How Pro Cyclist Coryn Rivera Balances the Essentials

She's one of the world's best cyclists, and she has her routine dialed

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. (Photo: Jeff Clark)
Coryn River

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.

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