By Athlete Ambassador, Soren Meeuwisse
As an aspiring professional mountain biker, I travel a lot (all over the world, but mostly to Europe, USA, and across Canada). All of these trips are very focused…you aren’t on a relaxing, tropical vacation. No, you have a job to do, and you don’t have much time to do things other than ride, recover, eat, and sleep.
Especially at big races, you’re very determined to make sure you’re physically and mentally prepared for the big day. You don’t want to waste valuable energy on something that won’t help you perform. This means, for example, when you’re race is on the 3rd and last day of racing at World Championships (talking about myself here), you can’t go to the race site to watch all your friends and teammates do their races which is before yours. You are back in your hotel room recovering and staying primed and focused on your own race.
Also, up to this point, even though you’ve been in the Czech Republic for almost a week now, a country you’ve never seen before, you technically still haven’t really even seen it yet because you’ve only been in your hotel and at the race site. Now don’t get me wrong, the scenery is AMAZING. And it is so fun and inspiring to be with Team Canada doing what I love to do… Ride my bike on rad trails around the world! Not to mention this is a race I’ve been looking forward to for a year.
But yes, I have yet to experience any real Czech culture, and I think it is so important to make sure you do experience the real culture of your travels. So that is why, after my race, my friends and I stayed a few extra days in Prague to explore and have simple fun being a tourist, rather than flying home the next day. There really is no way to change the pre-race routine because you are there on a mission, but after the race I think of it as my new duty to enjoy where I am. If you don’t do that, you will travel all around the world but never see a thing, except the hotel and race sites. You don’t want to be in Czech, France, or Norway and say to you’re self, “Wow, this place seems really cool, I hope I can come back here and actually see it later on in my life”. NO, you are there NOW. Live your life like you won’t get that incredible opportunity again.