Chritine (Tina) Stone, 51 years young, and living in Vernon, CT.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Family? Career? Where do you live?

Chritine (Tina) Stone, 51 years young, and living in Vernon, CT.

I work for myself now after leaving a big job where my health and mental wellness were put on the back burner. This led to burnout and a struggle for several years with major depression. I came to realize money is great, but it is not everything. Living life to the fullest far outweighs it. I now do in-home pet sitting and run a hobby business called Castledog Designs where I hand-make all kinds of dog collars, leashes, crate pads, and tug toys.

How did you get into cycling?

I have always loved being on a bike since I was a kid and was an avid cyclist through college. I even rode the 100-mile V2V ride run by the old Vernon Bike Store when I was in High School. After College, the bikes for the most part collected dust. I got back into cycling about 13 years ago and now it’s hard to keep me off a bike.

Tell us about your bikes.

2013 Cannondale Hi-Mod Synapse – this is the road bike that I haven’t ridden in like 3 years and doesn’t have a lot of miles on it. Been waiting to trade this in for a faster gravel bike once the bike I want comes back in stock.

2015 Salsa Vaya – got this bike after doing my first bike tour in 2014 on a bike not built for it. This is my go-to bike on all terrains. It is so comfortable and stable and has well over 30,000 miles on it.

2021 Salsa Fargo – the latest edition to the fleet. This is my bikepacking bike and all-around gravel bike. This bike is so much fun and can handle anything you throw at it. Although not overly fast, it is a beast. Hence her name Lucy The Dragonslayer

Tell us about your favorite adventure/race?

For me, every adventure becomes a favorite so this is a tough question. Some of my favorites are:

East Coast Greenway Calais, ME to Vernon, CT

Shenandoah, Blue Ridge, Smoky Mountains

Erie Canal

C & O and GAP Trail

Green Mountain Loop – VT

Adirondack Loop – NY

Vermont Overland in 2021

 

What is your favorite route you have done to date? Why?

I have fallen in love with gravel riding over the last several years as I love to get away and emerge myself in Nature.

In New England my favorites to get out and do are:

Ashford Adventure Ride

Any of the D2R2 routes

Falls Village 48 – this route goes up Mt Riga Rd which is amazing

What would you tell someone starting to get into bike-packing races?

1. Be mentally and physically prepared for every scenario imaginable

2. Be comfortable enough to fix flats, chain issues, derailleur adjustments, and brake adjustments.

3. Do a bunch of shake-out rides on all kinds of terrain especially rough terrain to make sure your gear and kit are dialed in. Also, ride in all kinds of weather conditions.

4. Do proper route planning ahead of time. Know your resupply points and places to stay. Most races do not have cell service most of the time so prior planning is crucial.

5. Lights are important and I would recommend 1 for the handlebars, and 1 for the helmet. Downhill in the dark on rough terrain that helmet is going to help see into the corner.

6. Be comfortable with primitive camping and being alone in the woods at night.

7. Know ahead of time what foods are going to work for you. Bikepacking races involve a lot of gas station food and take more with you than you think you need.

8. Most important have fun!!!

This year was my first attempt at bikepacking racing like a total rookie on the TransVA550 route and I made rookie mistakes. My biggest mistakes were last-minute adjustments to my gear, sending 1 of my lights home the day before, food choices when I lost my appetite due to the heat, and not taking enough with me for the next stretch and the big one was not paying attention to weather conditions causing me to get caught in 10 hours of torrential rain in the middle of the woods causing all kinds of bike issues.

This will not be the first or last event I do. My dream is to ride the Great Divide and these events will hopefully get me there feeling confident and ready.

Tell us something you love doing outside of cycling.

I am very close to my 17-year-old Niece Sara so I love spending time with her. Yes, we do a lot of cycling but we also love to go hiking. She will be off to college this Fall so going to miss all our adventures together all the time. I also like to read, cook, and map or find other great rides I want to do.

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