Team MBC's Chris Ganeff recently sat down with legendary Canadian mountain biker, Ryan Leech, to discuss biking, coaching, yoga and his involvement in this year's Mongolia Bike Challenge.Ryan, how did you hear about the Mongolia Bike Challenge and what made you decide to come?
I've been fortunate to travel the world as a pro rider, so honestly, and hopefully not sounding too spoiled, exotic destinations don't turn me on like they once did; though I am stoked to go to Mongolia, there needed to be deeper reason, and that purpose came through my ability to be of service as both a yoga instructor and Integral Coach. Riding Mongolia (not in the race!) will be pure bonus, and I'm still trying to decide which bike(s) to bring! (29", trials bike, all mtn..?!). Historically, I always dream of food toward the end of a long ride; after years of yoga practice, yoga is now part of that late ride strive. My body craves the food of course, but it also now yearns for the nourishment of yoga. So upon hearing about this epic Mongolian adventure, I knew my skills as a cycling oriented yoga instructor would be a huge benefit to participants. The tagline for my coaching at this event is that "When glory fades, life invades". More below...
You are known primarily as a trials rider – some people might wonder what you are doing at a 10-day xc mountain bike race. Can you fill people in on what you do?
I began my mountain bike career as an xc racer, then downhill, and finally trials. Trials is where I excelled, but my roots are with butt in the saddle suffering...so I can relate. While on tour performing trials shows I know that when focus on my daily performance it's easy to miss out on the scenery, connecting with other people, and simply enjoying the process. I have been on two month long tours to the most amazing places and discovered some time after that I missed out! So inherent in my yoga flow will be a process of grounding and connecting, of truly feeling and experiencing in preparation for racers to absorb and enjoy the whole process of this adventure in a rich way. So the plan is to work with few private clients before and during the race. Mongolia is a TOUGH race – physically, mentally, emotionally – how will you help your clients get through this all?
So-what if you conquer Mongolia by bike? If the rest of your life has gone AWOL, you've lost. Or, if your life is already AWOL, is this race just an excuse to get away from it all through your pre-occupation with training-"Sorry honey, I have to go train!" Everyone has something they're suffering through or want to make progress in, whether it be professional, emotional, relational, or spiritual–the difference is whether it's acknowledged and dealt with. The decision to bring me on as a coach is a big one. In my experience, it requires more courage and class to hire a coach than doing the most dangerous bike trick or in this case, signing up for one of the most grueling races on the planet. Combining this coaching offering with your registration may be the ticket to TRUE Mongolian success and enjoyment. Is coaching right for you? Lets chat to find out...
You are also a certified yoga instructor and will be leading the camp in restorative yoga sessions after each stage. Is yoga something you use yourself to help you in your sport?
I credit the longevity in my career as a trials rider to my 10-year yoga practice. You could throw on compression socks and call it a day, or you could restore your body through a conscious and invigorating yoga flow. The benefits will contribute to greater bodily ease, performance, and comfort. But it goes way beyond that - having a still mind is crucial, not only to set the tone for the body to heal, but also for your own grounded enjoyment . Just a little yoga is enough to do the trick, there is no better way to invest 20-30 minutes of your post-ride time. We’re looking forward to seeing you in Mongolia. What are your personal thoughts going into the race?
What a wonderful opportunity to bring my passions of riding, yoga, and coaching together. I'll be striving to bring the best of my skills as a rider, yogi, and coach in service of everyone involved!Thanks Ryan - we are looking forward to seeing you in Mongolia this summer.The 2012 Mongolia Bike Challenge, presented by Orbea, will take place from July 28 to August 11, 2012.
For more information visit: www.mongoliabikechallenge.com