From Bikes to Books.

October and November in the mountain west are what we call - with equal parts love and begrudgement - shoulder season. Snow is on the horizon, or has just arrived and shut down any last attempts at high-elevation biking for the season. The leaves are turning, and the air has that crisp biting chill indicating the arrival of much colder weather. Even if it hasn’t snowed quite yet, the frosty mornings and early sunsets are enough to chase even the most committed among us inside. 

While it can be a bit of a buzzkill for big outdoor excursions, these shoulder season months are the perfect time to cozy up with your favorite warm beverage (hot toddy, anyone?) and a good book. This month, Wild Rye is recommending a book written by one of our earliest collaborators—Katy Hays. Her novel, The Cloisters, follows a group of researchers at The Met Cloisters who discover a long-lost 15th century deck of tarot cards, and the deadly game of cat-and-mouse that ensues. An Indie Next Pick for November, as well as a pick for the Barnes & Noble November Book ClubThe Cloisters is Hays’ first novel. The book "drops" on November 1st, and you can pre-order it here, or buy it from your favorite indie bookshop—it will be available (pretty much) wherever books are sold!  

Tell us what brought you to Wild Rye in the first place—Like so many, I had always been a passionate skier, biker, runner, and general outdoor nut. And I was lucky enough to land my first job in the outdoor industry at Specialized Bikes. This was in 2012, maybe? When women’s mountain bike apparel was…not great. Everything was either black or bright. After a few years at Specialized, it was clear that there was room in the market for something else. In collaboration with Cassie, Wild Rye was born.

How did you decide to move on from Wild Rye—There was so much I loved about the early days, about the startup process! It was creative and genuinely fun, but the truth was, as the brand grew, I didn’t love the day-to-day. That, and the money made me incredibly nervous! Bootstrapping is hard. I think the precarity, especially, began to wear on me. I wanted to work on my own terms again, without a supply chain chasing me! 

Walk us through the journey from Wild Rye to book author—Hear me out: writing a book and starting a business are basically the same thing. You’re creating something from nothing. E.L. Doctorow once said “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” I think the same is true of startups. 

What’s the inspiration behind The Cloisters As a writer, I’m really interested in the question of what we’re capable of believing, whether that’s a charismatic con-man or astrology or tarot or manifesting. I’m constantly impressed by what people can talk themselves into! This book is really answering the question: what could you talk yourself into, given the chance? A belief that tarot really can tell the future? Backstabbing? Murder?  

What can readers expect from the book?—Gothic atmosphere, toxic love triangles, and the question: are we in charge of our future, or was it always fate?

When not writing, how do you spend your time?—The answer is still the same as it has always been! Skiing, biking, trail running, cake baking, and reading. Getting outside is still the thing that keeps me sane. Without the mountains, I’d be lost

Any other books you can recommend for our readers? Yes! If fiction isn’t your thing, I highly recommend both Heather Hansman’s Powder Days and Down River


Rapid fire Q&A:

    1. Dog name/type: Queso, Australian Shepherd. 
    2. Doughnuts or Bagels: Doughnuts for LIFE. 
    3. Favorite après beverage: Beer (with an assortment of snacks!)
    4. Best bike trail in Tahoe?: I’m partial to the Three Bridges Section of Western States, and the new Stanford Rock re-route! The views are insane on both! (And I don’t have to drive 30 minutes to the Flume Trail!)
    5. Where will your next bike/ski adventure take you? It’s fall, so we’ll be heading south to the Eastern Sierra next week. Early skiing and late biking, what more could you want?  
    6. Why Wild Rye?—The Freel is still the best baggy on the market. Hands down.   

Wild Rye for the well-read

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