The Dichotomy Paradox - Balancing Work and Play

Jul 27, 2016
by Anne Galyean  


This article is not about part-timers or those who work seasonally. It's not about those who used to work full-time but now only work a few days each week or enjoy “van-life”. It's also not about those who telework or work on the road while chasing their racing dreams. Don’t misunderstand – there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these scenarios, and I have nothing but respect (maybe also a little jealousy) for those who are able to make it work. You guys make this industry tick, produce inspiring videos and adventure stories to keep everyone motivated, earn podium spots, and generally kickass.

However, we’re not talking about you guys this time. Right now, we’re talking about the rest of us: sitting at a desk, working in a lab, standing behind a counter, or caring for a family. Those of us who put “work” first and “play” last. We’re talking about those of us who put in 40+ hours each week at a full-time, non-athletic position and are therefore willing to ride/race/adventure at the expense of other essentials (e.g., breathing, eating, and sleeping). Those of us who attend events on vacation time or get up before race practice starts to get some work done. This time, it’s all about us.

My name is Anne Galyean, PhD and Enduro racer. I work full-time and play full-time - let's talk about balance.

Now that we are situated we have plenty of new riding spots to explore. It will be awhile before we sample it all but we sure are having a damn good time riding the diverse terrain Colorado and Utah have to offer.

I recently completed a PhD in aquatic nanochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, though all my dissertation research was performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD. I'm now working full-time as a postdoctoral researcher at the Colorado School of Mines where I design fluorescent nanosensors for improved imaging in disease-causing biofilms.

I started riding and racing downhill in 2009 and eventually progressed to win the 2013 ProGRT series, securing a spot on the US National team for Worlds - though school at the time prevented me from attending. Last year, I made the switch to Enduro, and now race for the Marin/SR Suntour Factory team. Since switching I've placed 4th in Senior Women at the 2015 Megavalanche Alpe d'Huez, 1st in Pro Women at the 2015 Winter Park Big Mountain Enduro, 1st in Pro Women at the 2015 Scott Enduro Cup Canyons, and 1st in Pro Women at the 2016 Santa Fe Big Mountain Enduro.

Full-time work and full-time play, it's all about balance.

Photo by Matthew DeLorme

Weekend warrior, semi-pro, casual racer - we’re known by many names. Pre-dawn alarm clocks or late night trainer sessions define us, and we’re usually tweaking our training plans to fit our hectic and ever-changing schedules. The central theme of our lives is balance. How can we best balance our full-time work with full-time play without losing our full-time minds?

Personally, the biggest aspect of this dual-life that I struggle with is the mental game, the challenge of keeping my head on straight. I sit at a desk or stand in a laboratory almost all day, occasionally scrolling through my social media feeds looking at everyone else riding bikes and training hard. I can’t help but ask myself if I can be competitive enough with limited training? Can I race at 110% when I have to be back at work Monday morning? Will I be able to survive the transitions if I don’t get in enough base miles? Can I really focus at work when all I seem to think about is riding my bike in the mountains?

Photo by Matthew DeLorme

Unfortunately, the answer doesn’t appear to be easy or even obvious, and it’s heavily dependent on the individual. I’ve seen firsthand those who execute their balanced daily routines with a finesse and skill that hardly seems natural. I’ve also seen those who spectacularly crash and burn in a vain attempt at finding their balance. In reality, I think we all experience a little bit of both some days.

In the interest of generating a helpful discussion, I reached out to a couple friends of mine who seem to have this full-time work, full-time play thing dialed and asked, “What’s your balance?



Photo by Alex Molick
Leigh Bowe. Photo by Alex Molick.
I am a family nurse practitioner in a community health center in Frisco, Colorado. I'm also active in the US Army Reserves in the summer. Balance is something that I am constantly struggling with. I think it's important to have a training program, and I find value in paying a coach or buying a program in order for me to have some accountability. Otherwise, it's just too easy to get home after a 12-hour day of work and say, 'No thanks.' It's also key for me that my best friend/husband is super supportive and willing to help with way more than his share of household duties. - Leigh Bowe



I am currently working as a Sustainability Consultant in Oakland, California. For me, balance has come fairly naturally through a shared passion for both conservation of our natural resources and enjoying those same resources. At this point, I don't think I would be able to do one without the other, as they both seem to feed into each other so well. When I get to travel and ride my bike in amazing places, it's a strong reminder of why I sit at my desk all week trying to change the status quo and ensure that those amazing places continue to exist. I am also lucky enough to work for a company that allows me to take time off to continue racing. I have found there is plenty of time to race, work, and train if you set your priorities and weed out inefficiencies. In all honesty, having more than one thing to work on allows me to deal with the ups and downs of both work and racing way better, and my racing has improved from it. - Ryan Gardner
Ryan Gardner Norcal Cooperative team rider hitting the rocks on stage 5. He would finish on the top step in the Pro Men Category.
Ryan Gardner is a sustainability consultant and a professional enduro racer. Photo by Called to Creation.



Team manager and photographer of MadKats Productions Jarad Kleinberg. Self portrait.
I'm Marketing Manager/IT/Sales for MKDA, a commercial architecture/interior design firm; sales rep for HT, Onza, Novatec/Factor, Smanie, and RedMonkey; and owner of MAdkats Productions//adkats racing. In order for me to balance everyday work/life with racing and owning a team, I need to be organized, prepared, and balanced. My days at work consist of putting proposals together, fixing computer issues, monitoring a network of architects and designers, and photographing completed offices space for our marketing purposes. My breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are spent meeting commercial real estate brokers, clients, and vendors. This is how I make a living. Fun? Maybe not. But, is it worth it? Absolutely. Without balance, you have nothing. To have the ability to manage your time, to be able to be with family, to get out for a ride, to eat, sleep, to slam back a few beers with friends... It's all important to be a well-balanced person. I do what I do because I love it, and I work hard for it. I am able to run a team not because I need to, but because I want to. I work hard during the week, so that my weekends can be spent doing what I truly love to do. Whenever I hear about people not being able to balance riding, training, racing, and work I ask, "Why?" What is the reason that you can't? Being organized is the key to being balanced. Having a routine, putting a schedule together, and using a calendar are all things to try. Take the time to take a step back and look at your life to see how well-balanced you are. You might be surprised. - Jarad Kleinberg



Photo by Matthew DeLorme

For me, I’ve had both successes and catastrophic failures. I’ve managed to win races while spending hours before and after practice each day writing research papers or grant applications. I also get out for amazing weekend adventures and still have a wonderful time racing bikes. On the other hand, I’ve also abandoned races and turned down team offers because I just had far too much on my plate to ride competitively and safely. I sacrifice riding and training when my workload gets overwhelming. Some days I feel like I’m trapped in Zeno’s Dichotomy Paradox - constantly moving forward but finding it impossible to reach the goal.

After seven years of full-time grad school/research and racing, I’m starting to realize that perfect balance isn’t real. There will be days when you’re highlining above the Grand Canyon and days when you’re tripping over cracks in the sidewalk - and that’s OK. You don’t have to have it all figured out.

Balance is relative; it’s dependent solely on your time and what you make of it. Be confident in your approach and proud of what you accomplish. We’re not here to complain about this life; in fact, I love my job and enjoy going to work every day. However, unless we are willing to give up one for the other, we’ll still be riding a desk more than our bikes. It's just our passion for riding and racing bikes that keeps us going.

The answer, then, is just a simple: “Yes.” Yes, you’re competitive enough given your lifestyle. Yes, you’ll survive. Yes, your training is sufficient as long as you maximize your available time. Yes, it’s OK to get frustrated and overwhelmed.

Does it mean that we might not be as fit, competitive, or able to travel like those who don’t have to juggle these two behemoths? The answer to this is, similarly, “Yes.” Ultimately, though, it also means that “Yes,” we can have just as much fun.

Photo by Matthew DeLorme

What’s your balance?
Take our poll, and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

What's Your Balance?





MENTIONS: @mdelorme




211 Comments

  • + 76
 Granted perfect balance is an unobtainable goal. Time management is the key to feeling a semblance of balance in your life. I do not like to use the word sacrifice. life gets overwhelming when we take on too many responsibilities. Riding helps me unravel all my clustered thoughts and put my life back into perspective. I find racing to add to much pressure to a sport that is supposed to be about recreation. Thats my personal choice. In the end its our choices that dictate what how our day unravels.
  • + 6
 Well said.
  • + 11
 Two words: f*ck sleep. Razz
  • + 13
 @therealtylerdurden: Haha, then NOTHING gets done!
  • + 5
 This: "In the end it's our choices that dictate what how our day unravels." Well said!
  • + 5
 @C9H13NO3: lol Yeah, I don't deal well with sleep deprivation.
  • + 0
 Who says al of the sport is about recreation?
  • + 2
 @russthedog: Sshredder did (but didn't really, nor did anyone else) - it might be the case for their life, and might not be the case for others. Who cares?
  • + 3
 Agree. You cant mtb all the time, at least I couldnt because it would get boring, and the lack of career progress would get to me. At the same time, you cant work hard all the time without getting burned out and when things get rough, mtb is a great passion to focus attention on
  • + 0
 @bentown: he said its a sport that is supposed to be about recreation
  • + 15
 Well put, I've never enjoyed racing, but love to ride.

I've mentally divided my life into 3rds - Family, Work, and Riding. I don't have much else going on.

I work hard to provide for my family, but if it gets too much I get all stressed out and I'm a bad Dad and Husband,

I ride because it cures the work stress and make me a better Dad and Husband and better at what I do in work.

I devote time every week to ride, one evening after work (in summer at least when it's light enough) and a few hours each weekend. Occasionally more when I can, but only work-time, not family-time, My family has seen me when I've not been on my bike for too long, they don't like it.
  • + 2
 Well put, I've never enjoyed racing, but love to ride.

I've mentally divided my life into 3rds - Family, Work, and Riding. I don't have much else going on.

I work hard to provide for my family, but if it gets too much I get all stressed out and I'm a bad Dad and Husband,

I ride because it cures the work stress and make me a better Dad and Husband and better at what I do in work.

I devote time every week to ride, one evening after work (in summer at least when it's light enough) and a few hours each weekend. Occasionally more when I can, but only work-time, not family-time, My family has seen me when I've not been on my bike for too long, they don't like it.
  • + 3
 @Joebro1995: it doesn't get boring Big Grin
  • + 3
 @PeeJay77: nailed it!
  • - 1
 @baggyferret: Everything does eventually, if you do it every day. Surfing, snowboarding, even marijuana. Gotta mix it up a little.
  • + 42
 Balance... My life is riding through a rock garden in wet, on a bike with no damping in the shock, front wheel is loose, both brakes need bleeding and the dropper is stuck in the top position... I'll get back to that later... I got a new job as an architect in a great company, with new responsibilities and ambition to perform better than in the previous one, where I work at 80%. Stressed as hell about it. I have a wife, 4 year old daughter and 2yr old son, both very active, demanding but all in all completely healthy. Holidays are not holidays, they are about keeping them alive, 120% work. My wife and I are not getting along very well. We have no family to help us since they are 1000km away. Our grandparents are in the process of dying, which makes our parents quite depressed. Stressed as hell about it. I ride bikes as much as I can, but I got into Strava and I hunt top10s. My both bikes are broken now. I have some very small "sponsor" obligations to 4 parties. Stressed as hell about it. Some additional jobs come in the evenings, stressed as hell about them. Then I have Pinkbike. For 10-15 times a day everything diseappears and I am a virtual version of a smart, wise man I wished to be.

Balance... All I do is I am looking ahead and letting this wobbly bike of a life go through that wet lime
Stone infested track, with next to no error margin. I can only relax and hope that there's some smooth bit of single track coming. I should be more organized, yes... show must go on. It's never simple for anyone and nobody gives a fk about sad fks, not even your family.

"From the beginning of times, Life has never favored weakness, only the strong will survive". If you want a lap to sit on and shoulder to cry on, then kill yourself right away. See the world before the life gets you kids. You'll know it got you when the toilet will be the most peaceful place on Earth, to which you'll be running and closing the lock will be like a junkie taking a shot of morphine.

Balance. I so wish. The morality of a slave is strong in me. To hell with you Neitzsche...
  • + 23
 ...Well that escalated quickly
  • + 19
 I agree. Your spawn will flip your world upside down. Before I had kids I worked two jobs, biked daily, traveled and had peace and relaxation on my free time. Now it's all about trying to squeeze in an hour a week(usually at lunch) for a bike ride. If I can do that once a week that's about as close to 'balanced' as I get. I love being a parent but the whole work/play balance idea goes down the shitter when you factor kids in. Sorry.
  • + 32
 Congratulations! You have arrived at the Purgatory known as American Professional Slave.

1. Self-medicate
2. Don't worry about relatives dying - my last one just did that last month. When you are done grieving, you will be liberated. They want that for you. They say "you are never Truly free until your parents die".
3.Your kids will be nearly self sufficient in 10 years. You'll make it. They'll make it.
4. If you don't already, become obsessed with amateur age-category DH racing (less time practicing/racing). Leave the family behind and camp out for a long race weekend burning meat over fire and further self medicate. The family will understand - racing is noble. Riding beyond your limits because people are watching (they don't really care about you so don't care about what they think) and scaring the shit out of yourself will be liberating and refreshing. If you bring home a medal, all the better.
5. Self medicate afterwards - you've earned it.
6. Fall asleep in a folding camp chair in front of the campfire.
7. This should all be done alone, 3 times a year if possible. The home and work life will be better.
  • + 8
 the honesty of your ramble is painful yet appreciated. i and i think many other readers honestly wish you well through your tribulations. and yes, to hell with you and your abyss Neitzsche, straight to hell you bastard.
  • + 2
 Life if FUCKING hard with kids and no grandparents to help. We have 2 kids with grandparents in NZ and Sweden. But you get by. You've just inspired me to get out for a ride tonight.
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: haha, do you know that feeling that you want to go for a ride so much that once you get a green light, you don't want to go because you are affraid it's not going to be good? That you will flat or crash? Big Grin
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: Completely... crashing is the biggie for me. One more hospital visit and my missus probably wont let me ride again.

Even a crap ride is better than no ride at all. Spending time with mate(s) taking bikes and shit is half of what its about.
  • + 3
 @fartymarty: any day on the bike is a good day. You got this. Enjoy your ride!
  • + 2
 @C9H13NO3: yes. Sometimes I can't describe how fortunate I feel just to spin the cranks. If any sort of undesired hardship does anything to me, it makes me appreciate good times more. Every spin, every breath and heart beats pounding in the chest.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: @C9H13NO3 For me riding is a good way to forget everything and relax. I find the same with lane swimming - there is so much to focus on (technique, breathing etc) that you forget about everything else and actually relax.
  • + 4
 Now this is something I can relate to, instead of some person using 1/2 an article spouting off credentials and telling us how smart and awesome they are.
  • + 3
 @endlessblockades: I don't self medicate... I'M DOOMED.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: me neither!
  • + 0
 I did weed lately for the first time since many years and it made me a better person for a few days. I need to do it more often. I was calm and exceptionally focused, I think it levels my anxiety. I have to find a source nearby... Not so easy in anti-drug Sweden.
  • + 3
 @fartymarty: I didn't necessarily mean drugs or alcohol. That's up to you. I do swill a good deal of cheap beer and camping is a good place to burn if that's your thing. Life is all about mitigating our internal pain with outside stimulus. Gaining perspective and realizing how lucky you are to be here, now, due to an unending series of coincidental matings of bacteria/cave-people/industrialized humans, can sometimes be helped along by this process.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Can you grow your own?
  • - 1
 @endlessblockades: no. Sweden will be one of the last EU countries to legalize, if it ever will. We still have System Bolaget shops which are the only places where you can buy alcohol stronger than 3,5%. You can buy it in the pubs and restsurants too, but I think you are not allowed to drink it outside a licensed premise.
  • + 7
 @dirtdiggler: You hit the nail on the head there. Reading the article, I kept anticipating some mention of children, either by the author or one of the other contributors.

Until kids are thrown into the equation, you really have no concept of how hard it is to find balance, regardless of job demands or a top-level racing career. Finishing up your 40+hr paid workweek, only to come home to the unfinished demands of your other, unpaid, 50hr/wk job leaves very little time for anything else (including relationship maintenance). Many of us just try to survive with sanity intact.

Kids are the ultimate reality check.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm surprised by that, I wouldn't have put you as "the type", but I understand everyone has their vice. I feel you're easily talented enough with your art, wit & worded prose that you could make some form of living from it, surely? PB should have you in retainer or as a contributor I feel! I come here for your quips and witticisms almost as much as the WC coverage. Wishing you all the best mate - tough times ahead for ya. But remember, we are all here if you need any of us. We are a community after all. :-D
  • + 3
 @cunning-linguist: well said bro.
  • + 30
 "Right now, we’re talking about the rest of us: sitting at a desk, working in a lab, standing behind a counter, or caring for a family."

I'm not sure the author and contributors understand the majority of people who sit at a desk, work in a lab, or stand behind a counter are *also* caring for a family. Working and racing competitively, especially with a family to care for is a pipe dream for most folks. Don't get me wrong, I understand having a spouse/SO and kids is personal choice. But it's a little silly to read advice from a recent grad (who sounds like she isn't tied down in most respects) about balance. Work your hours, own a house, take care of kids/pets, be accountable to your SO, make dinner, do dishes and laundry, get the kids bathed and in bed, get your personal time in....then we can talk about attaining balance.

I know this may be taken as bashing the article, and it's honestly not meant to be that. It's rad to see a woman killing it in science and racing her bike. The perspectives presented here are just a bit narrow IMO.
  • + 9
 Fair enough. This wasn't meant as advice, per se, but more intended to be the start of a productive discussion with folks like yourself. I hadn't seen anyone else having this discussion in the industry, so I attempted to get the conversation started. The more people chime in with what works (or doesn't) in their own lives, the more successful solutions we can all implement in our own.
  • + 7
 @C9H13NO3: I appreciate your work, especially as a woman excelling in two severely male-dominated fields. People like you make me happy I've got daughters growing up in this world. You are correct in saying balance is relative...it would have been nice to see some family-raising people in on this discussion to widen the perspective.
  • + 1
 @jubilee55: Valid point. I think @nkrohan is a great example of a badass mom with a full-time job who races bikes! She crushes it. Maybe she can chime in here with her own perspective?
  • + 2
 @C9H13NO3: That would be rad. I'm going to ping my friend as well, see if she wants to offer commentary...full time job, kids, husband, co-owner of a bike shop, and just completed the BC Bike Race solo. Thanks for the replies here. Keep being a great example for girls everywhere!
  • + 4
 @jubilee55: wow, she sounds quite impressive! What an amazing resume. I'd love to hear her thoughts
  • + 3
 I totally agree ! I'm working full time, have 2 kids and racing too! It's not always easy but in the mid 40 , racing is for fun now! At least for me! I'm not training,riding as much as I would like because I spend quality time with kids and wife. And it's ok like that. We do try to use the traveling to attend races as family vacation once racing is over. At the end everyone is having fun and that's what it's all about.
  • + 1
 @Smumu: that's a trick I figured out. I can still attend the races but bring the family along to make it a family holiday.
  • + 1
 I thought I was busy before I had kids... We farm seasonal produce, I have a full time job to support our farming habit, and 2 busy little girls under 4. I ride to work most days and get some good trail rides in on the weekend if can get up a 3:30 AM and make it happen! My medicine for life is to ride up hill until I want to vomit and ride down until I get scared. I heard It gets easier...
  • + 2
 With all due respect to the PBers chiming in and saying it's hard to find time for a ride when you have kids... She's not talking about fitting in a casual ride here and there, but training to be competitive enough to make it into the EWS top 10. So yes, it may be a narrow perspective because most of us, with or without a family, don't have that "problem".
  • + 28
 "...are therefore willing to ride/race/adventure at the expense of other essentials (e.g., breathing, eating, and sleeping)".

It's always sleeping that gets sacrificed for me... 9-5 job and then:
-After work bike rides + late night bike maintenance sessions.
-After work bike rides + late night laundry / grocery shopping / chores.
-After work bike rides + late night beer drinking sessions.
-Weekends are no better. We just get up earlier so we can drive to further away mountain bike locations.
-etc.

Never. ever. Enough sleep...
But then I get on my bike & forget all about that.
  • + 3
 +1 on sleep. There are not enough hours in the day.
  • + 7
 Have kids and you will understand the true meaning of no sleep.
  • + 6
 Great article and its refreshing to see someone who puts work as something as important as bikes, or more.

I love the testimonials, but it would be good to hear from more with kids, because that is certainly a life changer.

I work full time and have a part time job, and I volunteer for local trail maintenance efforts (will log at least 100 hours this year), and I have 2 kids and a wife, and a dog. You get the picture.

One of the life changing moments for us was moving to a place where we could ride out of the door. That changed everything (Efficiency). Instead of maybe 1-2 rides per week, I am now able to ride 3-4 days per week on dirt. My quality of life is much better.
  • + 1
 Valid point. I think @nkrohan is a great example of a badass mom with a full-time job who races bikes! She crushes it.
  • + 6
 I live 10 minutes drive from my work. However, this distance contains a 330m high hill that doubles as a Mtb Park. I share a car with my partner and she uses it about half the time and I "commute" though the Mtb park when ever I don't have the car. Life is good.
  • + 2
 That sounds like the ideal commute!
  • + 1
 the mtb commute is definitely the way to go. I am a new man after moving close enough to ride to work on a trail that leads more or less to the office.
  • + 1
 Wainuiomata ? Good on you.

My favourite tracks but an hour away. Riding to work is the best.
  • + 10
 i have, what some people like to refer to as, a drinking problem.
  • + 7
 Awesome article Anne! I struggle with this. Finding balance is key. Add in kids and you pretty much lose the ability to compete at the top level, but there are always trade off's in life. Smile
  • + 1
 Thanks! There are indeed
  • + 2
 Right Nikki, add the kiddo(s) and the struggle gets really real Smile
Great article! (although I did miss the parental input). I struggled to find a work/life/team/race balance before kid and it's just that much harder to juggle now. But badass shredders like Nikki give me hope that eventually I'll find the right balance and get my mojo back.
  • + 1
 This.
  • + 5
 Man this article is depressing. I have no hope of keeping up with these people. I never really work overtime, have no kids, and still struggle to ride as much as I would like. Guess I will buy a lotto ticket, that is my one sliver of hope.
  • + 2
 Balance isn't easy, no matter your situation. I've found that scheduling rides on my calendar makes it easier for me to hit the trails!
  • + 4
 I'm in the crash, burn, repeat side of things I need to find balance. I'm a FT professional graphic designer and work part-time at a bike shop 4 days a week, I'm also married with two 10 year old kids and they play sports. Yet through all of this I ride 3 to 4 times a week and somehow manage to keep SOME balance but not all. It ain't easy being beezy'
  • + 3
 Indeed it is not. Crash-burn-repeat-succeed. You got this!
  • + 1
 I am with you. Got kids. Lots of em, work full time, own a business, still get out, never let go, it leaves quick if you do!
  • + 3
 I started recreational riding 1 & half years ago and have been stalking pb n vm since. To be frank I'm in my deepest shit now with slowing biz, loans, half hearted work and a family to feed. I'm borderline depressed at times I think... Cycling started off as a hobby, then it somehow became an excuse to not think about work and now its a threat to my economic well being. I'm standing up again realizing my mistakes and came this article. No other article touches me more than this. A warm thank you to all the above contributors and pf course pb...
  • + 2
 You got this. One day and one ride at a time!
  • + 2
 It's good to utilize it as your vice. It's healthy, it helps take your mind off of other things happening in life and you can have great experiences whilst doing it. I find that it's my escape from school. I have to do what I can to try to fit it in once a week so that I can maintain my sanity. Keep it up for attaining yours!
  • + 3
 One of the responders wrote "weeding out inefficiencies"...i think of it as being so busy doing the couple of things that you want/need to do that theres no time for anything else. For example, ive found just eating better can improve riding fitness and thus fun, without hours more training (or buying lighter parts!)
There really can be only one focus target though, and its probably good to think about the long term outcome and where today's work either on training or the 'other job' will get you where you want to be in the future.
  • + 3
 What about the 'other' option, where you find a job that involves travelling and riding? I've been lucky enough to take that route through my job as the 'IT guy' at TDA Global Cycling. Our tours aren't mountain biking, but I do get paid to travel and ride my bike in amazing places, so I'll take it.
  • + 3
 Much respect for finding a position that satisfies both aspects! Sounds great
  • + 3
 Single mom, two kids, full time teacher. Craziest balancing act was doing a Master's degree, working full-time and training to make the national team a few years ago...My kids are now old enough to be left for a couple of hours, so I'm lucky...but whatever your situation, you need to make some time to follow your passion! I want to show my kids that anything is possible if you want it badly enough. Also, mental health and physical health are one and the same! Balance is not an 'option' - it's an imperative! Smile Cheers to all the hardworking people trying to master the juggling act!
  • + 1
 Wow, nice work and congrats! Agreed, it's imperative to being happy.
  • + 3
 I think it is an amazing achievement to pursue multiple passions period. I am not a racer but I do get to live in Moab and it is awesome. Yet I am raising a family, work a full time job...at a bike shop, have three grown kids that could guide you anywhere here biking, boating or skiing, a little girl of a bit over and year and own a new business. I still ride, boat, and ski. Not as much as I would like, but more than most. Nothing ever seems to be perfect, some aspect always seems to suffer a little, I call it stuff management! Hats off Anne for taking it to the next level in all worlds, best wishes the rest of us are with you!
  • + 1
 Cheers! "stuff management", I like it
  • + 3
 Inspiring words, @C9H13NO3 ! I'm also a postdoc working full-time and starting to get into enduro racing. In fact I remember you from the backcountry lifeline course that we took at the Santa FE BME. I'm happy to hear of your success and that motivates me to find my work-play balance! Keep shredding, gal!
  • + 1
 Likewise, and good luck in your postdoc! Come say hi at the next event
  • + 2
 This article really speaks to me in a way so many articles fail to do so.

I fought hard through years of school studying Mechanical Engineering while working part time and racing part time to find a balance. Techniques and mindsets I developed during that time have made me a lean and effective individual. Even more importantly: so many of those who I consider the closest of friendships were forged during this time. Eventually I was forced to focus solely on studies and work experience while really taking a step back from racing. It was hard and still is. I long for those trips to the Whistler; those long drives in the team van. But the sacrifice paid off.

Since graduating I have been working as a Mechanical Design Engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. A real dream come true for a huge nerd like me. I am just starting to get into the swing of riding regularly again. I am finding a new balance.

For those of you who face the struggle of 40+ hour/week - read these words and have faith that you are not alone!

Thanks for the awesome read Anne.
  • + 1
 Wow, thanks for sharing! Huge congrats on the position at JPL, definitely a dream job. Let me know if they need any nanochemists in the next few years!
  • + 2
 I'm a postdoctoral researcher in nanomaterials from Sydney, Australia, where I was lucky to get in 2 rides a month. 8 weeks ago I packed up everything, said goodbye to friends, family and even my girlfriend and moved to Tuscany in Italy for a research job, but also to try and ride more. Since arriving I've ridden more trails than I can remember, raced an Urban DH, multiple club events and even got to tick a bucket list item training camp with Cedric Gracia. If you are willing to sacrifice everything, and believe me it is the hardest thing I've ever done (especially long distance with GF), you might just get to experience adventures you'd never dreamed about!
  • + 1
 What a great story, thanks for sharing! Sounds though, but you're making the most of it and getting to ride more. Congrats on the position!
  • + 1
 It's cool to see some inspiration from those who are in the game as well. Cool to hear you've understood the sacrifice and distance needed to get to your end goal. It's certainly a huge sacrifice and it sounds like you're trying to pepper in some balance when you can. I'm still trying to find that balance with school. It's been a couple weeks now since I've gotten to ride.
  • + 2
 I have a full time job, a wife and a 7 years old daughter. Of course it's harder to ride a lot when you have a kid but it's possible.
I ride basically 3 times a week: 2 during the week and one time on the week end.
To be able to squeeze my 2h riding session during the week, the only easy solution I found is to ride in the morning before work. It means that I have to get up at 6am to start riding around 6.20am, be back at 8.20am to be at my desk at 9am. Luckily the trail start directly in my garden so I don't have to waste time before my house and the trails.
The hard part is riding at night for at least 5 or 6 months a year when you start early. The good part of riding in the morning is all you ride always finish with natural light. When you ride after work at 5pm, in the winter you start and you finish your ride with the artificials lights.
  • + 1
 Yes, good call on the early mornings. That's usually the ideal time for me to get a ride or workout in, too.
  • + 1
 Add a second kid and things will change...
  • + 1
 @aswin:
Won't happen for me, we have just adopted my daughter one year ago and we won't go through the whole painfully long process again (close to 5 years).
But the good part of having a kid is too see them progress on the bike when you ride with them on the local trails or in the bikepark. What a progression in just a year.
  • + 1
 @hpman83: good on you guys! Enjoy those times and be stoked to have a family!
  • + 2
 This article hits home for me. Being active duty military, with a schedule that changes weekly based on 24 hour shifts and whatnot. Finding balance is sometimes if not all the time impossible. I basically work to support my family, and when I can, get some new bike parts, and THEN when I can, go for a killer ride. Being stationed in Miami doesn't help since trails are minimal and a drive to the good stuff up north requires an 8 hour drive just to get out of the state. But imake do. I've had a taste of whistler and the northwest riding and the bug will never leave. My heart is in the sport and I'll keep finding the so called balance in my life to keep that flame strong.
  • + 2
 Thank you for your service! Yes, it's the passion for the sport that keeps us riding. Best of luck to you
  • + 1
 I'm sort of in the same spot as you. I'm stationed in Colorado and while there are a lot of bike parks and cool trails around, being active duty puts me in a spot where it can be hard to plan trips to get to some of the trails (not to mention I don't have a vehicle).
  • + 2
 @C9H13NO3 It is a constant battle . As a 911 dispatcher, EMT and a "semi pro" Enduro racer (whatever that is Wink I struggle constantly due to several factors ..... I do get a lot of PTO to go race, but have to pick and choose right now do to being short staffed , i.e. I just did a two week road trip thru BC and raced in the Tran BC (you should totally go next year !) but had to give up my EWS Aspen spot because someone else was on vacation, which I am working 72 hours of graveyard shifts in 7 days to cover said person ... But in all balance is only accomplished if you give somethings up. I also feel that riding and racing has been great for not only my physical health ( 911 Dispatchers aren't exactly known for their beach bodies if ya know what I am saying !) but my mental health as well.
In short my Career is Emergency Services, it always will be , but my passion is riding bikes and I keep getting faster and older every year , so I guess its working . So looking at your situation ..... I'd say you are crushing it ! Good luck in ASSSpen ! - Matt Hightower
  • + 1
 Thanks, Matt! Somedays are definitely better than others. See you in Steamboat!
  • + 2
 Am very lucky to have a wife who understands my need for balance between work, family, and bikes. She's out of town, but arranged a babysitter for me yesterday because I just got a new bike! Time on the bike gets my head straight so that I can be better at my job and be a better parent.
  • + 1
 Finding your balance just seems to make all aspects of the juggling act a bit better. Sounds like an ideal situation! Congrats on the new bike
  • + 2
 I work construction just came off a job where I was local and worked 13 12hr days on and 1 day off. Did 2 Dh races in three years. Had 6 weeks off between jobs and in that six weeks I did 1 Dh race an organised moto trail ride and rode a few times a week Moto and Dh. New job is 4 weeks on 1 week off. Including family time I can get 2 rides on both Moto and mtb in the week off. I think now I work more I appreciate my riding time more whereas when I was younger I think I took it for granted I could race every weekend and ride every day.
  • + 2
 Perspective certainly changes as our priorities change. Enjoy those rides!
  • + 1
 @C9H13NO3: I do, 22 days to go.
  • + 2
 Ryan nailed it when he said 'it's all about weeding out inefficiencies'.
Anyone can find the time to do what they want to do, just cut out the crap from your life like two hours of Internet or TV a day (10 minutes of Pinkbike is ok, right?) and there you have two hours available every day for training or riding.
Easy :-)
  • + 2
 Hmm, I have 2 kids, wife, dog and a house. I'm biking 7 days a week when you count 2 striders, my wife's biking habits, and my own. It helps that I build trail for a living, but I try not to think of biking on the job as a ride. Racing is a whole different beast. I love the thrill but hate spending a whole weekend away to ride a single track for 4 min. I'm all about toonie races. More toonie races!
  • + 1
 I have no idea what toonie races are, but it sounds like we all need more of them.
  • + 1
 @C9H13NO3: $2 races!
  • + 1
 @kiksy: yes, we need those!
  • + 2
 I quit from hardcore racing, went to school, job, wife, mortgage and kid. I can't tell you how many times I look at "racers" that will never get a podium, "living the dream" and probably living paycheck to paycheck forever and am glad I'm not them.

But I still envy the lifestyle no doubt, of being at every race, and living the van life, Whistler trips, etc. Maybe all those guys were just more passionate about it than me...
  • + 4
 She fails to mention that a half mile from campus are world class trails. use to get a ride in if i had an hour between classes.
  • + 3
 my guess is that has something to do with her choice? I live and work in Golden too... Efficiency is the key to life..
  • + 2
 True - was going for a more general discussion here. You're right, though, and I don't take advantage nearly often enough. Time to change that!
  • + 4
 The struggle is real...right this very moment. Great perspective! Call in with a sore throat and go shred if the balance gets bad!
  • + 1
 So real!
  • + 2
 I love this article and the ideas it presents, I'm a clinical social worker and life balance is critical for both client and clinician alike! And now for the confounding factor in one word: KIDS! My life is no longer just mine, it's theirs too, the balance then changes but can still be approximated. This is true of at least getting out to ride.
  • + 1
 Cheers! Keeping yourself focused is key - sounds like you've got your priorities right.
  • + 1
 Great story, but it kind of falls short for me. To really focus on those who work full time, look at the reults that show how many people work full time and don't race. We're the people that don't show up in any results sheets or stories but, we live and breath this sport and cherish every moment we have on the bike. Still, good story about balancing life inside and outside the sport.
  • + 1
 Valid point. I encourage you to write about it! I put together my thoughts here because I didn't see anyone talking about the working/racing perspective and wanted to get a conversation started. As you pointed out, there are lots of people who would appreciate talking about your experiences.
  • + 1
 nobody mentioned jobs other than desk jockeying... what about all the hard knock labor jobs... mechanics, construction, etc... in a way you do stay pretty fit, but add kids and family life, its super hard to give up a chill day to recover, to exert yourself for fun, in between catching up on all your normal life needs..becomes REALLY hard after 30... i was working 6 days a week, non stop, for 12 years, bikes were to commute... now, im at zero day a week and can finally enjoy mtb recreation... it is balance, but, i personally feel compromise doesnt exist, to achieve, or dedicate... you gotta go all in on anything you want, love, success ... bla bla bla... i cant multitask
  • + 1
 Completely valid point! Thanks for sharing
  • + 1
 No desire to race only ride. Juggling raising 3 kids plus a wife, and biking takes a lot. Racers take riding a little too seriously sometimes which just adds up to stress. Work hard play hard, and if you miss the race who cares just go for an enjoyable ride and be thankful for what you do have not what you don't.
  • + 1
 Good advice!
  • + 1
 right now Im spending 5 weeks in france with wife and kids in motorhome to get 2 weeks of chatel for myself. doing nothing but run after kids, cooking washing and cleaning and falling unconscious at 1am and repeat again is the real enduro! anyway I managed to get an hour in an adult trampoline and got to learn how to back and front flip in that time for the first time, at 40. maybe cetting closer to it on a mtb without the airbag, who knows....life is all about illusion!
  • + 1
 I didn't find this very insightful at all, as a full time provider and a weekend warrior, it's common sense we all need balance to ride and not create further problems / procrastination of responsibility. What I would have found helpful would have been, how these business owners/ employees tell there boss "hey I need two days extra off to make it to a race" or tell their significant other "I gotta train for three months to get in shape for an adventure race"ect. These are the REAL occasion where I think most of us could use some input/coping skills to actually succeed at the "BALANCE "
  • + 1
 Valid point. I encourage you to write about it! I put together my thoughts here because I didn't see anyone talking about the working/racing perspective and wanted to get a conversation started. All I can do is write from my own experiences. As you pointed out, there are lots of people who would appreciate talking about your experiences. I look forward to reading your article!
  • + 3
 Anybody notice that no riders/racers who are also parents were interviewed. Riding while working full time is easy in comparison...
  • + 1
 Luckily not going to happen for me, so you're right - that's not something I have perspective on. Scroll around a bit and we've got some great discussions going with input from a few folks with kids. The whole idea here was just to get the conversation started - feel free to add in some positive suggestions for others in your position! The more ideas we all share, the more we can all incorporate them into our own lives.
  • + 1
 I feel like the biggest diff between the perspective represented here vs full time desk job with a multiple child family is the mental anguish or guilt that is difficult to deal with when kids are introduced. Physical schedule limitations and time are easy to deal with compared to the guilt I feel of doing something for myself like riding...timing and age of your kids is big too. I love my wife but she has zero interest in riding bikes and my 2 kids are too young to ride. Is there a solution to this or do I just have to hope that a kid likes to ride when bigger and give up until then?
  • + 1
 You nailed it! My same issue. I negotiated a 3 day trip to Sedona. I first attempted to make it a family affair, but my wife at least has the foresight to realize it's not her type of thing, and if im going to go for the purpose of riding, than make it a riding trip. Sounds like a score right? It is until you are on day 3 and wishing you were with your kid-o.

I think we just have to wait for our young ones to get a little older to share in the fun.
  • + 1
 id love to race professionally, only thing is. I work full time and if my bike breaks down over a race to on the way to work. then I have to remove racing. personally would love to find someone to sponsor me so id be able to change my work schedule a bit. only issue is id have to race to find sponsors. my bike isn't exactly built for race quite yet. still gotta do some work on it before I can think of racing. anybody willing to sponsor, lemme know ill show you how great I can ride and race. never signed a contract. prob going to be practicing almost every day soon! lol I sound like a loser pointing all this information out, but yet I don't entirely care cause I don't actually know anybody to help me get into this race world. have a great day everybody
  • + 1
 I work to pay for play....aka vague attempts in actual racing & supporting my own nonprofit! Yet, bringing area Dads together WITH their kids is one of our focuses. However, that program doesn't pay $, pay through karma...Kids in the world, need that time with the positive role models in their lives! Oh, well back to working the bill paying job....www.BikinDads.com
  • + 1
 What a neat program, thanks for sharing!
  • + 1
 No mention of KIDS... If you want to be a big part of your kids life and have them turn out better than the average, it's virtually impossible to have a full time job and race competitively or get super fit and dialed on the bike without feeling like I'm neglecting them. Part of MY problem is I actually like spending time with my kids, unlike some I see out on the trail.
  • + 1
 Right there with you man. It's hard to enjoy an epic weekend trip when you know that you could be just as happy tooling around with your kid-o outside. I'd love to focus on me more, and at first when our little one was born, that is ALL I wanted. Now that she is approaching two, I've learned to calm my expectations, enjoy being a dad more, and get riding in when I can! Priorities, that's life.
  • + 4
 You cannot truly appreciate how much time you have on your hands until you have kids and the time is gone.
  • + 1
 Mine is working full time, and riding my bike as often as I can, PLUS balancing races and family life all at the same time. It's hard. I have to choose events carefully, I have to make sure that I have the right timings with away trips for work. Which bike will I fly with me to wherever I am going so that I can keep training.

And I LOVE the line in this article "We're the ones training late at night". My worst start/finish was somewhere after nine, finishing somewhere before eleven.
  • + 1
 Awesome read, Anne! I am a civil engineer and work on the road so getting a ride in is always a struggle. Just try to do my chores in the dark so I can get a ride in here and there. I actually just took a job that will give me some of my summer back so am pretty stoked on that. Honestly I kind of lost the desire for racing, and working so many hours in the summer and therefore lacking time on the bike I have a hard time feeling fit enough to justify the costs associated. I would love to try to weekend warrior it a few times just for kicks as your last paragraph summed it up perfectly. I feel like this is a common theme for many of us, and where this article stemmed from, but I have come to appreciate those rides I do get out on more and more lately which is what its all about for me at this point! Congrats on getting through all of your schooling!
  • + 1
 Thanks! Good for you making sure you're prioritizing riding. I find myself working too much far too often. Need to be better about getting it myself. Balance is key.
  • + 1
 Hey @C9H13NO3 I've enjoyed all the pieces you've put together for pb, including this one. I work in academic research too and I'm curious what your goals are wrt that career, as that will have a big affect on the balance you'll likely be able to maintain after your postdoc. If you're gunning for a faculty job, especially at a high power place, it will be hard to keep up your current level of riding. I expect you've paid attention to how much time new faculty put into the first few years until tenure comes up. Of course, maybe you're brilliant and can just breeze by Wink Finding those jobs isn't easy either, especially when there are a few additional constraints. I don't mean to be a bummer though. Maybe you'll go for industry, since you're field is so compatible with that. I have no insight on that.
  • + 2
 Thanks! Yes, industry for me. I've got at least another year in the postdoc, two if any of these recent fellowship applications come through. Completely aware things will change at that point, but I'm going to try and race at long as possible!
  • + 2
 You just need to be gifted.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKwwi8Bb_KQ
  • + 1
 @DrJean: That's rad!
  • + 1
 Father of two (3.5 and 1 yr olds), husband , and work a regular 9-5 corporate construction job.

I ride 1-2x / week. Take long lunches. Some people hit the gym for an hr 2-3x / week during lunch...I prefer singletrack and a bitchen mtn bike...I don't race but am grateful to be able to ride and not get fat. Even if that means grinding up some hot ass asphalt to get to some 18" singletrack in the peak 100* heat of the day.
  • + 1
 Great article. I'm a pharmacist, working 40-55ish hours a week. I ride on my days off and do the odd few races a year. I live in a major city centre where getting to the trails can be an exercise in traffic frustration but it's always worth it. I totally assumed those participating and winning *real* races were hobos living in their vans or pro sponsored athletes.
  • + 2
 Definitely not all of us! Though, sometimes that sounds very appealing...
  • + 1
 Certainly a large part of this balance is dependent on the type of goals you have for yourself as well as the type of racing. Working full time in a lab or a cubicle or out and about and being a professional cyclist is a challenge no matter the discipline. Is it possible that one discipline can require more resources and time than another? I wonder, though as a lifelong amateur, I have neither the experience nor the authority to speculate.

Balance is incredibly important, to be sure, but balance is also easier to attain if the goals at which you are striving are less dependent on deducting more energy and resources from your life.

I'm a teacher and found that, even with summer breaks, it was very challenging for me to meet my goals racing on the road. Once I got to a certain point, my body needed more time for training in order to keep up with my competitors, and I couldn't find that time without deducting from the work life. I was single, independent, and I wasn't even aiming to be a "pro" (that term gets used loosely all too often).

Since switching to more of a mountain bike focus, I find that an hour after work here and there generally gives me more bang for my buck, as you can work on fitness and skills together. My friends who are still on the roadie bender are spending 10-12+ hours a week outside of their day jobs busting their asses with all sorts of intervals, hill repeats, power testing etc to fulfill their goals of upgrading to category 1/2. My DH friends are full-time as well, and they have a blast racing, still competitively, and are surely living a more balanced life as well. All of us are amateurs.

But, as soon we change our goals and strive for greater achievements, the equation needs to be re-balanced.
  • + 1
 Thanks for sharing and well said. I like the idea of thinking about it like re balancing an equation!
  • + 1
 Keeping everything in balance is something I've been wrestling with lately - Work, Racing, Family, Friends. Its hard to find room for everything, and its reassuring to see others succesfully balancing a full-time professional career while also racing at the level I aspire to.
  • + 4
 Balancing Work and MTB? thats easy. Throw a kid or two into the mix and get back to me.
  • + 1
 You're right, that's not something I have perspective on. Scroll up a bit and we've got a discussion going with input from a few folks with kids. The whole idea here was just to get the conversation started - feel free to add in some positive suggestions for others in your position! The more ideas we all share, the more we can all incorporate them until our own lives.
  • + 1
 *into
  • + 2
 I haven't met you yet, but you are winning top level pro races against a field of part time workers and full time racers. And you have an intense full-time job! I loved reading your article because there is so much I can relate. I also do not have kids, but do the full time race and Job thing. Although we don't have kids or dogs or whatever else you want to throw into the mix, it's nice to have an article on PB where it's shifting focus to more of what's realistic in mountain biking, because the full time MTB racer life is not a reality for most, even those of us racing at the top level. I choose to live and work next to rad trails so I can work all day and get out the door and ride the majority of the time... All part of the balance and figuring it out!
  • + 2
 Four kids deep in Moab making less than middle class wages. All about priorities. Not easy but don't give up, share it, it will be the best riding you ever do.
  • + 1
 There's always someone with worse situation... throw an impaired kid into your kids equation, or 250lbs parent needing care and diapers. Yes kids are amazing time and energy consumers, but I wouldn't put it on anyone to understand since I people who have older kids already don't remember what kind of a struggle parents of small ones go through. Yesterday we found a large tick on my daughters neck. We managed to remove it after 1 hour. She cried as if I was skinning her, even though i wasn't even touching her yet. I finally managed to take it out with forcing her into the madrass because there was no calming her down and she was shaking and defending like an untied man to be given lethal injection. Meanwhile we got into a fight with my wife, who told me to be calm and not scream at her or anybody. She managed to accuse me of making her nervous. A bit of the head got left inside. I tried to take it out with my daughter not cooperating at all. I proposed anesthetic cream. My wife said it's dangerous to apply it. Wound had 2mm in diameter... we got into a fight. Meanwhile my son started to get whiny. I finally called a doctor if we can come and do it, before I kill my wife and my daughter. Doctor said not to remove it. My wife gave me shit for not forcing the doctor to remove it. If by any chance my daughter gets sick, my wife will surely blame me for it. Completely ruined day, and quiet days with my wife for at least a week ahead. Fascinating how a small spider and 3mm wound can fk up the day... and that's just one of many occasions. I totaly understand why some people divorce. Not because they hate each other, they just need to rest from their kids. Answering questions why daddy doesn't love mummy anymore is a piece of a cake, and cannot beat an incentive for being away from kids and the spouse for a week in a row, every two weeks... I don't even want to know how pro athletes like Justin Leov feel, when they get injured, having kids and needing to race. My sister in law expects a baby, her husband just came back from competing in TDF. She will get very little help from him. Olympic Gold, climbing Everest, winning DH World Cup... sorry, if you want a medal, be a lone parent for 2 years.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Damn, dude. that's all normal stuff. Hang in there. I recommend listening to some Funereal Doom like Bell Witch's excellent 'Four Phantoms'. If you can get through the whole 60 minute, 4 song opus by this 2 man band, you will feel great! For real. 1/2 of the band died recently, and the band carries on. RIP Adrian Guerra

Following up their acclaimed “Longing” debut with a heavier, more colossal, crushing, hypnotic, and meditative lamentation, “Four Phantoms” sees the duo of Dylan Desmond (bass/vocals) and Adrian Guerra (drums/vocals) create a much more mournful and vast sonic procession, one which could very well be recognized as one of the most moving and emotionally draining death/doom metal albums ever conceived within this age of hopelessness and despair. The mournful aura and atmosphere of “Four Phantoms” so overwhelming, like a soundtrack to embracing the aftermath of an eradication brought upon entire races and civilizations.
  • + 2
 @endlessblockades: I felt much better as soon ad you mentioned aftermath of eradication of entire human race...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: That part was a copy and paste from a review I came across, but I'm glad it put things in a cheerful light.
  • + 1
 @endlessblockades: my favorite shows online are from astrophysics. Lately I saw something about a rogue black hole coming close to the Solar system. The description of how it would be enough if it would affect the Oort cloud sending space missiles made of ice all over the place, creating a bombardment that Solar System hasn't seen since a billion years. Then they went deeper and talked about planets and their moons getting out of orbits and flying around, maybe even crashing into each other, possibly into the Sun itself. oooh the description of Jupiter being torn apart, stripped of gas, so that maybe even the glow of it's core could be visible... I am salivating...
  • + 1
 This is the same woman with the tattoo of adrenaline on her arm, I didn't think it was possible for me to like her more but this article @C9H13NO3 is well thought out and written. I love how you've managed to provoke discussion (most of it sharing experiences) about a subject most of us suffer from.
Thanks for sharing, good luck with the Enduro scene
  • + 2
 Thanks! Yes, I wanted to get people talking about what works (or doesn't) in their own lives. Hopefully, we can all learn a new trick or two!
  • + 1
 I teach 7th grade science and my wife works as a pharma rep. We have 2 boys ages 9&10. I manage to get 2 rides in per week by getting up really early on the weekend and getting out for a ride. This allows me to get back home at a reasonable time. Also manage to get in 1 afterwork ride during the week during the school year by bringing the mtb to school and leaving straight from there. A calendar helps to get the ride in during the week.

Keep in mind, don't make your wife mad by going on large group rides. These tend to take forever which could threaten your next weekday ride and/or weekend ride and beyond.
  • + 1
 Good call on the calendar, that really helps me, too.
  • + 1
 Some people have to work harder to get to the top levels and probably need #vanlife or 100% focus...while the naturals (T-Mo) could probably work two full time jobs and race pro on the side, no problem...natural talent can help with the balance equation.
  • + 6
 Talent? Have you read the interview with T-Mo, how many hours a week she was putting in when she was racing EWS? 25 hours in the saddle. I'm no pro but I sense that putting it on the talent, gets on their nerves considering how much they work for it.
  • + 2
 Good read, enjoyed it. Helps make up my mind about racing enduro a few times next year. Will I be in racing shape, no. Will I be riding the right bike, no. I'll be doing it as my 50th year old milestone.
  • + 2
 Thank you! That sounds like a great plan - Happy 50th and good luck!
  • + 2
 50 is perfect - you will feel great about.
  • + 1
 19 Year Old youngster, about to study phisiology, tbh.i don't really wanna know how to find work and play balance...i just wanna know how I can do what I love first and then do what keeps my feet on the ground...but with all seriousness, I just wanna ride my bike, like really badly, in school it was always a drama, teachers asking me where my focus is, parents seeking help, thinking something was just off with me, doctors finding answers by giving me pils, my life was always about bikes. Bikes make my world go round, and dirt, well dirt makes this world spining. I am not trying to pull me away from that... I am willing to spin with it ... Big Grin nice article tho...have worked a.year full time as a care giver... I feel you guys too damn well!
  • + 5
 Interesting no one gives two poops about racing
  • + 2
 I pretty much don't ride at all anymore... Bought a house, remodel it on weekends, work 60hr weeks, travel 2wks of the month... I'm exhausted... Frown
  • + 1
 its priorities man youre the only one that can answer that. it seems you prioritized work first, it not bad at all but in the end you just have to sacrifice something.
  • + 1
 Then there's those of us who balance full-time work, a marriage, kids, training and racing... Balance takes a strong partner who understands or shares your passion and need to get out and ride.
  • + 3
 Throw a kid in the equation..than tell me know how you balance father, full time work, full time race
  • + 0
 Luckily not going to happen for me, so you're right - that's not something I have perspective on. Scroll up a bit and we've got a discussion going with input from a few folks with kids. The whole idea here was just to get the conversation started - feel free to add in some positive suggestions for others in your position! The more ideas we all share, the more we can all incorporate them until our own lives.
  • + 0
 Well done Anne! You've achieved more academically and racing bicycles than most ever will - not to mention your results as racer are incredible given your short career as a mountain biker racers. In my opinion you're dong it right and doing it very well. Your drive, passion and commitment are all very evident in all you do. Finding that balance was always tough for me as a young motocross racer and feel I never reached my full potential because I wasn't focused enough on racing and training. I was spread to thin with traveling, school, other sports and having a social life. I wanted to be a pro racer but the odds were stacked heavily against me (and every other kid with that dream). It is a long shot to make a well paying career in any sport. So I say go hard, do the best you can and enjoy the time you have competing. One day racing will come to an end and you can look back with head high and know that you accomplished so much BUT you didn't sacrifice your education and career - which will prove to be very rewarding. Cheers!
  • + 0
 The full time work full time mtb life isnt even a big deal, its when you have kids and you have to split work, play and parenthood to gain some kind of balance where madness actually starts to kick in. I do recognize the difficulty that she has to deal dont get me wrong.
  • + 1
 You're right, that's not something I have perspective on. Scroll up a bit and we've got a great discussion going with input from a few folks with kids. The whole idea here was just to get the conversation started - feel free to add in some positive suggestions for others in your position! The more ideas we all share, the more we can all incorporate them until our own lives.
  • + 1
 My kids love to ride as much as I do, I will be chasing them before too long! When they were little,time to ride was harder to find, but now we ride together. Now if I could just get rid of house projects!
  • + 1
 There's always something!
  • + 1
 Cool article! Inspiring. I went to the Colorado School of Mines!! And now finishing a phd at UBC. Start early, finish early so I can ride my bike in the afternoon and evenings.
  • + 1
 Awesome! Good luck on your PhD - you'll be done before you know it. You got this!
  • + 2
 it helps having a job you like and be ok to put in a little more effort into it and maybe not riding a couple days a month cuz of it..
  • + 2
 The true test comes after you have kids. Getting exercise in before hand is a joke.
  • + 1
 Luckily not going to happen for me, so you're right - that's not something I have perspective on. Scroll up a bit and we've got a discussion going with input from a few folks with kids. The whole idea here was just to get the conversation started - feel free to add in some positive suggestions for others in your position! The more ideas we all share, the more we can all incorporate them into our own lives.
  • + 1
 Does Engineering school count as work? I mean one week I have all the time in the world then next I'm up to my knees in paper work.
  • + 2
 Thanks for taking the time to write a meaningful article. This had a positive impact on my day.
  • + 1
 Thanks for taking the time to share!
  • + 1
 Outstanding article. Balance is all about planning right and executing without hesitation. Much easier said than done, but the reward once it is done is worth it.
  • + 3
 Solid Nod to the 99 others who checked the first box.
  • + 1
 Nailed it Anne!! I think it's key to find work that you are passionate about in order not to burn out playing the balance game.
  • + 2
 Yeah. Who wants to have fun all the time? Bring on some working!
  • + 1
 Inspiring and comforting to read such a nice opinion from someone at the same position than me. Thanks for sharing, Anne.
  • + 1
 Thanks and good luck!
  • + 1
 Makes the US team and skips World Champs for school... the badass level is high. Killing it in every way Anne!
  • + 3
 Anne is my hero!
  • + 1
 This post's comments were interesting. Many responses were positive, but so much moaning and groaning.
  • + 1
 I am a bit lucky as I have a jump park set up at home, so I can get my fix whenever I need it.
  • + 1
 @C9H13NO3 Cool edit, love the style and that your screen name is a formula for adrenaline, is priceless....
  • + 3
 Chem nerd
  • + 2
 But you have to admit, post-doc is not a real job.
  • + 1
 You're right. I work more hours for less pay!
  • + 1
 This article had me after the first two paragraphs. I will now read the rest of it.
  • + 1
 Hope the rest lived up. Thanks!
  • + 1
 Racing..yea. Its fun to watch, but I have no interest in doing it myself.
  • - 1
 Waki, 110% well put!! Man sometimes I think you should be the author...you always seem to shed a light on what's real...most of the time..lol
  • + 1
 I appreciate this post Smile
  • + 1
 THE LAST BOX IS FOR THE BIKE THIEVES
  • + 1
 Great read, and kudos on finishing 10th in Aspen! Smile
  • + 1
 Thank you!
  • + 0
 I'm counting school as work yes?
  • + 1
 Crushed it Anne!
  • + 0
 Thanks for your help with this!
  • + 0
 I identified myself. Nice!

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