Former Carson resident in Pan Ams |

Former Carson resident in Pan Ams

Staff Reports

A vacation trip turned out to be a life-changing experience for Kristi Henne of Plainview, Ark and formally of Carson City.

Four years ago, the 16-year-old spent the summer with her grandparents, Al and Mary Fischer of Carson City. They visited Mammoth Mountain during a bike race. She entered the race and she’s been racing ever since.

Now in her fifth year of competition, Henne has qualified to represent the United States in the mountain biking juior division at the Pan American Championships to be held April 22-25 in Banos, Ecuador. Her race will be held on April 25.

She qualified by winning the junior expert division in a NORBA race in Waco, Texas in March. She also won the NOVA Desert Classic the following week in Phoenix.

Henne participates in road races as well, but her favorite event is mountain bike racing, which she didn’t start seriously until last August.

“I like the individuality about mountain bike racing,” said Henne, who lived in Carson until she was 10. “What you put into it, you get out of it. How successful ou are is totally dependent on you. Road racing is more of a team concept.”

Henne is a member of the Mountain Bike Chicks race team based in Colorado. “Because I’m home-schooled I get to travel all over the country and not many people my age get to do that,” she said. “I also help tutor fourth and fifth grade students from a local school, so I get to be involved in things like that.”

Henne trains every day, riding between 1.5 and 3 hours a day, covering anywhere from 20 to 60 miles. Her training during the winter months includes riding, weightlifting and swinning. During the rest of the year, her training is spent totally riding a bike.

“Bill, my team leader, has a great program,” she said. “A lot of people get tired and burned out, but with his program, I get tired, but I don’t get burned out on the sport.

“I plan to still be racing when I’m 303. It seems like I’ve been racing for a long time. I haven’t gotten discouraged and I’ve stayed motivated.”

Wheels alone cost $600 and her entire bike costs $3,000. She also has other expenses such as travel and clothing. Her sponsors include Reno’s GSR, Carson City’s Cottonwood Mobile Home Park, Reno Wheelman, Hammer Nutrition, Yell County Vet of Arkansas, Mountain Bike Chicks and other individuals and businesses. Henne said she’s grateful for all the support.

She said she has high hopes for the Pan Am event. “I want to be on the podium, which means I want to be in the top three,” she said about her first international competition. “I know Ecuador has 40 active volcanoes and the place we are racing has one of them. The elevation will be about 6,500 feet, but I’m not sure how long the curse is yet.

“Anything below 6,500 feeis about the save, but it changes once you go above 6,500, but I will get used to it.”

Henne spends half her year training in this area for the altitude with her grandparents and aunt and uncle, Kathy and Mike Williams. She also enjoys training in the Arkansas River Valley.

“This is a great place for biking,” she said about Arkansas. “Russellville has the Tri-Peaks race the week before Memorial Day, and the Old Post Mountain Bike Race on Memorial Day weekend. They bring in a lot of people from around the country. The River Valley is a wonderful place to ride bikes.”

Henne has her eyes set on the Olympics. “I want to race in Beijing in 2008 and San Francisco is making a bid for the 2012 Olympics and it would be cool to get to race there,” she said.

For more information on Mountain Bike Chicks, go on line at where Henne keeps a journal of her racing.