AARON GWIN : GOING FOR SIX

EPISODE ONE | MENTAL PREPERATION

This year could be a big one for downhill mountain bike racer, Aaron Gwin. For the 2022 season, we’ve teamed up with e*thirteen to delve into Aaron’s race process, with an interview on a unique topic to accompany each episode of a 6-part video series. “Going For Six” will follow Aaron and his experiences throughout the season as he seeks his sixth Downhill World Cup overall win, giving an intimate perspective behind the scenes of the highs, lows and in-betweens of his race season. We’re excited to learn more and share a bit more about the legendary Aaron Gwin.

For the first installment we were interested to learn a bit more about the mental aspect of Aaron’s race preparation. From the outside Aaron is a quiet and seemingly serious athlete with nothing but business on the brain, so we asked him just what is going on inside that mind when race day is here…

Aaron Gwin Going for Six - EP1 | Mental Preperation

AS AN ATHLETE WHO’S BEEN AT THE ABSOLUTE PINNACLE OF SPORT, WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECES OF MENTAL PREPARATION FOR YOU?
Aaron Gwin (AG): I’d say just knowing my physical preparation is on point as far as fitness goes and that my equipment is working well are the two most important pieces. If I’m strong and my bike is working well that gives me more confidence than anything else.

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE, OR WHAT IS THE PREPARATION BETWEEN RACE DAY MINDSET AND PREP VERSUS YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIVING AND TRAINING IN THE WEEKS BEFORE AN EVENT?
AG: World Cup weekends are definitely a little more serious and on a tighter time schedule so to speak. I train hard during the week but it’s obviously a little more mellow on the nerves and stuff than when your actually at the races. I do what I can to simulate race situations in training as much as I can so that the transition to an actual race week is as smooth as it can be.

WHEN YOU FINISH A RACE WEEKEND, ARE YOU MORE PHYSICALLY OR EMOTIONALLY AND MENTALLY TIRED?
AG: I’d say both are pretty even but can vary a little depending on the track. Some tracks are more physical than others and some are more technical making the mental part more intense. For the most part though it’s a good mix of both maybe leaning towards more mentally tiring.

Aaron Gwin Going for Six - EP1 | Mental Preperation

DO YOU HAVE A STANDARD COUNTDOWN, REPEATED PRAYER OR OTHER ROUTINE THAT YOU GO THROUGH WHEN IN A STRESSFUL PERIOD?
AG: No not really. I have a warmup routine that’s pretty consistent to get my body ready to go before my qualifying and race runs but nothing too unique.

WHAT IS THE MOST MENTALLY DEMANDING MOMENT OF A RACE WEEKEND? IN THE START HUT OR IS IT THE NIGHT BEFORE RACE DAY?
AG: I’d say it’s probably the morning of a race when you wake up or the time after morning practice when you’re hanging around for hours before your race run. Those are the times for me where the nerves are probably firing the most. Waiting is definitely the hardest part!

Stay tuned for the second episode in the series and accompanying interview coming on May 14th, where we’ll be learning some more about how Aaron has prepared his body to perform at the highest level for the race season.

Aaron Gwin Going for Six - EP1 | Mental Preperation

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