WORDS: EMILIE MOBERG
MEDIA: BREAKAWAY DIGITAL
As a cyclist I am used to work towards a goal and make plans to be in the best possible form to those races I am targeting. I have a tight training, travel and race schedule from February until October and it’s a lifestyle that I really like a lot. As a pro cyclist I also have to be flexibel and to adapt to new situations. For example in a road race you can make a good plan ahead, but you cannot control all the factors so very often you will have to make choices during the race on how to make the best out of it. It also happens that you have to change your race schedule or training plan due to an injury (or a teammate gets injured) or if you get sick. Or maybe your bike did not arrive after a long travel and you have to wait days before it arrives. Then you have to look for other options to be prepared to the race and it will work out. There are always things you cannot control and you just have to adapt to it. Look for other opportunities (there are always some!) and make the best out of the situation.
Although these examples are really small challenges compared to the covid-19 virus we are dealing with right now, I feel like this mentality of always looking ahead and make the best out of it could be pretty useful for all of us now. Of course I am sad to miss a lot of beautiful and fun races, but sport becomes secondary right now. The whole world is facing a big global challenge because of the infectious corona virus and we all have to adapt our everyday life if we are going to fight this. It is big time teamwork. Something every cyclist knows very well how works. Everyone’s job is crucial for the best outcome in the end. We all have to commit 100 % to the plan, by listening to the authorities, if we are going to limit the spread of the virus and save the lives of the most vulnerable. The health systems are working super hard and the rest of us can do our job by just staying home as much as possible and limit all of our social activities. It’s really not that hard to do when you know how important it is for the development of this global crisis. All of a sudden some cancelled bike races becomes an irrelevant problem. Health comes first.
So here I am in my sofa, in my own home, in my own country. I am in 14 days quarantine because I have been outside of the country within the last two weeks and that means I am only allowed to leave the house for training, alone. To be honest it is not so much different from our normal “athlete’s life”, you know… Wake up, eat, train, eat lunch home, relax/recovery at home, eat, train, eat dinner, Netflix and then sleep. As athletes we actually have a lot of experience in this quarantine life already! Athletes are often also one step ahead of most people when it comes to preventions of illness. For the first time in my life people don’t look strange at me when I open a door with my elbow… Luckily I also have friends and family close by who can do some grocery shopping for me (I am not allowed) so I can’t complain about the situation. I am glad to do what I can to “flatten the curve”. I am healthy and I can still do my job. There are people fighting for their lives and the outbreak of this virus also have a big impact on the economy for many people. Nurses and doctors are working 24/7. They are doing an important job and they had to adapt to the situation very quick. We all had to. Two weeks ago I flew to Holland even though I had a feeling it was not the right choice to travel, but there were no restrictions yet. We were supposed to race Ronde van Drenthe, a world tour race. The organiser told us the day before that the race will go on as planned, even though races were cancelled all over Europe. 1 hour after I landed on Schiphol they cancelled the race and all of our races the rest of the month. I had to fly home to Oslo the same evening. For a short moment I was a bit disappointed because I was looking forward to doing this race with the team. It is one of my favourite races and I had high ambitions.
I had a solid winter of training and my physical test results were better than ever. I was motivated, it is my first year on Drops and I was really looking forward to a spring campaign in a new role on a new team. Already on team camp in February it was a good atmosphere in the team and we were all hungry to race together. We were all a bit like the cows when they can enter the green grass fields for the first time in the spring… But then the spring of 2020 got cancelled and we had to return to our farms again. And for a good reason! Very quick those thoughts of a little disappointment disappeared. It’s just bike racing. And we will have new races coming up, maybe in the summer or next year. So there are still reasons to keep the pedalling going! We just have to change our modus from full gas race prep to going “back to basic”. Season changed and we have to adapt to it. Make the best out of it. Maybe now it is time to try something new as well? Or work on things you did not have time to do this winter? Maybe implement more core stability training or working more on your pedalling technique? Staying home also means you have to become more creative; make a home gym with what you have or you can try an online yoga class. In Norway we are still allowed to ride outside, but alone when you are in quarantine, so to make the hours go a bit faster I have heard a lot a good podcasts and learned new stuff while doing my distance trainings! If there is a complete lock down in your country maybe now it is time to try Zwift for the first time? I have heard you can even race in that virtual world!
I think we, as athletes, are lucky to have the sport in these times. I am thankful that I can still ride my bike outside and doing my job almost like normal, even though I don’t have any races coming up. It is a new situation for most of us to not work against a specific goal, because at the moment we don’t know when we are racing again. But it will be race-time again, so there are still reasons to keep the legs spinning. I think it will take time, but for sure there will be races again. At the moment all sports events are on hold and the Olympics is postponed until 2021. And I agree in the decisions. There are more important things than sports that need to be taken care of first. Sport is just games put in system. I often think that I am privileged to have the opportunity to ride my bike as a job (at least for some years of my life), but sometimes I have questioned myself what I am actually giving back to the society as a pro cyclist. Now that all sports and other cultural activities are “banned” for a long time I understand it more. My granddad called me the other day and he said he did not know what to do the next weekend because there was no sport on TV. Sport and culture are a big part of most people’s life and without it life is pretty boring. After a long week of work you are looking forward to the weekend because then you can go out to have a beer together on a sports bar or go to a concert with friends. Sport and culture are social glue! Sport and culture connects people and inspires us in our everyday life. And I think after this difficult time, we will enjoy this more than ever. So let’s work together now to fight this virus. Let’s inspire each other every day by doing our part of this teamwork, so we can inspire each other in the future too.
Take care of each other!
P.S. And let me know if you need any tip for how to survive quarantine…