We caught up with 27-year-old Professional Downhill Mountain Biker Anne Galyean and here’s what she had to say about all things mountain biking:
TGN: Hey Anne! We want to start out by saying thanks for stepping into the spotlight and sharing your story with our readers. We have heard so many great things about you, mostly that you’re fast! So tell us, what is your main discipline or sport that you participate in?
Anne: Downhill MTB, though will be racing Enduro this year.
TGN: Awesome, so what part of the country do you live in?
Anne: Currently I live in Maryland, USA.
TGN: Our readers would really love to hear what it’s like to compete as a Downhill Mountain Biker at the professional level.
Anne: Words that come to mind to describe this: intimidating, thrilling, exhausting, rush, challenging, motivation, drive, goals, achievement, satisfaction, adrenaline, excitement, passion, community.
TGN: What made you decide to be a Downhill Rider and how has it affected your life?
Anne: Mountain Biking and, specifically, Downhilling, has become an integral part of my daily life for the last 5 years. It began on a whim (“that looks really fun”) and continues today with daily training and long race seasons. It has provided me with an outlet for my academic career, allowing me a way to channel my stress. It’s easier to make it through a tough week in the lab if you’ll be out in the mountains racing bikes over the weekend. Though, Mondays can be a bit rough.
TGN: It began on a whim, huh? What an amazing journey it has become. So Anne, what are your biggest goals and aspirations for this season? Any long-term goals?
Anne: For the 2014 season, I will be changing focus and training to begin competing in East Coast and National Enduro events with the ultimate goal of becoming competitive on the international Enduro circuit. My goal is to be an ambassador for women in mountain biking by working towards my International Mountain Bike Instructor Certification (IMIC) and becoming involved with regional/national women’s skills clinics and events.
TGN: Sounds like you have a ton of great things in the works for 2014 and we wish you the best of luck. We think it’s wonderful that you are going to share your knowledge and experience with other riders. So, do you follow any strict training plans to help you perform at peak level on race day?
Anne: Unfortunately, being a professional student does not allow extra funds for hiring trainers, so, all of my training is of my own design as I have time available. Not ideal of course, but I give it my all.
TGN: Well considering you’re racing at the professional level without any hired trainers speaks pretty loud if you ask us. We would love to know, what is your biggest accomplishment as a Downhill Rider? How about your scariest moment?
Anne: My biggest accomplishment as a Downhiller would be when I was also selected for the 2013 USA World Championships Downhill Team, though I was unable to attend due to school. The scariest moment I can think of was when I started rehab in 2012 after hand surgery. At that moment, I realized that I would not be back on the bike for a much longer time than the doctor originally estimated (6 months vs. 6-8 weeks). That was a tough season to get through!
TGN: Often as endurance athletes we find ourselves relying on a vast array of gear, in Downhill Mountain Biking what are the necessities to compete at your level?
Anne: Hydration and protection are my top necessities.
TGN: We couldn’t agree more Anne, two very necessary items. When you rely on your gear so often for results you tend to become partial to certain brands or styles of gear, what are some of your favorites and why?
Anne: Deity Components: I trust the quality and construction without question – no nagging doubts in my mind while I’m racing. Furthermore, if there is ever any problem, I know Sadie and Eric will get it sorted right away. Having the support of a small and dedicated company at your back provides unrivaled confidence in your equipment and allows you to perform at your best. My favorites are: T-MO Enduro bar, Mohawk DH bar, Locust DM Stem, Cavity Stem, Mainline seat, and of course the Cryptkeeper frame.
Bontrager Tires: I’ve ridden several brands over the years, but none have come close to the consistency I find with Bontrager. I know exactly when it will grip, and when it will let go. Leaves the guesswork out of traction when racing. My favorites are: G4, G5, XR4, and the SE4’s.
G-Form pads: As a Downhiller, I’ve gone through the typical “de-protection” phase (i.e. wearing a full-compression suit on day 1, but down to minimal gear a few years in). G-Form pads provide the flexibility more experienced riders desire while adequately protecting exposed bits. I’ve taken some seriously gnarly crashes on, and pedaled for hours with the same pads. Nothing else comes close! My favorites are: The Knee and Elbow pads.
Wicked Wash: A good friend of mine told me early on in my racing career, “a clean bike is a fast bike.” No joke. Wicked Wash is a locally produced and biodegradable/environmentally friendly monster of a cleaning product. It will not cut grease on your drivetrain, will not contaminate brake pads, and is totally safe for carbon fiber everything.
e*Thirteen chainguides: Again, components that take the nagging doubt off your mind. My chain will hold, no question, and my chainguide can take some serious abuse without failing. Confidence in your equipment ensures you never second-guess your riding for fear of dropping a chain or smashing your chain-ring. Knowing it will endure allows for full commitment. My favorites are the LG1+ and the TRS+.
TGN: Wow, we’re impressed, you know your gear that’s for sure! Sounds like you have it dialed in and know exactly what it takes to build a winning rig. If you had to pick just one piece of gear, your one go-to item to have with you on race day, what would it be and why?
Anne: My custom Allsport Dynamics wrist brace! After years of wrist injury and rehab, these carbon wrist braces give my wrists complete stability and support. No more fatigue or pain. Wearing a brace for injury prevention, as well as treatment, also takes a lot of the fear out of riding for me.
TGN: Smart! That’s why you’ll be racing past your competition while they’re watching from the sidelines. Nutrition is a very important factor when it comes to performance, what types of nutritional products do use regularly?
Anne: Aside from just eating real, natural foods, BCAAs (Xtend or BSN AminoX) and protein powders (Optimum Nutrition) are staples in my diet. I generally train fasted in the mornings, and incorporating BCAAs helps my muscles stay fueled for and recover from tough workouts – even if I haven’t eaten since the night before. Protein powders, both whey (fast digesting) and casein (slow digesting), are excellent supplements for athletes. I really enjoy baking with protein powders, too, as it sometimes allows for an excuse to eat one more cookie – “hey, it’s got protein!”.
TGN: Why didn’t we think of that? Sounds like you really have your nutrition locked into what’s best for you as an athlete. If you could have an “Anne Galyean pro model” and design your own product what piece of gear would you choose? or do you already have one?
Anne: Tough question. I would probably pick a custom saddle – if only so I could design it with the molecular structure of adrenaline as a logo! Something light yet comfortable for long days in on the bike.
TGN: Smart and fast? We love it, we’d definitely want to be the first to ride it and review it.
TGN: We know you’re a super busy girl, so what races are you planning on attending this season?
Anne: I’m hoping to compete in the East Coast Triple Crown Enduro, the EWS event at the CO Freeride Festival, and select Eastern States Cup Enduro events. My goal is to defend my PhD thesis this Fall, so ultimately that will dictate which events I have time to race this season
TGN: Amazing, a full racing season and locking down a PhD? You’re a triple threat that’s for sure. Are there any races that are above your radar that you’d like to compete in?
Anne: Trans Provence.
TGN: We’ve heard great things about that race, we really hope you get the chance to show them what your made of out there.
TGN: Anne, now that you’re in the spotlight, what words of advice do you have for our readers?
Anne: “One should not pursue goals that are easily achieved. One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.” – Albert Einstein
TGN: Great quote Anne, I’m sure we can all relate to it a little and probably take something from away from it. We want to thank you again for stepping into the Spotlight and sharing your passion for riding with us. We wish you the best of luck on your PhD and your 2014 season, we’ll be cheering you on all the way.
You can follow Anne’s racing career and other happenings on her website, you can also follow her on Twitter to stay up to date with her 2014 racing season and all kinds of industry content. All photo credit goes to Matthew DeLorme, you can find more of his work on Facebook so go check it out more shots of Anne and other great athletes.
See you on the trails!