POWerful Outdoor Women Series - Kerstin Holster
"Nothing can stop you if you keep pushing past the stigmas and societal boundaries" - Kerstin Holster
A word on women: For too long we’ve been expected to be silent - to watch and be told how to act. But we want to do. We want to see. We want to be loud! Our desire to explore has finally overcome our desire not to be sidelined. At POINT Gym and Kitchen we encourage women to stop the cycle of self-doubt, to take risks, to fall and get back up… to take up space. Without role models that have come before us, venturing into new territory can be intimidating. It is with great excitement that we bring you our POW (Powerful Outdoor Women) Series. Over the next few months we will feature women in the outdoors who are taking chances, being bold, and blazing paths to show the world we are strong, we are mighty, and we are POWerful! - Coach KB and Mel
Kerstin is a BADASS professional downhill mountain bike racer. She and a few other women started NoApologies MTB; a support network for women looking to grow and find their place in such a male dominated sport.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself:
A: I am a mountain biker ex motocross racer who lives and breathes for life on two wheels! I love biking, gardening, cooking and hanging out with my family, friends, and cool animals.
Q: What is your sport or job of choice in the outdoors?
A: 1. Mountain Biking, specifically Downhill; 2. Motocross; 3. Overlanding
Q: How did you learn about/crack into this activity?
A: I was raised by my single Dad; he was a professional motocross racer and since I am pretty much my dad's "mini-me" I started riding moto-bikes at a super young age and it took off from there. I raced motocross from 2009-2011 until I moved to Oregon and found that there were not many opportunities for racing dirt bikes in the PNW without having to travel massive amounts. My roommate at the time introduced me to mountain biking on a 2004 Specialized Demo 8 that was pretty clapped out but I loved it! Immediately. It felt like this was the sport I have been prepping for my whole life. I love racing downhill and adventuring to new zones. It is all about the journey and creating memories with your friends out in the woods!
Q: What have been your greatest challenges to move up or continue with the sport?
A: Downhill is a very mental sport, so getting in the right mind zone has been a challenge, I practice doing envisioning exercises and focus on breathing routines before riding and racing. Even with coming from a motocross background, you can beat yourself up pretty bad mentally with bikes, especially in a "bro" driven industry. Mentally, it has been tough to feel like I completely belong in the sport; I push past those thoughts for all the ladies coming up and kicking ass in the sport. I want to be a role model for them to know that they do belong and that nothing can stop you if you keep pushing past the stigmas and societal boundaries. Also the support for racing both motocross and mountain bikes for ladies is pretty thin. There aren't many of us and although I work in the bike industry it is hard to make connections and acquire the same support as men get to be able to afford the costs of racing, including unequal race payout. It is getting better - more races are offering equal payout and more companies are bringing ladies onto teams - but we still have a long way to go.
Q: What made you stick with it?
A: I fell in love with mountain biking after the first time throwing a leg over a downhill bike. I immediately was hooked, and when you love something so much you have to hold onto it. Through all the inner turmoil I have been through with conquering my fears with riding bikes, biking has been such a realization of freedom for me. Ultimate freedom, my brain turns off when my bike tires get rolling downhill, I only think about the next thing I can see in my line of sight. My senses are overwhelmed and immersed in nature, I cannot get enough of it and think about it almost every waking moment. That feeling is why I stick with it :)
Q: What advice would you give to another women struggling to start or to find her place in a male dominated arena?
A: I would advise in joining some ladies groups, and go on some women's rides, making friends with other female riders who help empower each other is awesome and is such a good way to get into the the riding scene. That is why a group of my close riding friends Rheannon, Michele, Sarah and I started NoApologies MTB - to be a support network for women looking to grow and find their place in such a male dominated sport. I unfortunately don't get to ride with a lot of women all the time, I ride with my bros who love and respect me too. It's fun pushing myself to be right there with the boys while riding, it, too, is super empowering to pass on the stoke to other ladies. I am all for riding with whomever, whenever as long as we all are having a good time and all respect each other. Don't ride with people who don't respect and love you and make you not stoked haha.
Q: Who have been your inspirations in the outdoor world?
A: My top inspirations has to be Casey Brown; she has so much style and has seemingly no fear and is always herself.
Rachel Atherton, is such a beast on a bike and is the most decorated downhill racer ever. So much respect for her.
Britney White, this lady is super sweet and shreds a bike. She makes these really cool mtb videos too that make me freaking pumped to go ride my bike and to try and own my own style.
Jamie Rees is another huge inspiration, she is a local racer who is stunningly fast, strong and one of the sweetest people you will ever meet.
Thank you, Kerstin! We need as many of you as possible getting out there, riding hard, and paving the way for the future of women in bike racing.