Kelsey Regan approaches cycling with the perspective of a Robert Earl Keene song: “The Road Goes on Forever.”
The ultra-cycling record-setter from Iowa will explain what that means during her keynote presentation at the Wisconsin Bike Summit on Nov. 6, and her story likely will change your own thoughts about the limits of self-propulsion.
Regan once figured 50 miles would be her limit for a day on a bike, but still hasn’t reached her end point; even after setting records for rides across Iowa and Wisconsin. The first was a 280-mile, west-to-east journey that took her just over 19 hours, in 2014. The second was a 380-mile, south-to-north tour she finished in about 22 hours.
“I just wanted to see how far I could go if I didn’t stop, and I guess I’m still trying to figure that out,” Regan told the Wisconsin Bike Fed.
As she pedaled toward Red Cliff and the shore of Lake Superior on that 90-degree day in August, Regan shifted goals more often than gears.
“I definitely didn’t think I would be able to do it in under 24 hours,” she told the Wisconsin Bike Fed. “Then, I started thinking maybe I could do it in under 24 hours. It’s really fun to say that I biked across the state in a day.
“Then I had the men’s record (21 hours, 25 minutes) on my mind.”
With 30 miles to go, her rear derailleur broke and she had to switch to a cyclocross bike, her back up, and the wider tires put her about an hour off the record. That, and heat exhaustion. She still set the south-to-north Wisconsin mark for women.
Now an organic farmer living in Mineral Point, Regan offered this preview of her presentation: “I want to talk about how these experiences, even though they sound crazy, if you stay dedicated to something it will pay off. People at the summit might not want to bike 300 miles in a day, but doing a challenge like this can relate to other challenges in life, make them seem easier.”
Details: Regan will speak at noon Nov. 6 in the Lawrence University Warch Campus Center, 711 E. Boldt Way, Appleton. Charlie Cooper, Vice President of Membership and Development at PeopleForBikes, will share keynote duties.
More women: Regan’s talk will lead nicely into the “Women in Cycling – the Ladies Revolution!” session at 2:45. Look for a review of the Women and Bicycles program and how it works locally and a discussion about Ladies’ Revolution – an all women bicycle group based in Milwaukee that promotes both sharing knowledge of bicycles and the willingness to learn from peers, and the BellaDonnas of Milwaukee.
Online registration for the seventh Wisconsin Bike Summit and a full schedule of presentations is available here. Registration opens on site at 8 a.m. and costs $45.