LOOKING BACK AT A GREAT DHI SEASON

I have been home now for just over a month and it’s been a breath of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong, I love racing and travelling all year but at the same time it is draining and I am so happy to have a few months’ break from racing as such. It is more a mental thing I feel as racing creates a lot of pressure and it so good to come home and just ride for the pure enjoyment of it. I mean that’s why we all start riding in the first place, for the fun of it!
People often ask me what I get up to this time of year so I thought I would fill you all in. Firstly, I think it is so important to get back to the basics every now and then and go ride your local trails, not stick to a specific training schedule but rather do as you feel each day. I think having a structured program is a must, however every now and then you need to take a break and have some fun! I also think it’s so important to use this “off-season” time to look for weaknesses in yourself and your program. I place a big focus on this and look at everything including diet, training, travelling, accommodation and equipment. To improve in any sport, you are looking for tiny things here and there which could lead to massive gains. For me personally diet has been a big focus as of late because I had some issues with cramping and fatigue this year.
I think to keep progressing you need to keep adapting and experimenting because even though you may have a great setup now, there could still be something better out there for you. I enjoy the process of testing various things but it can also be frustrating at times. This time of year is also a great time to switch your activities and training around. I do things like running, swimming and motocross to mix it up as during season it is pretty much bikes, bikes and more bikes! I also take a solid break from my downhill bike as this just reignites the flame and makes me hungry again to go and smash runs! This can differ from person to person but it definitely helps me mentally. As they say, “too much of a good thing can be a bad thing”.

Stef shows us why is the current reigning SA Downhill MTB champ.
Stef shows us why is the current reigning SA Downhill MTB champ.

My season in 2017 starts in January locally and the first world cup is in April so that gives me a fair amount of time to sort out any issues I may have. I feel that 2016 was my best season but I am far from done and looking forward to keeping the ball rolling in 2017. I am currently planning my calendar for next year and deciding what my major goals will be. This is another key point to succeeding at something, you need to set goals, short term and long term, to keep yourself on track and in the right direction. I personally want to place even more focus on the world cup series next year and focus on getting to some venues beforehand to get up to speed. This is difficult at a world cup due to such little practice time. I am also in search of a mechanic to travel with me as this is key at big events with there being so little practice time. If you as the rider have any problems with no mechanic, then you are forced to sacrifice practice time to sort them out. Not ideal.
I also love this time of year due to the possible changes in team or sponsors. I am doing A LOT of admin sorting out my 2017 setup but I can safely say it will still be on Solid bikes and Reverse Components which I am very happy about! The rest is still up in the air but hopefully I should have everything sorted in the next month or so. I also try and do some extra media work and attend some events while I am home as it’s great networking and a lot of fun. I recently dropped a new video so if you are in the mood then head over to my Facebook page to check it out: www.facebook.com/stefangarlicki
2016 has been an amazing ride and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store, thanks to everyone for all the support!
Until next time …

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