Race season has just begun and already I have checked into my 9th bed in 35 days. I have been living out of a bulging suitcase, testing new tires, forks, bikes, drivetrains, and with that, more than a little coffee. It’s exciting, but it can also wear you down, so Pinkbike has asked me to share how I unwind in and out of season.
Spring being busy is an understatement. Sometimes I catch spring’s first blossoms in 3 countries in 3 weeks as I go from team Camp in California to World Cups in Europe and back home to Canada, when I’m lucky. In spring a racer is more go go than a 60’s dancer. Every chance to get home and shut off between events by settling into a training routine and just doing normal home stuff is key to unwinding.
So after 4 races, that’s where I’m headed, home, back to Kamloops, BC. For all of us, “home stuff
” looks different, but what it gives us, is hopefully the same, a press of the recharge button. An awesome job like riding your bike, is still a job and like any job you need to be able to keep it fresh to not go stale. You need to have a time of day that you can shut off work and just go out and ride your bike...oh wait.
Shutting off the athlete can be a challenge, it’s your lifestyle, there are no clearly defined days or hours off, there’s always something you should or shouldn’t do and to your buddies what you do for work is what they want to spend their weekends doing. But shutting off the athlete is important and definitely not impossible.
In the “off-season
” I don’t need to ride or workout every day, I don’t need to ride for a certain amount of time with a certain amount of efforts. I need soul candy, to have fun on and off the bike, ride and ski with my friends, camp, bake, dig, learn, get excited about life. I take a month purposely not prioritizing performance, spending my days indulging whatever interest or project intrigues me at that moment. This often ends up with my house or yard in a state of destruction for several weeks and lots of after-work runs and rides with friends. The “off season
” is a balance of losing fitness...but not too much and gaining freshness, so I’ll be ready to train hard again. I need to take time away from structured training, airports, time-zone changes and caring intensely about high level performance, but if I want time off my mountain bike I feel like I didn’t do things right. Biking is my soul candy.
Power tool time!
When the snow falls it’s time to get back on focus, but I’m on skis as much as the bike or trainer so that when spring emerges and with it those intermittent patches of fresh singletrack, I can’t wait to ride more. I’m not only recharged, I can’t get enough of riding.
In season though, I can’t just sign out for a month. But I can keep that fun bike (my Orbea Rallon
) ready for some soul candy rides, the Sprinter van’s cupboards stocked for some weekend riding and camping trips to Squamish, Revelstoke or Penticton, the garden and power tools nearby (with a husband imposed 9pm cut off time
) and the kitchen stocked with awesome food and some craft beers to cook, bake and host friends with.
I also have a designated Monday Recovery day. It’s sacred. It’s the one day when training doesn’t come first, normal life stuff does. Sometimes this isn’t the best “physical
” recovery, but I train better when I’m happy and fulfilled so that’s what this day is about. It’s my weekend and is just as important to my training as the interval set to follow.
Keeping it fresh between races and seasons for me is as simple as keeping riding and life fun and rewarding. Riding & training can’t be everything, but it you want to be at the top of your game it is going to be a lot of it. Embracing that, you have to keep the love in the riding, the passion in learning and embrace new challenges and adventure along the way.
I signed up for Ryan Leech's Learn to Wheelie 30 day Challenge
. Check out that focus.
See ya at the races and on the trails,