Rides From A Place Of Joy
In this series we will be interviewing Brooke Goudy, a cycling activist training for the Leadville 100 MTB race this August. Brooke will complete the race from a place of joy and pride in her background and as a representative of her organization, RowdyGoudy, which provides resources for women of color to become involved in the mountain biking community. Along the way to the finish line, we will follow Brooke’s training progress. This path will not be linear as we will see her ups and downs. While this is a specific event, Brooke’s advocacy for women of color in mountain biking didn’t materialize out of nowhere. We will discuss her activism along with her training to get a full picture.
Brooke Goudy: Balancing Sport and Life’s Pressures
Embodying Resilience and Defying Stereotypes
Last month, we introduced you to Denver, Colorado-based Brooke Goudy, who is both a cycling activist for women of color in mountain biking and is currently training for the Leadville 100 MTB race this coming August.
Brooke shared with us that she wants to complete the Leadville 100 MTB race from a place of joy and resilience as an homage to the generations of strong Black women who have come before her.
Brooke noted that there is a lot of conversation around the trauma Black people endure, but fewer conversations around the accomplishments, joy, and strength of Black people – she hopes to embody the latter as she reaches the startline in Leadville this summer.
As the seasoned mountain biker prepares for this massive undertaking, she wants to use her training to tap into a “why” that resonates with her for the race, which is where we left off with Brooke in May.
Finding Vulnerability in the Journey
“I chose not to race at Unbound Gravel in early June – I still went to the event which was insane and great at the same time… but I was pretty tired and not my best self,” Brooke shares. “All my friends at the race showed me grace and understanding around my decision not to race – I realized then that I’ve been doing too much in sport and life.”
Brooke says that she has been mulling over the idea of how athletes, especially women, can find balance when they aim for a big goal.
“I’m really stressing about the balance between training and life – I mean, how does anyone do it?” Brooke says. “You see more women getting into cycling and some of them are having families, and many of them were the ones who broke barriers to enable more women to join the sport, and I’m like, how the heck did they have time to do all that?”
Brooke says that right now, her priority is to find balance in her advocacy work, Leadville training, part-time job as a registered nurse, and spending quality time with her partner.
As any athlete knows, finding harmony between the demands of sport, career, and life is one of the biggest challenges, and there is no right answer or right formula – it is something each athlete must wrestle with to find a solution that works for them
“As I get older, I’m finding I want to accomplish so much physically on the bike, but also want to accomplish so much in life,” Brooke says. “I want to talk to more women and build more spaces where we talk about our mental health and where we are supporting each other with finding that balance between sport, life, and career.”
Training in a Different Way
“The question I would be asking to me is, ‘Brooke, when are you training?’” Brooke says. “And the answer is that right now, my training time is very limited.”
Despite not following a rigid training plan, Brooke is taking this time to evaluate where she spends her time and energy, how it impacts her, and how she can embrace it.
“I still have to do all of the little things like go to the post office, drop off dry cleaning, and of course make space to enjoy time with my partner,” Brooke says. “When we speak about resilience, I want to take this chance to be vulnerable and say that it is a beautiful thing to be trying to figure it all out, even when there is no plan.”
Brooke shares that there was a photo of pro mountain biker Hannah Finchamp that stands out to her as motivation to keep pressing forward, even in stressful times.
“Seeing these little girls looking up at Hannah and their faces are so full of joy and hope – I see that photo and instantly want to continue to do the advocacy work I’m doing,” Brooke shares. “We ask women a lot about their training plans or their fueling plans, but I don’t think we ask them enough about how they get it all done – how those who are mothers handle the demands of motherhood, how the pro women take care of themselves while still needing to do all the little things that take up time.”
Brooke goes on to say that even with examples set by other amazing female athletes, she still has natural fears around failure at Leadville.
Embracing Fear and Fueling Growth
“I am so afraid of failing,” Brooke shares. “As a woman in my position – a Black woman in cycling – it is really hard and scary to fucking fail, you know? I have a lot of people who have high hopes and expectations of me and it’s heavy.”
Brooke says that despite some of the pressure she feels, she also knows that having a “healthy amount” of fear around Leadville is not a bad thing, and it may even help her find her “why.”
“I am a pretty resilient person and people see that in me and think ‘wow, this chick is pretty much fearless,’” Brooke says with a laugh. “I’ve gotten to start lines before and known the race was going to be painful, but I’ve never had such a level of fear around a start line as I do around Leadville. I’m going to spend the next several months working through that and hopefully discovering my ‘why’ for this race.”
Brooke says that she will be reminding herself that no growth is linear – if we want to grow, we have to have conflicts within ourselves and learn to embrace all our feelings and not label any emotion as “good” or “bad.”
“I try to learn from my feelings and see that I am growing as a person – as a Black woman,” Brooke says. “My fear of Leadville is letting me grow. It doesn’t mean I have to give up on this dream of finishing Leadville – it just means I need to work through it.”
Even if her daily training is less structured at the moment, each part of Brooke’s day, from her job to her partner, allow her to grow and move through challenging emotions in ways that will undoubtedly benefit her come race day at the Leadville 100 MTB race in August.
Embracing the Holistic Journey: Life as Training
Brooke’s journey this past month reminds us as athletes that life stress is no different than athletic stress, and we need to be kind to ourselves when the day to day is more hectic than we would like. This also serves as a reminder to view “life,” and all it encompasses, as training, even if it doesn’t involve typical training metrics.
Each time we calmly handle a difficult conversation at work, or use time management skills to hustle from a workout to a meeting, or consciously make space for rest and relaxation, we are practicing skills that will directly translate to making us better athletes on race day. Athletes who see their journeys as holistic – involving both life and training – will often be better-served when times get tough than those who parse their lives into silos.
We will check in with Brooke again next month to see how her mental, physical, and emotional preparation is coming along as we hurtle towards August.
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