MCBC Staff MCBC Welcomes Caroline Dezendorf to Staff
MCBC is excited to welcome Caroline Dezendorf to our team! As Communications and Development Coordinator, Caroline will craft the messages you read across MCBC’s website, social media, and E-News, while also assisting with fundraising efforts. As an elite cyclist, Caroline is a familiar face to many people in the Bay Area, often found on the roads and trails around Marin County or racing cyclocross, gravel, and mountain bike events around the US. We asked Caroline to tell us about herself and why she rides!
What kind of bicycle(s) do you ride?
I ride a lot of different bicycles. I race off-road for the Easton Overland Team. For gravel racing, I’m sponsored by Cervelo and I love my Aspero! For cyclocross, I have been lucky enough to race on Rock Lobster hand-built bikes for the last five years. I love mountain biking and adventure riding! Honestly, if I’m on a bike, I’m happy and with so many amazing roads in Marin County, I love taking my road bike on long rides too!
What do you like best about riding?
My favorite part about riding my bike is the sense of freedom that comes with it. I like that when I’m on my bike, all the stress of everything else fades away and I can just enjoy being outside, going on an adventure, and pushing my pedals. I also really love the community aspect of cycling. I have met all of my closest friends through riding or racing. The cycling community is so unique and draws people in from all walks of life. I really enjoy meeting new people and riding bikes with them!
What do you like best about the benefits of riding your bike?
Aside from the fact that I like being physically fit, I think the best benefit of cycling has to do with improving my mental health. When I’m on my bike, I’m happy and that feeling continues long after I get off my bike. Being outside, pushing my limits, enjoying awesome roads and trails is so good for mental well-being. Cycling has taught me to challenge myself and chase dreams. It’s shown me what I am capable of both on and off my bike, and taught me never to settle for less than I deserve.
What would you have liked someone to tell you when you started?
I bought my first bike in college, while attending UC Berkeley. I could barely ride 10 miles without stopping, and I remember doing my first “big ride” from Petaluma to Pt. Reyes Station and back and thinking it was a huge accomplishment. I was fortunate to have a friend begin riding at the same time as me and we progressed together and my competitive nature fueled my eagerness to improve. But, I think one of the most important things that everyone needs to hear is, it doesn’t matter how fast you ride, or how far, or how “good” you are. We don’t need to compare ourselves to each other. Just go out and have fun and ride your bike! We are all out here for different reasons, and as long as you’re enjoying it, keep doing it!
Where is your favorite place to ride your bike?
I love the mountains. I love a long climb and the payoff of a long, technical descent. The Lost Sierra (Downieville, Graeagle, Quincy) have a special place in my heart, but there are so many incredible places to ride. And quite honestly, I love my hometown roads and trails. I started mountain biking in Marin County and doing long gravel and mountain bike rides around Mt. Tam and the Headlands are the best.
What is your favorite ride/route in Marin County?
This is a loaded question. On the road, I love climbing Bolinas-Fairfax to Seven Sisters. I also absolutely love the stretch of Highway 1 from Pt. Reyes Station north to Marshall (oysters, anyone?). On dirt, it’s so hard to say, but my go-to ride is up Old Railroad Grade, dropping down to Coastal Trail and then taking Middle Green Gulch up, and descending Miwok Trail into Tennessee Valley. I also really love doing Mt. Vision out in Pt. Reyes on road bikes, of course.
What part of riding would you most like to improve?
I think one of the most important things to me is creating a community where all road and trail users are respected. I coach a NorCal League High School Team and one of the principals we teach is the “Rule of Howdy”. Slow down, say hi to everyone, and make sure you are going a speed slow enough to hear the person say hi back. I’d like to see less conflict between drivers and bike riders and between all trail users. I think a lot of this could be improved with better education for all users, which hopefully would lead to more positive interactions.
What is your vision of bicycling in the future?
In the US, especially in urban areas, I would love to see bicycling used more for everyday transportation. I think creating communities that are less reliant on cars and more focused on sustainable transportation methods would be amazing. I think in Marin we are on the right track and our community is really becoming more and more bike-friendly, but there’s still so much progress that can be made. I’d love to see downtowns that are closed to cars and centered around streets for people on foot and bike. I think it would be great to see more families using bikes for transportation. Every time I see a family using a cargo bike, I get so excited!