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The Pursuit of Happiness on a bike

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Thanks for reading last month…

Hello again! I hope you all had a great April, now that the snow is gone and spring is coming. I can´t believe I am already writing the second blog this year, which means we are already four months into 2018.

After I wrote about my background and my way into cycling in the last blog, this time I´d like to answer one question I was frequently asked in the last few months: How did your life change from med student to pro cyclist?

The short answer is: Completely! The only constant is cycling and now cycling is my daily business.

To get a better insight in how my life used to be and how my new life as a cyclist looks like, I describe a typical day of my “former life” in March 2017 and a typical day in my “new life” in March 2018.

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March 2017

I lived in a shared apartment in Stuttgart, Germany, where I did the first four months of my practical year rotating between  visceral-, hand-, vascular-  and trauma surgery. The alarm rang at 6 am, but most days I snoozed twenty more minutes, because sleep > breakfast.  The morning conference used to start at 7 am and the good thing about hospitals: We wear scrubs, so no need to think about what to wear (its’s actually the same with having a Teamkit :D).  It only took me 5 minutes with the bike to reach the hospital I worked in.

After the 30 minutes morning conference either the ward work starts or I went straight to surgery or to the ER.

  • Ward work means taking lots of blood samples, doing the ward round, writing doctor´s letters and receiving or discharging patients.
  • Surgery means assisting big interventions and being able to perform smaller ones yourself with the assistance of a senior physician.
  • ER means receiving and treating patients, stitching up wounds and again taking loads of blood samples.

I´m glad I can say that, except assisting really long surgeries(6 hours+),  I loved and still love every single part of this daily work.

On the days we had time to have lunch, the food for students is free, because we don´t really earn money. I guess I don’t have to say anything about hospital food. Its reputation precedes itself.

Depending on department and number of patients the finishing time varied between 3.30 and 6.30 pm and on three days of the week there were theory lessons or bedside teaching for the students after work.

Since the sun hours in March were still limited, I did most of my training during the week indoors. Either on the spinning bike in the gym or the rollers in my room. In a carpark nearby I also worked on my cornering skills with the trackbike, since 2017 I prepared for the fixedgear season. On the weekends I did my long rides along the river and through the vineyards.  And I was desperately waiting for spring and summer to arrive.

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March 2018

I live in Girona, Spain. I live together with my two teammates Alexis Ryan and Leah Thorvilson. It’s spring already. I just moved here and I am still exploring the city and the area around, in the best possible way: On my bike.

My alarm normally never rings, because other than me, my roommates are early birds, so I just wait till their breakfast preparations wake me up. Then I prepare my infamous oat-pancakes and watch the news. With my second coffee I decide  where to ride and when to start, my coach Utz Brenner and TrainingPeaks tell me what to do. From long or short rides, endurance or efforts, gym or core sessions to Zwift or outdoors, yoga or mobilisation everything is included.

The biggest difference: I plan my day regarding my training instead of planning my training regarding the day. That also means time for recovery, caring about nutrition and sleep.  So that normally means a recovery shake and lunch after training and we normally have our “family dinner” together in the evening. As the nightowl in our apartment the others are already in bed, when I decide to end my day. I try to improve on that. I try.

Being 4 months into the season I can say, that I kind of found my daily routine and I love what I do. I am grateful for the given opportunity. I love to challenge myself in training every single day and try to get the best out of my body, I love to learn more and see improvements. I love to be surrounded by my teammates and cyclists from other teams and to see their dedication to the sport. I love to travel and being able to do the races I always dreamt of. I just love to ride my bike every single day.

But I also learned that there is still a lot of work to do, especially gaining race experience.  Furthermore I have to admit that this can be a pretty painful learning process. Being dropped hurts, crashing hurts, also crosswinds really hurt. But the most painful experience is to not being able to support your teammates as good as you want to support them. Working with those great, talented and dedicated riders makes you really want to do your part of the puzzle. But I am working on that and the good thing is that usually I am a fast learner, I love to learn and the learning happens while I do the thing I love the most: Riding and racing my bike.

Tanya.

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Thank you for reading this Voxwomen blog. Our aim is to support and develop women’s cycling. If you liked what you just read, please consider making a small donation. This will be split 50/50 between the rider that wrote the blog and Voxwomen to create more content. Thank you for being part of the journey and supporting the sport.

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