Lisa Gose-Nelson was sick of medical challenges weighing her down while sitting on the sideline watching her husband Chris' adventures. In 2021, she did her first Filthy 50 and proceeded to do eight more 50+ mile challenges since then including this year's 2022 Filthy 50. Read her story of overcoming challenges and finding the life-changing love of riding gravel.
A year ago, I made a major life change due to a medical condition that cropped up with March 2020 Covid. I spent 8 months in chronic pain - partly due to a bad hand injury (bike crash) and partly due to expected post long-Covid consequences that flared a few very nasty, lifelong, auto-immune issues that I have lived with. People ask me what it felt like – I can’t explain it better than the pain was like walking or sleeping on fire and sharp rocks.
I actually purchased eight new mattresses during this time period because I could simply not get comfortable. With the support of my family, I started to track everything I did including what I ate and all of the symptoms that followed food and drink I took in.
Every day I wondered how I would live the rest of my life feeling the pain I did - I did not see it. It was a lot to get through and the good news is today I am 98% pain free.
A little more than a year ago I re-dedicated my entire life to feeling better, eating better (mostly clean and vegetarian), having less pain, and embracing physical and emotional well-being. Part of that was taking a huge step forward in challenging myself to ride and exercise more, in new ways and to places that push my comfort level. I took on a new, less stressful career, and I learned how to sleep again. I had my bikes fit by Paulie at GO Physio – he gets physical challenge and bike fitting; he is skilled true Doctor of Physical Therapy.
All of this brought me to the Filthy 50, 2021, I finished it on a tandem bike that my husband Chris and I bought for our 30th anniversary.
I had never ridden a gravel ride and it changed my life. Funny enough it was also our first, true tandem ride and we are still married. I am a work in progress, we all are, and I hope we can all share our story and support and encourage each other.
This past weekend I finished my 2nd Filthy-50 on the tandem bike. A week ago, I would have finished my first solo gravel at the Heck of the North - but more importantly I fought through unexpected flats on the route and had a third at the trailhead.
I was mostly on my own, I worked out a plan to get back and had a great time, I was so proud of myself!
Not only was this my first solo gravel ride; it was also the first time I changed tire tubes out on my own. Rookie mistake - I did not check the inside of the tube – that wire shard got me three times, live and learn!
Here is the better part of the story - in the last twelve months I have finished eight 50 miles +, 1000+ high elevation endurance challenges, including some high elevation mountain hikes. Until the 2021 Filthy I had never achieved even one challenge that was 1000+ elevation. I have taken on strength training, positive mental conditioning, started to bike camp on the Fox bike camping race, increased my Pilates practice and I am officially ready to start my instructor training and certificates with Basi Pilates – they have a focus on healing and inclusion.
The Filthy handed me a terrifying challenge and I finished it. When 900+ people start the ride and finish to talk about it is exciting! Starting this at age 53 is a whole new world and is refreshing.
Why I got into gravel - frankly I felt like I was missing out sitting on the sidelines watching my husband Chris and wanted my own story to tell. Being in the elements, outside and away from everything brought my appreciation back for being in the moment. At the beginning I thought I would like to listen to music when I am riding on gravel. Now I like hearing the crushing sound of rock and the wind noise and feeling the air - it brings a gritty sense of joy.
I extend a heartfelt thank you to Trenton J. Raygor (Filthy-50) and Jeremy Kershaw (Heck of the North and the Fox), Dr. Paulie Glatt (GO Physio), Tonka Cycles and my life partner Chris Nelson and all of you who are the most embracing and supportive people and inspire me with your incredible power and inclusivity!
My gravel bikes: 2022 Surly Midnight Special and a 2021 custom Co-Motion Java Tandem