rode ‘Craters of the Moon’, the other trails at The Great Lakes and a 2-day trip along the Timber Trail. We finished the trip off back in Rotorua doing the Redwood Forest again.

I loved every moment over in NZ. It wasn’t just the great riding but also the feel from the towns. Some of these places (Rotorua especially) rely heavily on the income that Mountain Bike tourism brings into the town so they have great facilities for the mountain bikers and are very welcoming. Plus they have heaps of bike shops to go visit on your rest days!

What do you pack for an overseas mountain bike trip?

Well that is easy. For any trip I always make sure that I have 2 things: my passport and a credit card. These 2 things can get you out of any sticky situation! Obviously taking some other things along makes the trip easier. I do take my own bike across. You can hire bikes over there, however, I know how my bike reacts and performs which is important when you are riding terrain that you haven’t ridden before. The extra cost in my airfare for a second bag is a lot cheaper than the cost to hire a bike for the length of the trip.

Other items are: shoes, helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, gloves, at least 2 pairs of riding clothes (wash one pair, wear one pair), yellow sunglasses (normal
sunglasses are too dark for riding in the forest), hydration bag with 3L bladder, tools, some spare parts, and other stuff for maintaining the bikes while we are over there. On top of all this is also the normal stuff that you would take on a trip.

How did you originally become interested in Mountain Biking & what is the best way to get into the sport as a beginner?

For anyone who wants to try Mountain Biking, I would say first get yourself a half decent bike. One of my friends always says that the worst rider should have the best bike – meaning that when you make a mistake, a good bike might save you, whereas a poor bike will just kick you off. My other advice is to find some riding buddies. In my experience, mountain biking is a very social activity and a lot more fun if you are riding in a group. So even if you don’t know anyone else to ride with, there are heaps of facebook groups for you to join who do social rides. You can talk to the people at your local bike shop as they may also do shop rides that you can go along to. I’m part of a facebook group called “Brisbane Chicks Who Ride Bikes” and Bike Queensland also do Beginner Mountain Bike lessons. The main thing is to just get out there and try it.

What are other ways that you stay fit and injury free for this sport?
There are two parts to mountain biking: the physical side and the mental side. For the physical side, I (try to) cycle every day to work. It is a cheap option for me and keeps my legs use to the activity. I also go to the gym regularly for group classes and PT as this provides a bit of cross training and keeps my general fitness and strength up. Overall, my body tends to hold up pretty well with all that activity, however I still see Cherelle at Barefoot Physiotherapy and a massage therapist for tune ups.

Since mountain biking is also a big mental game, I try to hit the trails at least once a week. If I don’t and even if it is only 2 weeks between rides, I find myself losing my confidence and baulking at obstacles which then puts me off my game and sometimes causes me to fall off my bike and possibly get injured.

Thanks Krystal!