It was bike touring that sparked the ultracycling obsession in Kelsey Regan.
“You just load a bunch of camping gear on your bike and start riding,” says Regan. “You go wherever you feel like going.”
A longtime runner, Regan had turned to biking after an injury sidelined her. Her first bike tour was an ambitious 1,000 mile ride from her hometown in Davenport, Iowa, to Lake Superior and back again. Although she had little experience, she made it in about a week.
“On the bike tour, I started wondering how far I could go if I just didn’t stop,” says Regan. “I’m still trying to figure that out.”
Regan started looking into ultracycling, which is generally defined as any distance over 100 miles. She thought it might be fun to bike across every state and noticed that many of the cross-state records hadn’t been set by women. So she set out to set those records, starting first with Iowa and then Wisconsin. She made it from Wisconsin’s southern border near Beloit to Red Cliff on Lake Superior in 22 hours, four minutes.
“It’s really exciting to do something that hasn’t been done before,” says Regan.
She plans to do one state per year. Illinois is up next.
“I really like traveling, and I’ve always wanted to see all fifty states,” says Regan. “There’s no better way to see a state than biking across it.”