At 65 and Legally Blind, ‘Sister Shred’ Has Never Met a Slope She Wouldn’t Ride

Even when Sister Shred isn’t donning a nun Halloween costume, she doesn’t match the standard mould of a daredevil dropping off boulders on a mountain bike or carving steep slopes and deep powder on a ski bike.

However any likelihood she will get, Kris Nordberg, 65, also referred to as Sister Shred, will do precisely that, despite a uncommon vascular situation that has rendered her legally blind.

By using along with her head turned to the aspect, she will use her peripheral imaginative and prescient to make out individuals forward of her on the path and shapes and colours. And, for probably the most half, that’s sufficient to maintain her looking for adrenaline-fueled adventures.

As a result of she now not drives, Nordberg pedals to her neighborhood trails within the foothills west of Denver when she needs to go for a experience. There are a couple of occasions, although, when an help from different riders turns out to be useful.

When she encounters a very tough part of a path — as an example, a rock staircase with jagged boulders that might snag a entrance wheel and ship a rider over a motorbike’s handlebars — she typically asks strangers for steering. She carries a brilliant orange strap and politely asks different riders if they might use it to mark the trail of least resistance.

Scott Ehresman, Nordberg’s finest buddy and biking buddy, leads her by such sections after they experience collectively. Whereas Nordberg exhibits no concern when tackling rock staircases, drops and boulders, Ehresman, who’s normally filming the motion, continually frets that she’s going to harm herself.

However even when she does, it doesn’t cease her from getting again on trails. Ehresman mentioned he has witnessed her using over slim bridges and rocky precipices, alongside knifelike cliff edges the place one false transfer would imply a 2,000-foot fall, by deep powder and avalanche-prone terrain on a ski bike in Colorado’s backcountry.

Ehresman, 42, met Nordberg within the Nineties, when she was his supervisor at UPS. They started car-pooling to work and discussing their hobbies. Nordberg satisfied Ehresman, an avid climber and a former member of the U.S. climbing staff, to attempt mountain biking.

“In the beginning, I used to be terrified,” Ehresman mentioned. “She was taking place super-steep dust hills.”

They started taking journeys collectively three or 4 occasions per week — and, as Ehresman’s expertise improved, their roles reversed.

“I used to be getting higher and higher,” Ehresman mentioned. “Sooner or later, it switched. I ended up teaching her. I began taking place stuff she had by no means finished.”

However Nordberg, he mentioned, was fearless.

“She was using some loopy stuff,” he mentioned. “She took some nasty crashes.”

Nordberg has cherished biking for so long as she will keep in mind. Rising up in Buffalo, Minn., about 40 miles northwest of Minneapolis, she bought her first bike when she was 12, utilizing it for a each day paper route.

“It was a type of Schwinn five-speeds with a banana seat,” she mentioned. “I had my paper route from ages 12 to 17, twelve months a 12 months. It obtained under zero continually within the Minnesota winter, however if you’re a child, climate doesn’t trouble you a lot.”

Nordberg used the cash she earned from her paper route to purchase a snowmobile when she was 15, then a 10-speed Schwinn when she was 17. She spent all her free time outside.

“I’d experience my bike to the lake, swim, construct tree homes and go shoot BB weapons,” she mentioned. “I used to be all the time that lady who favored hanging out with the fellows.”

She headed off to St. Cloud State College with desires of turning into a highschool instructor, however there have been no jobs to be discovered after she graduated. A buddy satisfied Nordberg to maneuver to Snowmass, Colo., the place she labored for a number of years as a housekeeper at a lodge and found mountain biking and snowboarding. At some point, on a whim, she determined to hit the slopes carrying a nun costume she had from a previous Halloween.

“It was only a enjoyable factor to do,” Nordberg mentioned. “I’d put on it enjoying hockey, too. They referred to as me the holy goalie. Whenever you put on a nun costume snowboarding, individuals discover you. Some individuals began calling me Sister Shred.”

The moniker caught.

However after shifting to the Denver space, Nordberg realized there was one thing amiss along with her imaginative and prescient.

“It was my fortieth and I used to be going for an I’m-not-old birthday experience,” she mentioned. “I checked out an indication and it was a little bit blurry. I had a bleed in my eye and double imaginative and prescient.”

She visited a dermatologist a couple of 12 months and a half later, who delivered a prognosis: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum, a progressive genetic dysfunction that, for Nordberg, has triggered the lack of her eyesight in addition to ache and weak spot in her legs. In 2012, she had three femoral artery alternative surgical procedures in a three-month interval.

In 2009, Nordberg stopped driving as her imaginative and prescient continued to deteriorate. And after so many surgical procedures on her legs, she added a pedal-assist electrical mountain bike to her storage a few years in the past. Whereas she doesn’t experience as many death-defying trails, she nonetheless loves rolling by jagged rock gardens and shredding powder on her ski bike. On her sixtieth birthday — clad in her nun costume for the event, in fact — she jumped over her first tabletop in a motorbike park.

So long as Ehresman or one other considered one of her using buddies — who’re all male and, generally, greater than 20 years youthful than her — are prepared to drive her there and paved the way, she’s nonetheless desperate to experience any rugged single-track or backcountry snow line. Providing up her personal bikes, Nordberg has taught Ehresman’s teenage daughters experience. They’ve recognized her all of their lives as Sister Shred.

“She likes to cheer everybody on,” Ehresman mentioned. “She needs everybody to attempt issues they possibly don’t assume they will do.”

Though she may not shred fairly as a lot as she used to, Nordberg nonetheless embraces the small wins.

“You already know that feeling of victory?” she mentioned. “I nonetheless crave that. It’s a must to do what you’ll be able to and never be upset about what you’ll be able to’t do. I’ve had extra journey in my life than lots of people.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.