In our 3rd week of physical distancing as a team, I've been struggling for words. Not because I have nothing to say but too much. I'm disappointed the pizza and corners Wednesdays never commenced... and all the other things that would normally be happening right now with all this amazing weather, hero dirt and sunshine. But this is not normal and it is not something we have any control over. But the one thing I know about mountain bikers is we can adapt to whatever circumstances we are given and find a way to have fun, challenge ourselves and push ourselves to find our potential. YES, I said FIND!
I have to admit it, I am an eternal optimist.
You see, I know everything is finite and this too shall pass. We will definitely be changed as people and a society, we can only hope for the better, but it will pass and new routines will emerge. With that optimism comes the responsibility to be the change that I want to see in the world. That means in each moment, it is our obligation to ourselves to find the best strategy to handle the current situation and shine our brightest. For each of us that is going to be different. But I know that each of you will find a way to keep pedaling!!
Over the last two weeks, I have been pushed to do more in the garden, and I am healthier for it. Not only is it an amazing workout to turn dirt, pull weeds, plant, dig, sift soil and harvest the abundance but it creates more fuel for our healthy bodies. Today, Dustin and I harvested 12 lbs of potatoes and we pick a huge head of lettuce for dinner every night. It took a lot work to get to this point, but it is so rewarding and easily the hardest physical activity, in my schedule over the last two weeks.
So while we are a mountain bike racing team this is a new challenge to use all the extra time that we have been given to create healthy habits to balance out our lives so that when we are once again able to line up, we are able to show up confident in the work that we have done to prepare. Typically, we never have enough time to prepare, now it's opposite: we have plenty of time, just no races in the near future to keep us motivated.
So let's set personal goals to accomplish solo.
So while you find your local loops and dig deep internally to find your own optimal outputs on the bike: adapting to the current restrictions, I want to challenge each of you to spend some time on the mat. Ok I know the word YOGA can be intimidating, but I teach Yoga for Cyclists because I truly believe it is the secret to reaching your potential. Let me break it down into a couple of logical pieces:
First, Yoga just means uniting breathe with movement. That's a pretty important concept for riding a bike. As we learn to train our breathe, we are able to control our power outputs related to our heart rate.
Second, in Yoga our goal is to stretch and lengthen our muscles equally on each side of the body for optimal posture. On the bike, we call posture: form. If you have come into form for the season you are utilizing your muscles efficiently, and equally on each side of the body, reaching your optimal power output and improving your precision on the bike, which prevents injuries and again, helps you perform at your best.
So with that, I have drawn you a little guide to create a daily practice that I call the foundation of Yoga For Cyclists. It starts with the Sun Salutation which can be repeated 5-10 times to make a full body stretch habit. Follow that with the sequences illustrated by these silly little stick athletes and you will be off to a great start to condition your muscles after (or before if you're really motivated) each ride.