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April 3, 2019
Off-season With Intent
I entered my first enduro four years ago on a whim. I’d just bought a full suspension bike, and since I had a good bike, I figured, I might as well give it a try. My first race was miserable. We spent the first hour and a half carrying our bikes up a scree field before starting a punishing traverse on sketchy hiking trails. By the end of the day, I wanted to cry, but for some reason wanted to try it again. I learned how it felt to ride in a way that made me proud, and since then, I haven’t stopped pushing for more.
As I became more serious about racing, I started competing in the pro women’s category and even trying out some Enduro World Series events. The events were fun, and I had some great results, but I often found myself in over my head. Throwing myself into the deep end had worked at first, but over time I reached a point when I knew I needed to get serious about my training.
I’ve learned three major lessons over the past several months: I’ve learned to trust the process, to prioritize recovery and to accept small changes.
Trusting the Process I love instant gratification, but the training process usually doesn’t give us immediate results. This winter, I’ve learned to put in the work with consistency and determination, even when I feel discouraged. Some days I don’t feel strong or motivated, but the decision to keep pushing myself on those days is what defines my success this season. I trust that Robin knows what she’s doing. She knows when to push me and keeps me accountable in pushing myself. I also trust that we can communicate about how I’m feeling, and she can help me decide when I need to back off and recover.
Prioritizing Recovery Recovering from training is just as important as training hard. When I start to neglect proper sleep, food, and hydration, I fall behind quickly, and it is difficult to catch back up. Life has thrown me a few curveballs this winter, and it’s been essential for me to take care of myself in the face of life drama, a busy work schedule, and intense training demands. I’m learning to recognize the signs that my body isn’t keeping up with my training and I know I can dial things back when I need to.
Some of the most important work I’ve done this winter has been mental. Often, after spending all day at work ski patrolling, I really, really don’t want to go to the gym. I go anyway. Some nights I do a strength workout followed by a bike workout, and I’m not going to lie, it can be tough. But a big part of mountain bike racing is being comfortable with discomfort, and when it starts to hurt, I remind myself that all of this makes me stronger. Every time I put myself through a brutal workout, it makes me a bit better at being in brutal situations. Every time I sit on a bike trainer until late at night, I practice patience and discipline, and that makes me a bit more patient and disciplined heading into the race season.
This winter has helped me to really internalize all the training guidance that we all think we know. I’m learning what it means to trust the process. I can take training day-by-day and aim for progress, not perfection. And I’m shifting from knowing what I should do to actually doing it.