Strange times. That’s what all this is. “Unprecedented” I’ve heard some podcast hosts say. Most of the world has been on some sort of lock down attempting to gain control of the Covid-19 virus. At first, I don’t think a lot of us in the US knew exactly what that meant and for some of us it was a hard pill to swallow. “You want us to stay home, you say? Wear masks, you say? Limit the amount of toilet paper, you say?” We are creatures of habit. We are social beings, so distancing is difficult. In the bike world, we’re slightly luckier than some of the other hobbies and activities out there. If you were a bar fly or a partier, you now drink alone. If you were a shopper, you’re now reduced to online buying. If you were in a book club, you have to meet on a forum or video chat to talk about the latest chapter. If you just enjoyed chatting with the barista at the coffee shop every morning, well now you brew your own coffee or keep you conversations at the drive thru brief to keep from angering the driver behind you. With bikes, exercise is good for us. We may not attend the large group rides we love but we can still be on the bike.
Some states even dubbed bike shops “essentially business” so that people can stay active because it may have combative affects on this virus. For most of us bikers, this is rhetorical. We already knew cycling was healthy that it constantly forces our body’s to expel toxins and strengthen the machine that our minds inhabit. This doesn’t mean that we haven’t felt the dive of the economy or felt the force of isolation. I’ve still been able to get out and do a couple rides a week, clear my mind, and get to that point of euphoric exhaustion. It’s needed.
How does all this change we way we ride or the types of rides we can do? What happens to the race season? How are the professionals dealing with all this chaos? We reached out to a couple of our riders to see how it has affect those in the race scene. Here’s what they had to say:
My initial reaction was that I was very bummed races was being canceled. I was so excited to race this year. I have not made it to April without getting hurt in a while so I was super excited to see how I could do coming into the season fit and healthy. I also just got my new bikes and support from Commencal and was so excited to ride a bike that is as good as all my competitors bikes this year. The people that support me means a lot to me and I wouldn’t be able to race without the support and I wanted to do my best and hopefully prove what I believe I can do at the races in return. My second reaction was that it scared me a bit. Being from Norway and the traveling shutting down and not being able to go home to see my family felt a bit scary.
Hopefully the social distancing and lockdowns will prevent the outbreak from being as deadly as feared and hopefully it’ll help covid die off and we’ll be able to travel and race bikes again soon!
For me some has changed due to the Covid pandemic. I was working towards my first two world cups of the year, coming up the first two weekends in May before everything got shut down. Since these races were coming up relatively soon I was doing more hard intensity and more training on my DH bike. Now it doesn’t seem like we are racing anytime soon so I have lowered the intensity of my workouts and increased the hours, and doing more base work like I would be doing around November/December. That includes more long rides than high intensity rides, more reps in the gym and rehab/prehab gym workouts, longer intervals as well as less time on the DH bike. I ride my DH more for fun now and focus on my technique and riding position at a speed I’m comfortable riding, rather than stricter workouts with full runs or race training where you push to go as fast as you can. This is mostly to lower the risk of getting injured and getting as fit and strong as I can so I’ll be able to go fast when it counts. I also find more time to ride for fun and learn skills like riding jumps or hardtails etc.
Other than that, the covid situation has changed my regular day some. I’m not required to be in the lab every day of the work week and I am doing as much work as possible from home. Classes has also been shifted to online which means I get to spend a lot more time at home. I still work and study about as much as before the covid outbreak, but I have more freedom to work when it suits me which means I can also train at better times than usual. Not having to get up super early to get gym workouts done before going to the lab and being able to do my intervals in the morning and not after I full day of work is very nice. I’m not sure when we will get to racing again, but as it is looking now the World Cup will at earliest be back in August so I’m staying hopeful we get to race some at the end of the season.
It has been really interesting the past few weeks with all that has been going on. Usually this time of the year I am traveling almost every weekend to a moto race, MTB race, or to one of our moto tours with Gnarly Routes. All of that has changed with the travel bans and it has just been about staying local and taking care of things at home. All races have been postponed or cancelled and it has been tough to maintain motivation when you don’t know when things will actually resume. Still, I have been able to stay busy and lucky enough to have the means at my house to workout and ride. I think just being positive as much as possible helps curb anxiety and just looking forward to getting back together with big groups of friends on rides and races. Katie, my wife, is a nurse and sees everything going on and it is a serious deal with all the Covid situation at hand. We have been fortunate to be healthy and relatively keep pushing forward in hopes for the tide to change and get back to normal. Definitely looking forward to competing again and going fast, but those times will come!
At Factor we have been continuing to work. We’ve kept untraditional hours, worked from home as much as possible and made runs to the office and warehouse to ship out product and do any of the hands-on tasks to make sure we can still keep all you fine folk riding and upgrading your rides. We don’t know what the future holds but as things begin to open up again, we are hopeful that we are in the clear we don’t have to go back to total shut-down. The world has gone through some changes that may be permanent for better or worse, only time will tell. We do know that we will brave this weather and embrace the change that is thrusts upon us. We hope that you will all do the same and support us if you can and we will do them same for as many of the people around us in our community and beyond.