"we’re actually more connected as a team than ever before"
It was early March, and we had just started the spring season with BJC when Colorado’s Stay at Home order took effect. There are many tragic things about the pandemic, but one small positive is that the cancellation of school has allowed us to spend more time on our bikes. The disruption to normal life has been challenging in many ways, but I’m grateful that my team’s response to the pandemic has been to keep moving forward with a steady stream of team activities and ways to stay engaged and riding our bikes.
Even though outdoor team practices are on hold, I get to see my teammates at the online strength sessions that are held twice a week. When the weather’s bad, we ride indoors together on Zoom. I will generally do anything to avoid riding the trainer, but these days riding with the team on Zoom is the closest thing to a group ride, so I don’t mind as much. Our coaches mix intervals with visualization activities so that instead of staring at the wall in front of me, I’m charging off the start line at mountain bike nationals, going for the whole shot, attacking on the climbs, recovering on the descents, and sprinting for the win. We even had National Champion Ruth Winder join a ride. We watched a video of her race at road nationals last year while she gave us a play-by-play of what was happening. We rode the last 10 minutes as a full gas effort to the finish line, with Ruth pedaling alongside virtually.
When the weather’s good we go ride on our own, and if we’re lucky maybe we’ll get to wave to a teammate from across the road. Even though I don’t know what I’m training for, it’s great just to get outside. The detailed training plans and feedback from the coaches help me stay motivated. Because we all have more time on our hands these days, our coaches have taken the opportunity to help us learn more about training, nutrition, and recovery. These are things that we don’t have enough time to delve into under normal circumstances, but now’s a good time to improve our routines. Off the bike, we stay connected as a team on the group chat and doing fun activities like a photo scavenger hunt, “name that trail” games, and a Strava art contest.
I’ve always been proud to ride for BJC, but now I’m especially grateful for the structure and fun it adds to my days. I don’t consider online school to be a fun pastime, so every day I count the minutes until I can go ride my bike or hop on a Zoom workout with my teammates.Our coaches have put a lot of effort into keeping us engaged and active during this time and even though we’re not physically together, we’re actually more connected as a team than ever before.
About the contributor
Elliote is a mountain bike racer and a junior at Boulder High School. She’s a member of Boulder Junior Cycling and the Boulder High Mountain Bike Team.
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