April 10, 2024

Beautifully Evil Bikepacking with Jannine Fitzgerald, Jennifer Swartout & Diana Gibson

In this Episode

Ozark Gravel Doom calls itself “A beautifully evil bikepacking event in the south.” With two distance options, 400 miles and 196 miles, this event doesn’t have podiums or prize money and is entirely self supported.

The 2024 edition took place this past weekend, with the fastest male finisher of the 400 mile “Doom” category finishing in 45 hours, 42 minutes, and the fastest woman coming in at 2 days, 4 hours and 15 minutes.

Today, we’re catching up with 3 incredible women who completed the Despair distance (196 miles) – Janine Fitzgerald, Diana Gibson, and Jennifer Swaartout. Tune in as we hear about their inspiration for riding this event, the challenges and triumphs, and why at 50, they feel stronger than ever.

Jannine Bio – Jannine Fitzgerald has dedicated over three decades to outdoor exploration and has been a prominent figure in the bicycle industry since 2002.She is best known for her pioneering spirit as the co-founder of Pedal Kids USA (formerly Buddy Pegs),andis particularly passionate about encouraging women to join her on rides, always ready to support and push them towards embracing challenging adventures. Her belief in the empowering nature of cycling and outdoor activities is encapsulated in her mantra, “it’s easier than parenting,” highlighting the simplicity she finds in these pursuits compared to the complexities of raising children:)

Jennifer Bio: Jennifer is the Associate Vice President for General Education at Northwest Arkansas Community College and has lived in NWA for 5 years. She’s always had a bike, but started taking cycling “seriously” around 20 years ago, riding mountain bikes and then adding other disciplines in along the way. She lives in Bella Vista with her terrier mix, Callie. She currently volunteers as a ride leader for Femmes Gravel and is an Amazeum board member.

Diana Bio: Diana is a mom with three kids (including twins) and a demanding full time job. Her favorite thing is an all-day or multi-day adventure in the mountains! She’s trying to figure out how to keep exploring and having fun while getting older and being a fully functioning adult.

Ozark Gravel Doom

Buddy Pegs

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