Last spring, Rivera outsprinted the world’s best cyclists, becoming the first American to win the Tour of Flanders, Belgium’s prestigious 95-mile cobblestoned classic. The 25-year-old Southern Californian began racing pro at age 16 and has claimed 71 national titles across four disciplines— road, track, cyclocross, and mountain biking. But recently she became a major threat in Europe, winning two UCI Women’s WorldTour events in 2017. This spring she’s focusing on road cycling and has her eye on the World Championships. With so much keeping her busy, we asked Rivera how she balances the essentials: training, rest, recovery, and food.
“My morning ritual is pour-over coffee. I grind my own beans, weigh everything, let it bloom for a minute—all that stuff. I have a Hario V60 size-one dripper—it’s small and great for traveling.”
“I do a resting-heart-rate reading every morning using an app on my phone called Ithlete. It clues me in to whether I’m tired, getting sick, have overtrained, or am not getting enough sleep.”
“After a crash, I use hydrogen peroxide to wash off all the road grime. It hurts like heck. When it’s dry, Tegaderm, a wound dressing, is great, but if you’re training, your sweat pools under-neath it. Hydrocolloid bandages soak up any moisture.”
“After a hard ride or race, I like Greek yogurt or skyr for -protein. I might add some granola or goji berries.”
“I don’t have any special diet. I eat what tastes good.”
“Diversify. Track cycling builds leg speed that can improve your sprints. Mountain biking and cyclocross build bike-handling skills that can save you if you get pushed off the road.”
“Building endurance is all about time in the saddle. I go long and steady early in the season. My endurance rides are at least three hours. I keep it pretty low-key, just cruising around and taking in the sights.”
“I wear compression socks on long flights. It helps circulation, so when you get off the plane your feet aren’t swollen and sore.”
“Everyone handles pressure differently. I’m laid-back. In a race there are things you can’t control. You just have to be ready to encounter some obstacles.”
“Recovery is just as important as the training you put in. When I have a rest day, I’ll sleep in as long as I can. European blinds that block out all light help me sleep longer.”
“When I’m racing I run a lot on instinct, and I try not to overthink things. Once you hesitate, you miss the moment.”
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.