Vanessa Hauswald truly does live by this Mary Oliver quote. As a cancer survivor, she’s more motivated than ever to squeeze every last drop of awesome out of each day, plus she mentors other cancer fighters as they fight the fight of their lives. Her experiences have led her toward creating a life that’s extremely meaningful, with a no-frills approach to seeking out life’s most precious joys.
During adventures by van with her husband, Yuri, and their big dog, Kingston, Vanessa searches out new trails, scenic camp spots, and all of the beauty of the American west. At home, her simple pleasures are digging in her garden, practicing yoga, making art out of reclaimed junk and enjoying all the exceptional food and wine that has popularized Sonoma County, CA.
Why choose one cycling discipline when you can savor them all? Vanessa has developed a proclivity toward mountain biking adventures with friends, XC racing, gravel adventuring, mtb bikepacking, road touring, and everything in between. Eventually, her love of riding led her away from teaching high school, and into the nonprofit world of high school cycling. She’s been the Executive Director of the NorCal High School Cycling League for almost a decade, and is absolutely in love with her job.
When did you start biking? Why did you start? What made you a lifer (was it a moment, a ride, a trip, etc.)?
"I started riding a lot when I was in high school because my father was super into road touring and would invite me along on multi-day adventures, but it was moving to Durango, CO that kicked off my love for mountain biking. Riding Moab on a steel, hardtail, 26er made me a lifer (lol, a thought we all shudder at these days!)."