Next up in the rider profile Q&A is one of our American athletes Ryan Collins!
We asked Ryan the 10 questions and here are his answers;
1. Tell us about your sporting background?
I grew up playing soccer and tennis, and only started cycling in high school as a means to cross train. Being enticed by a massage and tasty lunch for completing a charity ride, I entered, bonked, and hated it, but couldn’t wait to ride my bike again. The next week I entered my first crit, and the rest is history. I spent the next few years traveling the mid-Atlantic region to race, taking the mid-Atlantic Time Trial Champion and top junior titles- which landed me a spot on the BMC development team the following year.
2017 was a turning point in my life. I was invited to the Olympic training center to train and compete for an Olympic bid. The day before I was scheduled to fly out, I was struck by a distracted driver when returning from a training session. The accident necessitated reconstructive surgery which brought many new challenges, some of which I still struggle with today.
What Sporting achievement are you most proud of?
With questions over whether I would ever be able to ride a bike again, I fought to get mobility back with hopes of spinning on two wheels. My therapists adapted my rehabilitation to work towards being able to reach and grab a handlebar, and to eventually support weight. If mobility isn’t enough motivation, I selected Sebring 12 the following year as further motivational fuel (my first endurance race!). Challenging adversity and going against the odds makes “simply” toeing the line at Sebring one of my proudest accomplishments.
2. Where do you live? Do you do most of your training indoors or outdoors?
The Race Across America finish line in Annapolis, Maryland is famous for more than one reason- it’s where I call home. There’s something special and energizing about crushing intervals while catching the sunrise on the water. My preference is to ride outdoors, but I don’t tolerate the cold well and find that my training suffers as a result. I’d say it’s a 40/60 split at the end of the year, with most of my training taking place inside the pain cave.
3. What was your race or training highlight of the season and why?
Setting a new cross state record (Maryland) was a highlight for the 2020 season. After being locked down for so long, it was a huge relief to get out of the house, ride new roads and test myself. Most importantly, I felt great!
4. With a lot of races cancelled, what’s a typical week training wise for you? How many hours a week do you typically train?
This year has been a wild mix of racing, recovery and school exams. Averaging a weekly 15-hour training mix we have worked on preparing for races, to ultimately have them cancelled, recovering from injury, and chasing state and world records. Lots of variety has kept me focused and engaged.
5. How do you balance home life, work and training?
Balance? What’s balance?
From working two jobs, being a full time MBA student and training as a part time job, I quickly found how to make the most of every minute. Time management is key. Now, I’m fortunately in the unfortunate position of having recently graduated and am unemployed. Training keeps me sane as the job applications roll on.
6. What’s the bike that gets the most use by you and what is the best thing about it?
My BMC TM01 is my weapon of choice.
The BMC was my replacement after the accident. I know this may sound silly… I named the bike Boomer after my late pup. He would sit next to me when I trained inside, especially during my rehab time. He always had a smile and seemed to love chasing me when I rode past the house after getting back on the bike. I think of him when I ride the BMC bike which brings me joy.
7. What type of sessions do you most enjoy?
Each session is a challenge, even the “easy ones” have a twist that stress the body in various ways. Well executed sessions bring me satisfaction regardless of the intensity level. Seeing well executed sessions that made me think, “whoa, that’s going to hurt” makes me feel a greater sense of accomplishment.
8. What area do you think you’ve developed most whilst working with Peaks?
I now have a greater understanding of myself -how to use power in certain circumstances, how my body reacts under different stresses, and the expected response.
9. What are your key targets for next year?
Keeping the Stars and Stripes on my shoulders in the National 12 is a key target. Similarly receiving the title of Mid-Atlantic Time Trial Champion would be an honour. Aside from racing targets, I have several personal goals I’m ma king strides to accomplish.
10. What’s the best thing about being with Peaks?
The team at Peaks have “been there, done that”. The wealth of experience they bring is invaluable from bike dynamics, race tactics, and training. Peaks realizes that a successful athlete is the product of more than just a training plan and are building a complete athlete from multiple touch points.