Photos via Grace Ragland.
Grace Ragland is an avid mountain bike racer, coach, IMBA-certified instructor, NICA league board member, Liv Ambassador, motivational speaker, and professional seamstress. She lives in Huntsville, Alabama, but spends an extended period of time in Colorado each summer to hang out and race her bike. She’s raced the Leadville 100 four times, the Breck Epic three times, the BC Bike Race, Laramie Enduro, Trans-Sylvania Epic, and a multitude of other races all over the country. She brought the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) to her hometown of Huntsville, and is currently the mountain bike coach and skills instructor for the team. She is a Level 2 IMBA-certified instructor, and she conducts small group clinics both in her hometown and in Colorado when she travels. She is also a former ultra runner, but switched to mountain biking because it was easier on her body. She’s committed to being active, fit, and paying it forward in whatever ways she can, both on and off the bike.
Oh, and by the way, Grace has MS.
Multiple Sclerosis, aka MS, is a neurological disease that results in unpredictable symptoms, including blurred vision or blindness, poor coordination or loss of balance, numbness, muscle tremors, extreme fatigue, and problems with memory and concentration. Its causes are still unknown, and it affects each patient differently. Symptoms may come and go, and may persist or worsen over time.
Grace’s disease manifests itself in vision issues, fatigue, and a much weaker right side than left. She struggles with balance and clumsiness. When she was growing up, her friends even joked about her being named Grace. You wouldn’t think these symptoms would be conducive to being a great mountain biker.
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