Amy Oberbroeckling is something of a Renaissance woman of endurance sports. Adventure racing, 100-mile mountain bike races, cyclocross, ultra trail running races, ski marathons — she dabbles in just about anything that requires her to hop on the pain train for extended distances.
It is precisely this aspect of endurance sports — getting out of her comfort zone — that draws the St. Paul woman to them in the first place. That and the fact that they allow her to spend time in the great outdoors.
An Iowa native and former Hawkeye, she moved to the Twin Cities in 2012 to join the staff of Minneapolis-based Gear Junkie. Blogging about outdoor adventure and gear from her outpost in a town well-known as a cycling mecca was a dream of sorts for the recent college graduate. Since then, Oberbroeckling has brought her talents to the Loppet Foundation, where she serves as its marketing and communications manager.
In a recent interview, Oberbroeckling, 27, chatted about her affinity for outdoor adventure and endurance sports, as well as why Minnesota is the best place she could have found herself transplanted.
On her passion for all-things cycling
I fell in love with the community around cycling. In college I joined the road racing team and we got to travel all over the Midwest to race. I always enjoyed the thrill of riding my bike, but it was the camaraderie around the sport that hooked me. When I moved to Minneapolis, the biking community was one of the reasons I was able to meet so many new people and make so many new friends.
On the finding her place in the Twin Cities
Working at Gear Junkie, I fell in with some of the most hard-core endurance athletes I could have asked for. It was awesome to be in that group and go on rides with them when I first moved here. They’d tell me where to ride and the events to sign up for. I found out about the best single-track and routes right out my backdoor. I was a big roadie in Iowa, where you’d leave your house on a road bike and in five minutes be in the wide open countryside. Here it takes more to get out of town, so another way for me to find that serenity has been on single-track in the city.
On embracing Minnesota winters
I love winter, snow, and cold, sunny mornings. I love how quiet it is in the winter. I think that’s why I fell for cross-country skiing, because it gives me a new way to experience winter. Before I started skiing three years ago, I’d ride my bike trainer inside in the winter, so skiing has opened up a whole new world to me.
On how the Loppet Foundation’s mission resonates with her
I was drawn to the Loppet Foundation because the goal is to get people of all ages outside no matter the weather. Teaching kids from a young age how to be active and get outside is something I wish I had learned earlier. It’s such a great opportunity to get to introduce other people to these activities that have been so important to me.
On the draw of new experiences
I like putting myself in unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable situations. I love being outside, as well as the endurance aspect of running, biking and skiing. I usually discover I can do things I didn’t think I could, and those discoveries often don’t come until you’re 20 hours into an adventure race. That’s what keeps me coming back for more.
Mackenzie Lobby Havey is a freelance writer from Minneapolis.