Shifting Movement: Garry Millburn
While most of us are experiencing disruption to our regular riding routines, elite athletes are facing great uncertainty around training, travel and racing, all potential threats to their livelihoods and ultimately to their identity as professional cyclists.
We are continuing our commitment to the art and performance of cycling by bringing you some stories directly from our MAAP athletes, on how they are training, staying motivated, staying connected and sharing advice on how they are adapting to the demands of training during social distancing restrictions.
Garry Millburn races for the MAAP Cannondale CX team, having won the Australian CX National Series last season. Not one to rest during the offseason, Garry has been racing MTBs over summer and was looking forward to starting the next CX season in just a few months, but it's looking like the season will not even start this year.
Juggling his work as a financial advisor and training is getting tough, but being based in Bright, in Victoria’s High Country he has a plethora of terrain on his doorstep to train on before further restrictions are put in place.
What impact has the coronavirus had on you and your racing?
I wear two hats, I am a Financial Advisor at Wealth Enhancers and an athlete. It’s a challenge mixing a full-time, and at times, stressful job with a full training and racing schedule that demands a lot of travel, but it’s what I’ve always done. I have the freedom to work remotely, which I have been doing for some years now, so adapting to working from home hasn’t been an issue, I’ve instead been offering others advice based on what I have personally found successful.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that my main goal this year was to win the National Cyclocross Championships.
I have been on that second step too many times. I holding hope that the race takes place later in the year but for now, I believe the season will be entirely cancelled.
Depending on how this develops over the coming weeks, there is the tiniest chance we may see a very late-season race. But the analytic side of me believes the season is done. Right now, I am so in the thick of things with work - the current state of the economy means I am spending a lot of time talking to my clients and monitoring their financial situation. So I am actually taking the opportunity to not stress about having a big goal, instead I’m riding my bike for fun and as a bit of a stress reliever.
How have you adapted to training under new social distancing regulations?
Group riding is a complete no go, but Fiona and I still ride together occasionally - just balancing that with some solo rides too. Living in a small town means there aren’t too many people about, so I’m using it as a time to explore some lesser-known trails on the mountain bike.
I’m trying to just keep everything kind of the same. I always work from home and I often train solo as well - so perhaps for me, this is not such an unknown situation.
The passion for riding and exploring is still strong. I love the challenge of a big ride and riding where most people can’t or won’t go. So I plan a crazy route I’ve always wanted to try and just head out there and see what it takes.
For those who can’t ride outdoors right now, it might be setting the challenge of how many hours you can ride on the trainer, how many times can you do a certain lap of a course in Zwift.
Pick something that scares you but deep down you know is achievable.
How are you staying connected with teammates and friends during this time?
Like almost every cyclist I know, the coffee shop ride is an integral part of any ride, but that has obviously come to a halt with restrictions on restaurant and cafe dining. Luckily our local roaster, Sixpence Coffee is still roasting and has online ordering. They are also offering local delivery of beans and we use a Moccamaster at home to make batch brew. So no problem getting our coffee fix at least!
Staying connected is pretty easy these days, we have quite a few group chats going on and the banter has been off the charts lately.
Right now, I’m struggling to find that thing they call work-life balance.
I feel a deep sense of responsibility to my clients, but also need to remember that getting out there and riding is good for the soul.
I definitely miss the excitement and thrill of racing, so I’m itching to get back into it as soon as we can.
Take us through your adapted week of training during COVID-19
I’m taking it back to basics, without a race to target or short term goals, just focusing on base miles, longer rides at a lower intensity. I’m also just getting out on the MTB and gravel bike, exploring, getting in a bit of climbing and not focusing on the numbers too much.
A session I do a lot is 3 x 30min endurance pace effort and doing that at least twice a week works well for me.
Monday After a big Sunday I like to start the week easy with a 2hr ride
Tuesday 3 x 30mins endurance, with some recover in between blocks
Wednesday MTB ride - depending on what I can fit in, as things are pretty hectic with work, so at the moment anywhere from 1 -2 hours
Thursday 3 x 30mins endurance, with some recover in between blocks. You could easily do these sessions on the trainer too
Friday Easy 2hr ride
Saturday MTB or gravel ride, something a bit longer with a bit more elevation. Just getting in that zone and tapping it out
Sunday Sunday - 3-4 hours, Sunday is usually a pretty solid ride - but since I’m going back into base training this will be more just riding to feel. Getting in those miles.