YT Mob Log: Entry #5.18
Train to Gain
Words by Angel Suarez | Photos by Isac Paddock
Column Sponsored by Fox
This month we’ve passed the mic, or keyboard, to Angel Suarez who has been back on the bike and enjoying every minute. His 2018 season has been an interesting one and he’s currently sitting in 36th overall with his recent top 10 finish at MSA. It looks like he’s coming on for a strong finish to the year and we’re excited to watch!
How does it feel to be back on the bike healthy and racing?
IT FEELS AMAZING! It’s been a super long recovery and a hard process. Riding my bike makes me feel happy and it’s the thing that I like to do every day. Being able to do it now feels like I can’t ask for more. I feel super healthy and strong this year– more than I’ve ever been, and that helps a lot when it comes to enjoying my riding because the faster you ride the better it is. I really wasn’t lucky in the first three World Cup races with some strange problems. Regardless I feel super good and also I won some UCI races here close to home, which is super cool.
What are you doing this year that may be different than previous years?
Honestly nearly everything is different. I´m working with Todd Schumlick who is Aaron Gwin´s coach and its one of the best changes I’ve made. I work a lot more in the gym than before and I’m enjoying it more and more every day. The training and the way he prepares it makes you want to train harder. For sure I’ve always been training a lot and putting a ton of effort in, but now I feel that I’m working in the right direction and that’s key. I’m also doing more trail riding and normally I was doing more DH, so now every time I ride the big bike I’m really looking forward to riding it and going faster.
The other thing is that it changed the way I think. I’m trying to improve more than ever and that’s all mental, and it’s something I learned after talking with Todd and Aaron because they’re always looking for perfection.
We’re glad to hear you are feeling great on the bike again! Would you say that you followed the doctor’s orders and were a good patient or did you push the envelope a bit?
After pushing a little bit the recovery to be ready for 2017, I ended up getting injured again just at the beginning of that season. That recovery was supposed to be five months, so I didn’t push it. I started working in summer of last year and by the end of the year I was feeling really strong and healthy.
That’s when I started riding more seriously. I followed the all the tips from the doctor the last time, (the time before it was with the direction of the doctor, but he was telling me that it was more risky). I wasn’t doing anything crazy, I was riding, but pushing a bit too much probably.
Was there any secret recovery juice or vitamin powders that someone turned you onto that you believe aided in your recovery?
Ha ha, not really, maybe you can find something that helps, but I don’t think there’s really any secrets for that. I believe in working hard and the most important thing is to always find a good direction, so once you have your plan you can go for it 100%.
What advice or motivation do you have for your fans who are also struggling with an injury?
Being patient helps so much, but for me the thing that keeps me motivated is the love I have for riding and racing bikes. If you’re struggling like I did at the beginning, just transform all the love you have for bikes into hard work, and always try to find the best plan for you. Finding a good doctor who understands your sport, what you do, and who really wants to help you is also important. That made a huge difference for me.
Todd is a great coach and motivator! How does spending that extra time in the gym affect your brain as you’re attacking a course? Do you feel less fatigued so you can ride faster or is your brain telling your body that you are strong and powerful so you can keep pushing? Or is it a combination of both?
It affects me a lot because I feel that I can ride rough stuff better. I can be smoother when hitting gnarly sections, so that also helps me from getting tired too quickly. I still feel fatigue the same as before because I can push more than I was before, but I can be faster riding with fatigue than I used to. Getting used to working with fatigue also helps me to be better in those moments. It´s a combination of both for sure– in the moment you feel that you’re strong and it makes a lot of difference in your brain. Maybe you don’t feel the difference that it’s making, but when you stop to think about it, it’s CRAZY.
How do you keep up your training routine while you’re on the road and flying so much?
It’s not easy. We need to adapt our routine depending which part of the season we’re in, plus traveling and racing. But you do get used to it and there’s no other option ha ha! Every time we find a moment to go to the gym or whatever, we go and maybe we don’t work really hard but the main thing is to not lose fitness. We also work the days before the race. Not every rider does that, but I like to do it. I prefer to feel a bit sore than to be resting the days before the race.
If you could pick one workout that has been the most beneficial to you, what would it be?
That’s a hard one. I feel that everything together makes the difference, but I think the deadlift is the one that helped me the most. Having a really weak lower back and getting it stronger helped me to go lower on the bike and be more aggressive.
What is your least favorite workout?
My least favorite workout might be road cycling, but it’s still something that I like if the weather is good! If it’s raining I never go, I just go for a trail ride and all is good. I love everything that I do to prepare me to be a better racer.
Thanks for your time, Angel! Good luck with the rest of the season.