Tracey Petervary is an extremely accomplished bikepacker. She is currently participating in the Iditarod Trail Invitational and riding her bike 350 miles to McGrath, Alaska. Read more about Tracey’s past, present, and her future plans in our interview with Tracey below. Hometown? I reside in Victor ID, but I will always be a Jersey Girl. Where did it all start? Tell us about your first cycling experiences. Gosh, I have been cycling all my life. I lived on an all boy block for many years, we use to build ramps and jump over each other on our bikes, crazy. I rode a bike everywhere growing up, to the park, downtown, to do errands, to friend’s houses across town. Friends and I used to ride to the mall, which was 5 miles away, that was far back then, my parents didn’t like it. I also spent a lot of time in the local woods riding this bike my brother made me, it had a banana seat and those high handle bars, but I loved it. After high school I borrowed a really heavy MTB from my sister, Jay and I went to Round Valley, NJ and rode dirt trials, I was hooked! I joined a cycling team, got into adventure racing, raced short track MTB races then 24 hour races. After Jay had completed the Alaska Ultra Sport and the Tour Divide, he asked if I would like to try these multi day races, I said “sure” and thats how it started. How long have you been racing bikes? What was your first race? I have been racing bikes for 21ish years. My 1st race was in New Jersey, I can see the place but don’t remember the name. I entered the beginners race, Jay and I were just dating, he was out on course cheering for me. I stopped on the top of one of the hills to talk to him, he asked “where is everyone else?” I said “I don’t know” and continued on. That was my 1st and last beginner race, I raced a couple sport class races and the following year was racing expert. What initiated your passion for adventure cycling? Once I completed the Alaska Ultra Sport 350 miles to McGrath with Jay, I immediately wanted to go to Nome the next year. It was such an adventure, living outside on my bike was awesome, I just loved it. I found adventure cycling to be a great way to explore, see the world and challenge myself. The freedom and independence is a feeling I don’t get from anything else. Riding bikes year round is amazing – do you have a favorite season for biking? I like MTBing, because that means it’s the warm time of year, but really I like riding all the seasons. I feel fortunate that I live in a place that where each season brings its own special experience, weather, and it gives me a chance to use all my gear :-). What role did you take on in organizing the Fat Pursuit with your husband, Jay? I had planned to race the Fat Pursuit. I knew (not to be like that) Jay was going to need my help, I threw it out there a couple times, but it wasn’t until two weeks from the start we decided that it would be better for me to help out rather than race. I got to be race director assistant, and JayP got to be the boss for that weekend. We joke, because I’m the boss the rest of the year. All in good fun. Describe your experience on the other side of the race perspective – what was it like to be organizing the race instead of riding? It was a BLAST! I was elated to be part of JayP’s Backyard Fat pursuit and to be among this community of fellow fat bikers. I answered questions, organized the volunteers, organized the prizes, spent time with and met people I may not have met if I was racing. I went out on course to cheer racers on and got to spend time with friends and volunteers. The stoke was off the charts! You have done a great deal of adventure riding and racing over the years, what experience stands out the most? Gosh, the flashbacks just came rushing in, there are so many. Eco Challenge Fiji was a crazy experience. We didn’t finish the race, due to a teammates injury, which is the hard part about adventure racing with a team, anyone can break down at anytime. We had to build a raft out of logs that were left for us, then use a stick to push the 4 person team down the river for 10+ hours, disassemble the raft and carry the logs to a village where they would use the logs to build a house. We bushed whacked through the jungle with a machete, saw villagers hunt down a wild pig by hand, got bed bugs sleeping on the floor in a village, I was carried up a waterfall by my armpit from a local who had hiked with us over 10 hours, his feet looked like hands (they didn’t wear shoes). I could go on and on about this experience, by far the most wild and out there! How was it to ride 2,700 miles on a tandem during the Tour Divide in 2009 with the one you love? It was intense in the beginning because we had only ridden tandem, the 1st time in our lives EVER, for about a month on flat pavement. We rode 100 miles into Canada race ready and waited for a ride to get to the start which was the next morning. I cried and was scared in Canada as we were coming downhill, in the rain, with cows running next to us at like 40 mph. The shifting took some learning, the drivetrain was wasted and had to be replaced in MT then again in CO. We eventually figured it out and became efficient, not even having to communicate at times. We had a lot of fun and learning experiences. Many told us it was a divor-cycle, but for us it was the Loveshack, which is the name of our Tandem and will never leave our garage. How did this experience change you as a cyclist? I learned a lot as a cyclist but it has changed me more as a person then a cyclist, in regards to what I am really capable of and what the mind and body can endure if you want it to. It took a lot of trust and patience at times to stay quiet and still, and not make it more difficult for JayP, the captain, who was steering our vessel. The high speeds and not being able to see was most difficult, the farting was not the most fun either. Now, sure I get nervous on the tandem, but the trust is stronger and I am more relaxed. You and Jay plan to do the Dirty Kanza 200 on a tandem this spring. Will you train mostly on the tandem for this, or do you train separately? We will do both. On the tandem we will dial in our non speaking communication. Due to our schedules and intensity we will train separately. Who has been the biggest support in your cycling career? Many friends, my family and like minded people have supported, encouraged and believed in me, but my husband JayP is my rock. What are your future plans? I am currently gearing up for ITI, (Alaska Ultra Sport) 350 miles to McGrath. We are working on a touring/bikepacking business, which we will offer rides, camps and clinics all four seasons of cycling here in Idaho. I will be speaking at the premier of Inspired to Ride in Denver April 11th. The DK200 tandem in May, and if all goes well and my really super awesome boss (I will be sure he gets a copy of this) allows me the month of June off, the Tour Divide 2015.