What does your standard training week involve? It depends on the time of season and whether or not I’m travelling between competitions, but in all cases a training week involves good eating, good sleep, and lots of time on the bike. Two thirds of my cycling training is spent on the road bike, but the rest of the time I like to mix it up with XC and all-mountain riding to keep the skills sharp. I’ll get in at least a day of strength training throughout the season, and plenty of cross training during the winter.
Where is your favorite place to train? I love training in the Pacific Northwest since it offers my favorite mix of terrain for all forms of cycling – XC, enduro, freeride, DH, road, cyclocross... Of course, I relish the training days in the sun, and need to get away somewhere warm (like Arizona or SoCal) during January and February. But at the end of the day, I feel like I have everything I need here at home, especially the roads and trails around my childhood home in Trout Lake, WA. As for living in Seattle, I have come to embrace the rain!
What is your favorite race? I don’t have any single favorite race, since there are so many good MTB venues out there. I love the atmosphere of the World Cup events – traveling internationally, thousands of fans, so many talented racers, the pressure to perform – but the races I’ll always enjoy the most are probably the local staples, like the Bear Springs XC near Government Camp, Oregon. It’s an old school, single-lap format, gnarly course that really requires mountain bike riding…and sometimes some route finding!
What is your favorite 2XU garment? When do you use it and why? Lately, my favorite has been the 2XU Compression Socks for Recovery or Elite Compression Tights. I use them primarily during travel for competition, and after hard workouts. They keep my legs from feeling lifeless after international flights in economy class! Since I often handle all of my own logistics and travel solo, I view the travel as much a part of the competition as the race itself - so the compression garments are very important to me.
What is your favorite training accessory? (heart rate monitor, power meter, pool buoy, etc...) The gadgets are great…especially my foam roller kit! I also love my freeride bike – the “fun” bike.
What has been the toughest experience in your career and what did you learn from it? I have been very fortunate throughout my career to have a record clear of major injuries, disease or other major setbacks. However, like any sport, competing at the highest level is a tremendous challenge, no matter how fast or healthy you may be. But therein is one of the greatest things about being an elite athlete – the way it forces you to negotiate challenges.
What is the most common training mistake you see? Focusing on quantity over quality – losing touch with what regimen really works for you on (and off) the bike
What motivates you to train and race harder? Everything from winning a race to growing as a person.
Describe your diet/ meal plan leading up to a big race? I try to keep my diet consistent throughout the season – healthy and delicious. Sometimes the meal plan has to adjust depending on the location of an event and the available cuisine. In general, a breakfast of grains, fruits, & nuts with some almond milk or yogurt, a carb-rich recovery meal right after training, and a fulfilling dinner with lots of veggies and protein.
How do you balance your training and racing life with life outside the sport? I’ve always prioritized a healthy balance of racing and life outside the sport. I view my goals with racing as inseparable from everything else going on in my life – be it relationships, school, or work. There are necessary sacrifices, but a fulfilling balance is always possible. These days I treat racing like the job, albeit the fun one! Currently I balance my race career with part time work for Ridgeline Energy, a renewable energy developer based in Seattle. They have been my employer since 2008, and I am grateful for their willingness to support my Olympic bid.
What type of nutritional supplement do you find most helpful? I’ve actually never been big on supplements other than drink mix and energy gels. Lately I’ve been a huge fan of Clif Bar Electrolyte mix and Shot Blocks. For long training days I like to make my own bars, like rice cakes with nuts & fruit.
What is the best thing about being a professional athlete? The opportunity to motivate and inspire other people…
What is the worst thing about being a professional athlete? Getting too wrapped up in it all…
In five years I will be..... Living somewhere in the mountains building and riding epic trails.