Culture

Day in the life: Erin Huck

Nine questions with the Stages Cycling-Scott pro mountain biker about life at home in Boulder, Colorado.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought professional cycling to a halt. In the coming weeks we will be reaching out to pro riders and other personalities from the sport to understand how their lives are continuing amidst the shutdown.

After missing out on most of the 2019 race season due to an injury, pro mountain biker Erin Huck had her sights set on some early season races this year to try and recoup missed UCI points. Fortunately, she found two willing partners in crime; in February, Huck raced the Salamina Epic Cup in Greece with her US National Team teammate Lea Davison, and then traveled to Cyprus, for the Cyprus Sunshine Epic with another Team USA rider, Kate Courtney. While she was in Cyprus with Courtney, Huck says, there was some talk of COVID-19, but not enough to be taken seriously, at first.

“Then, the news from Italy started to get worse, and there was an Italian national team taking part in Cyprus, so we started to see how close to home it was getting,” she says. “People we knew were being impacted and it suddenly got very real.”

When Huck returned from Europe to Colorado, it would still be a few weeks before the outbreak reached epic proportions. Even with her plans for a race-heavy early-season destroyed, Huck found light in the darkness.

“I feel incredibly lucky that I was able to have the opportunity to travel and race, especially after not being able to race much last year,” she says. “For me personally, it was a good confirmation that I love this sport, I’m good at it, and I’m super motivated for more racing when the time comes.” 

Location: Boulder, Colorado

What are the current regulations for where you live about going outside?
We have a ‘shelter in place’ order which allows us to travel or leave home for ‘essential activities’ only. Thankfully, exercise is considered an essential activity so we are allowed to ride, run, hike, etc.

Erin Huck and Andrew Clemence
Huck out for a ride with her boyfriend Andrew Clemence.

What races were you planning to do have been canceled or postponed?
Well, the US ProXCT races, Pan American championships, Sea Otter, the first World Cup, and World Champs are so far the races that have officially been postponed or canceled.

What are you doing today?
Most of my days now consist of working for four to eight hours, a ride or hike, and maybe a home strength workout.

Erin Huck
Huck’s home office. She’s an engineering project manager for a biomedical device company.

Are you doing workouts? If so, what specifically?
The only structured workouts I’m doing are at-home strength training two to three times per week. For example:

  • 4 sets of
    • 8 SL deadlifts
    • 12 skater leaps
    • 12 Palloff Press with resistance band
  • 3 sets of
    • 10 clapping plyo-pushups
    • 20 v-ups
    • 5 pull-ups
    • 12 bridge ball roll-outs
  • some ankle mobility and balance work

What indoor gear are you using?
I have a few hand weights, resistance bands, a pull-up bar, and a balance ball and board. I also have an Indoor Stages bike.

Erin Huck pullups
Strength training in action.

What is your motivation to train right now?
Honestly it’s pretty low. There’s still so much uncertainty around what, if any races, will happen and when; this makes it hard to have a target. But, on the other hand, realistically we won’t be racing until July, or August at the earliest. Since I already had a pretty good block of racing in February, now is a good time to chill out and take a break. So I’m more focused on having fun, experimenting with different equipment set-ups, and not forcing any specific ‘training’ to happen. I’m trying to appreciate this as an off-season where I can do things that I am never able to do this time of year.

Erin Huck, her boyfriend and dog
Like many other athletes have said, Huck’s motivation to train is low, but the motivation to ride for fun is high.

How are you communicating with friends and family?
Mainly via phone and texting. I’ve had a few virtual happy hours which has been a lot of fun.

Erin Huck and Team US-Slay group video
Huck enjoying a virtual happy hour with the other ladies from “Team US-Slay.”

Have you received any helpful advice?
Haha, not really. There seems to be so much information and speculation out there, that it is difficult to filter what to pay attention to. But, the best advice I keep going back to is: focus on what you can control and let go of the things that you can’t. Also, be thankful for the little things. Recovering from injury during the race season last year taught me a lot of things that I’m finding really helpful through this, two things in particular. One, set daily goals, small things that can give you a sense of accomplishment; and two, establish a routine. A daily schedule makes me feel as though I have control and order in my life.

When do you think you’ll race again?
I have no idea. I am really hopeful that USA Mountain Bike National Champs will happen as scheduled. That will be mid-July. But, that is a wish at this point. We might not have any races in 2020. In which case I’ve got some QOMs that I’ve got my sights on — [this] will be fun to give those a go, with some race-like fitness.