Silent Sports Profile: Kiersten Haugerud, Raised in the Wilderness
Just a taste of extreme
“I thought, why not push myself farther than I ever have,” Kiersten said. “Working as a dietitian in kidney dialysis I see many people who want to do things that their body won’t allow them to. So, I am going to use the body I was given and do this race!”
Kiersten was drawn to the Red Granite Grinder because she was looking for a race to train for over the summer as well as the multiple routes and lengths the event offered — from a 12-mile recreational ride to the 144-mile Xtreme gravel ride. Kiersten chose the 85-mile (Link⇒) “a taste of Xtreme Gravel” route, saying that the (Link⇒) route descriptions helped her choose what race was the right mix of challenge and fun as a novice gravel rider. She also explained that she chose a gravel ride as her first bike race because she prefers to be in the solitude of the outdoors vs. the stress of the road.
“Gravel biking gives me the freedom to pick my terrain,” Kiersten said. I started with a mountain bike but switched to a gravel bike this year due to lighter weight for performance and speed.” Despite seeing that last year’s weather was snow, Kiersten still wanted to make Grinder her first race.
Kiersten and her husband, Bryan, enjoy outdoors sports and recreation of all kinds – from golfing to kayaking to hunting. “I grew up in Northern, WI, so bad weather doesn’t scare me,” Kiersten explained. “I already enjoy winter, so if it snows it will add to the challenge! Physical activity is a huge part of my life and the human body amazes me. I have never pushed myself to compete before, and so I thought “if not now, when?” I am extremely competitive with myself, and always striving to be stronger. I believe this race will push me to be in the best shape I’ve ever been in and show people that women can be strong too!”
Outdoors woman and dietitian
An avid outdoorswoman, Kiersten spends much of her free time in nature with her husband, Bryan, and dogs, Sarge and Wisco. “I’ve been an outdoor enthusiast since I was born,” Kiersten said. “My dad used to take me out in the boat as a baby and always had me join in walks in the woods, teaching me all about the outdoors. I don’t think my husband and I have any hobbies that don’t involve the outdoors…biking, golfing, kayaking, bow hunting, hiking, and I also love yard work —my husband calls me the “groundskeeper” of the household!”
Kiersten’s passion for the outdoors and physical activity also expands into her chosen career path.
“I became a registered dietitian because I was always interested in metabolic breakdown of foods,” Kiersten said. “I felt that growing up I didn’t have healthy eating habits and I wanted to know more about it to help other people. You can’t exercise without fueling your body with proper nutrition. I also exercise for my mental wellbeing, and I believe physical activity and a balanced diet can prevent and heal many mental disorders. I am passionate about the psychology of a healthy relationship with food.”
Kiersten’s description of “Find Your Tough” speaks to a theme we find with many of our IRONBULL racers – especially the Red Granite Grinder competitors.
“Finding Your Tough isn’t just about physical capabilities, but mostly about mental capabilities,” said Kiersten. “Are you mentally capable of not giving up? There is only one person in control of your emotions, and that’s you. You have to have confidence and not worry about anyone else.”
“On race day, to get through any mental slumps, I’ll be thinking of my Aunt Julie who passed from battling Type I Diabetes and skin cancer; and my Grandpa Art who passed from kidney cancer. My Grandpa was a Major in the Air Force for 20 years and he never gave up. Both of them were the toughest people I know!“