Stages Cycling: What was your life like athletically (or otherwise) before becoming a parent and how has it evolved since?
Huck: My life pre-baby was pretty focused on being an elite athlete, competing internationally with a goal of competing at the Olympics in Cross-Country Mountain biking. My husband and I spent the past few years traveling and racing all over the world in pursuit of this goal, and in 2021 we achieved it! Shortly thereafter we learned I was pregnant with our first child. Needless to say, it was a very quick transition! My days are no longer scheduled around my key workouts but revolve around the needs of this new little buddy. We are only 6 weeks in so it is too soon to say what the long-term future looks like, but our goal is to now travel as a family to races a bit closer to home and continue adventuring as a family.
Stages Cycling: How did you exercise/train during your pregnancy?
Huck: Early on I realized that 'training' through pregnancy would be a recipe for disaster for me. My body was constantly changing as did my energy levels and trying to follow a strict plan or schedule would only create stress. I wanted to come out of pregnancy strong and happy. So I focused on doing what felt good-sometimes that meant pushing it so I was breathing hard and sweating and sometimes that meant going for a long hike with our dog. My favorite activity was nordic skiing during the winter. My husband is a former D1 ski racer and our dog Callie loves the snow, so it turned out to be a really nice change of pace for all of us.
Stages Cycling: Tell us more about your decision to race the Life Time Grand Prix and how you approached goal setting post-baby.
Huck: Ha-well I question this decision almost daily at the moment. But, it is important for us to continue to have bikes, adventure, and athletic goals in our lives and hopefully share these passions with our son. So the Grand Prix seems like a good challenge and committing to it hopefully will be the motivation to get back out there. From a competitive standpoint for me, it enables me to not necessarily focus on one single event and instead focus on improvement throughout the series.
Stages Cycling: Have you made any changes to your training/racing strategies since becoming a mother? Nutrition, training hours etc.
Huck: Well, again, I'm only 6 weeks in...so I don't really have any training or racing strategies established yet. I am literally taking it day by day and seeing what I am able to do in each moment. I am breastfeeding and have found that I am basically hungry all the time...so I am not really paying attention to nutrition other than trying to eat as much healthy food as I can and not getting stressed about supplementing with ice cream, cookies, and bowls of cereal as needed!
Stages Cycling: Have you discovered a new empowerment or awareness about yourself as you make your return to competitive cycling?
Huck: Well, I haven't made my return yet and to be honest, it seems pretty daunting currently. But I look to all the moms who have done it and that is encouraging and keeps the flame burning a bit. I know it can be done, so instead of thinking too far into the future I am just focused on doing what I can each day.
Stages Cycling: How are you staying motivated to train through the season of sleepless nights with a newborn?
Huck: For me, the motivation is to get outside and get exercise...after years of daily exercise and pushing myself, I know that I feel better if I get moving, and if I can push it a little bit. Some days I'm just too wiped out and on those days a nap feels better than a workout.
Stages Cycling: How do you balance family/work demands with your training and racing goals?
Huck: Fortunately, I am still on maternity leave so do not have to balance work at the moment. But, we have been enlisting the help of family and babysitters on occasion to enable my husband and I to ride. For us, getting out together is better than a date night! Once I do go back to work, that will be an adjustment for sure. But hopefully, our son will be on a more regular schedule that will enable us to tag-team in order to get out.
Stages Cycling: What has been most challenging for you as you have re-engaged with training and racing again?
Huck: I have always relied on routine, schedules, and planning to balance training with other life demands. But with a newborn, those things just don't exist. So that has been really difficult, just being flexible and accepting that I am no longer in control of my daily routine. Honestly, it is probably something I needed to work on anyway so it is a growth opportunity.
Stages Cycling: Are there any professional athletes & moms that have inspired you?
Huck: So many! Catharine Pendrel, Rose Grant, Mirinda Carfree, Laura King, Jenny Smith...there are lots of amazing athlete moms and I definitely have a new sense of appreciation for what they have accomplished as athletes, but also in how they have incorporated their kids into the athletic life in fun ways.
Stages Cycling: Who do you lean on for support?
Huck: My husband who continues to be an encouraging and positive voice, and my parents who are close by and ready to babysit when needed.
Stages Cycling: What are your “wins” that have emerged as you have re-engaged with training and racing as a new mom?
Huck: I healed relatively quickly after birth and feel like I actually maintained some pretty good fitness throughout pregnancy. This has been pretty encouraging and makes me optimistic about returning to race fitness.
Stages Cycling: Do you have any tips or advice that you would have for other moms with goals of getting back in shape and/or continuing to train/compete with children?
Huck: For me, it is helpful to have a series of 'improvement' goals as opposed to a specific performance goal. I also remind myself that exercise and going hard make me the happiest, healthiest version of myself which is how I can be the best mom. I also am prioritizing fun adventures over strict competition...I want racing to be a long-term family activity, so it needs to be fun!