Coryn Rivera podcast episode

72-Time National Champion Coryn Rivera’s Path To The Tokyo Olympic Games

About This Episode:

In this week’s episode, Adam Pulford interviews accomplished pro cyclist and Olympic athlete Coryn Rivera. They dive into how Rivera developed into a professional cyclist, the training strategies she’s implementing ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, and how she overcame challenges in her path to becoming an Olympic athlete.

Episode Highlights:

  • How Rivera developed from a junior rider into a professional cyclist
  • Rivera’s advice for athletes preparing for events in extreme conditions
  • How she’s preparing for the unique challenges of the Tokyo Games

Guest Bio – Coryn Rivera:

Coryn Rivera has over 72 National Championships to her name between road, track, MTB, and CX. She’s also a world champion and the winner of the 2017 Tour of Flanders, which no US rider (man or woman) had done before. She’s a vicious rider on the bike, a great human being overall – and she can shred the gnar on the MTB!

Read More About Coryn Rivera:






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Episode Transcription:

Please note that this is an automated transcription and may contain errors. Please refer to the episode audio for clarification.

Adam Pulford (00:07):

Welcome back or welcome to the train ride podcast. Coach Adam here, your host, as always, and today we’ve got probably the most decorated and accomplished writers we’ve ever had on the show Corrinne Rivera. She has over 17, 17, 17 in college. You have over 72 national championships, uh, to her name between road track, mountain bike, and cyclocross. And she’s a world champion. She’s the winner of the 2017 tour of Flanders, which no us rider man or woman had ever done before. She’s a vicious rider on the bike. Great human being overall. And man, she can shred the NAR on the mountain bike. So Kerryn it’s an honor. Welcome to the

Coryn Rivera (00:50):

Thanks, Adam. Thanks for having me. Yeah.

Adam Pulford (00:53):

Uh, today, you know, we’ll talk about the specifics of how you and your coach have navigated the pandemic challenges and how you’ve been preparing for, uh, the environmental conditions coming up in Tokyo. But first let’s learn more about you. Uh, first of all, like where are you coming from today? Where are you at?

Coryn Rivera (01:12):

Uh, I’m currently in runs France. I don’t even know if I’m pronouncing that pronouncing that correctly, but, um, it’s, uh, in the Britannia area and we’re kind of on the way to, uh, breasts, which is where a stage one will start of the tour de France. And we left, uh, the Netherlands this morning at about 7, 7 30 and got here about five. So had a long day in the bus and, uh, do the last couple hours tomorrow morning.

Adam Pulford (01:38):

Yeah. Make the Bush, uh, that’s a big, that’s a big drive for sure. And, um, we were, we were texting just before this. We were actually supposed to start a little sooner, but we had some, uh, some we’ll just call it rain delays, but uh, so thank you for again, taking the, taking the time to be with,

Coryn Rivera (01:55):

For sure. Thanks for being flexible.

Adam Pulford (01:57):

Yeah, no, totally, totally. So you mentioned the tour. Um, we have Tokyo coming up, but uh, what is that next race that you have coming up?

Coryn Rivera (02:08):

Um, so for this year, uh, the women’s tour de France also known as LA course nowadays, um, will just be one, one day on Saturday. Um, and we’ll get going before the men finish. So we’ll be in the morning. Um, it’s about a hundred K or so. Um, can we do a big lap and then some smaller laps around, uh, like a famous climb here in Brittania that’s about three K long with an uphill finish. Um, and then next year there should be a, like an eight day women’s tour de France. So moving on up pretty excited and uh, yeah, we’re gonna have a good race. Cool.

Adam Pulford (02:44):

W well, good luck to you on that. And, and, you know, again, uh, being at, uh, you know, the top of the world stage, you know, for a number of years and also, um, an Olympic selection for the U S I mean, uh, you’re there, but how did you get there? Like where this where’d, this all start, where do you call home in how’d you start riding bikes?

Coryn Rivera (03:04):

So home for me is orange county in California. Um, I was born in like garden Grove, but kind of grew up in Tustin. And then, um, I was actually really into soccer when I was a lot younger, uh, played ASO and then moved into to club soccer. And then my dad was always on some set of wheels. Um, when I was a baby, he raced motorcross and then he went into downhill mountain biking and then got hurt and then went into normal mountain biking and then got hurt and then finally kind of settled in on the road bike. And then he got a tandem with my mom, um, right about the time when I was into soccer. And then I, I think got big enough where I could try being on the back of the tandem, did like Palm spring century with my dad on the back.

Coryn Rivera (03:51):

And I remember like falling asleep on his back, like as a little, nine-year-old doing a century, no big deal. Now that I think about it, um, that’s actually pretty impressive, but back then I was like, yeah, whatever, just riding. Um, but, uh, and then eventually I grew big enough to kind of have my own bike. And then, um, it was actually a mountain bike frame with drop bars and slick tires. Cause I was so little, like, I couldn’t, we couldn’t find a bike where I could just stand over. Um, so that was like our little ghettos get set up and then, um, drew again and actually got like a what’s that.

Adam Pulford (04:32):

Sorry. How old were you when you had the ghetto setup?

Coryn Rivera (04:36):

Um, I had to be nine, I think something like that. Nine or 10 and then, uh, yeah, eventually got like a six 50 actual road bike. It was like a Cannondale and still have it to this day. Um, it was just like a raw aluminum and I’d be like buffed it out and got it real shiny and turned it into like a single speed, little townie. Um, I can still fit it. So if that’s any indication that I really haven’t grown much, uh it’s there. And then, um, actually one of my dad’s friends, so we used to like ride on the, on the weekends, like, uh, a friend’s group ride and then, you know, have coffee and bagels somewhere. Um, and one of my dad’s friends was like, Hey, you know, there’s this kid’s race in Redlands. Uh, if you win, I’ll give you 20 bucks.

Coryn Rivera (05:20):

And I was like, all right, cool. That sounds fun. And, um, I’ve just always been really athletic and competitive. So I’m always up for a challenge and, uh, went there and my dad had just come back from the tour de France. So he brought home, um, like this Aqua Simponi kit, uh, the chip Eleni, like zebra one roll up to this kid’s race with like this decked out like zebra kit with like my little reading glasses. Cause I wore glasses when I was a kid. And then, um, yeah, crushed it, it was like one lap of the crit and took off, uh, at the start line, never looked back and won by a bunch and then did the same thing of riding with my dad and his friends, um, on the weekends. And then that same race came back around. Um, I guess it was 2004 and he was like, yeah, if you won that race again, I’ll give you another 20 bucks.

Coryn Rivera (06:15):

Then I was like, sweet. Let’s do it again. And then like I had a trainer and we were prepared and like I had a warm-up and it was still one lap. Um, and then I won it again and then I was, I was still excited, but I was also like, all right, I, I can’t wait every year for this one race. I was like, there’s gotta be more, there’s gotta be something else out there. So that’s where we found, um, the racing license and the junior gears race next weekend at like LA circuit race against the boys. Um, and I got second and cried because I’m, I think just a natural born winner and just hate losing. So, um, was like in tears during junior year, roll out. Um, and then the next weekend I, I beat beat the boys and then the rest is honestly history.

Coryn Rivera (07:01):

And then we go to state championships and national championships and taking me through college and everything and, uh, wearing the same Jersey. I’d say for about a year, I wore that kit until we like started getting more kid because I was writing so much, um, actually funny story. One time I was on my dad’s real and I was like getting kind of cracked and kind of crossed the wheels a little bit. And uh, I dunno if he crashed me or I crashed myself, but crossfields, and I, I crashed on my, my zebra hit and luckily in my little heart rate strap kind of like saved my chest and there’s like a little hole right under the zipper. Yeah. I was totally fine, but I think that heart rate strap, like, and I just like kind of bowed out a little bit, but that heart rate strap kind of saved me. So there’s a little, little hole right in the front of that kit. I still have it. Oh man. That’s

Adam Pulford (07:55):

That is crazy. That’s a funny story for sure. Saved by the heart rates

Speaker 3 (07:58):

Trout. Yeah.

Adam Pulford (08:00):

Well, in your, your Filipina American, uh, tell me, I mean, did everybody ride bikes in your family? Tell me more about like family cousins, like the upbringing.

Coryn Rivera (08:11):

Yeah. Honestly biking was just between like my dad and I, for the most part. Um, my dad is like crazy. I think he was always into stuff that most others wouldn’t do. So like he was really in a motorcross and stuff and racing and, um, going off road and everything. So I think it was really within my immediate family. Um, but really no one else in my family cycles. So I just really came between us. Um, and yeah, some of my family like tried to ride, um, but really not, not to the level that, that, uh, I do. So I tried to take some of my cousins out for like an hour and a half, which is normally my hour and a half spin loop and it took us like three hours. So it was fun, but that’s, uh, I think I’m on it where we’re looking at things differently.

Adam Pulford (09:09):

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. For sure. Well, I mean, just with, uh, you know, I know your dad, your mom, I mean, did, it sounds like a very supportive, um, community right away. It had plenty of opportunity from an early age and, and, uh, uh, started racing really young. Um, so how old were you when you started just beating the boys at some of the more local races?

Coryn Rivera (09:32):

I was about 11 years old.

Adam Pulford (09:36):

Gotcha. And what was, um, what was, what was training like in between races when you were a junior? Where was your dad just saying you had to go out and ride your bike and have fun, or were you doing like hardcore intervals or like, tell us, tell our listeners a bit more of like what the junior development was like.

Coryn Rivera (09:53):

Yeah. I think starting out it was mostly like those group rides on the weekends going out for longer rides. Um, and then once we got into racing and everything, um, my dad always takes everything next level. So he did like a lot of reading and he was actually kind of like my first coach. Um, and yeah, we like, we were doing some intervals and kind of basically, I mean, my dad’s not really like a, a coach coach, but we kind of figured it out and it was like, you know, what are, what are the races and what are the goals? And then what are the demands of those, those races? And then how can we like kind of replicate and train that? So, you know, I used to do this road that was like, kind of similar to like a nationalist TT course. And then I just go do that a few times and then, um, yeah, like a certain length of climb that the similar gradient or something.

Coryn Rivera (10:46):

And then do repeat to that. Um, once I was a little bit older, like 13, 14, 15, I got into a track cycling. Um, and so that put a little more structure in and I was working with a guy named Tim Roach who was really good with, uh, the juniors in the area back then. And we would go to the track Mondays and Wednesdays, something like that. And then I think it was like Thursdays and Fridays or no Thursdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, we would go to GMR and go do like Hilary beats. And then Friday was like arrest day. And then we’d like do races on the weekends. So that also like put a little, put a little structure into it, but I mean, we were all kind of just doing whatever until I was probably maybe 15 and I got like a little more serious coach. Um, but that’s just kinda how we prepared. And then it was always like training after school. Um, so it always in the afternoons and then going out to the races on the weekends and then over summer, it was like a trip to, um, to national championships and stuff. So, um, that was like my, my teen years, I guess. And then, um, yeah, then, then as I got a bit older, then it became more serious and was more structured training and everything.

Adam Pulford (11:59):

Yeah. What, um, w at what point did, were you like, I, I could do this as a professional athlete. I could do this around the world as my, my thing, but like, what age was that starting to like, come into your mind?

Coryn Rivera (12:15):

Probably 17, 18. I was thinking like, you know, when those there’s opportunities to go in Europe and then also junior worlds, and then you do some of the bigger races. Cause when you’re 18, um, you can get into some UCI races, um, while on junior year. So it’s like extra hard, but, um, yeah, I think it was kind of an eye opener, like to go to Europe a few times and kind of see like what it could be. Um, and then also like when I was 15 and 16, it was just like a big dreamer. Like I loved watching the races, love watching tour de France and thinking like, oh, how sick would it be to win on the shops USA? Like with all my other friends? Um, so like I always had it in my head and I think, yeah, when I set my mind to something like, I’ll, I’m just going to go all the way and then won’t stop. Um, so that’s just kind of in me to, to accomplish what I, what I want. Um, so, but I’d say about 17 to 18 is when I really thought like, okay, I, this is, this is what I want to do.

Adam Pulford (13:18):

Yeah. Yeah. Got it. Got it. Yeah. And that was, I mean, you’re kind of pioneering little bit of, you know, the women’s field back then too, in terms of like doing that at such a young age as well. That wasn’t really a thing. I mean, there’s probably people watching those races to win those things, but not winning all the national championships and not like going for like you did.

Coryn Rivera (13:44):

Yeah, totally. And when you think about it too, I think historically a lot of the successful us women kind of found the sport later in life. Um, like after college. Um, and I’ve done this since I was nine, so this is really the back of my hand kind of thing. Um, yeah. And I just love racing. Like I, when I’m racing, I’m kind of in my zone in my element and like, I’m not scared of anything and I just feel like I that’s where I belong. So, um, so

Adam Pulford (14:15):

Yeah, really unique. And, you know, just that the developmental age, I mean, I, my mind goes to honors Ericsson’s, um, peak performance concept and where this is where Malcolm Gladwell got the wrote about the 10,000 hour principle of becoming an expert in that field, um, right around 10,000 hours of, of experiential, uh, kind of performance. And, you know, for most of our w w U S women’s writers, like you said, uh, they kind of take to it later on in life. You had a way earlier, which is why, like at 18, not only could you have all the dreams, but you were actually there at the world stage doing what you’re doing. That’s pretty cool.

Coryn Rivera (14:56):

Yeah, totally.

Adam Pulford (14:58):

Um, so I know that you, and you’ve mentioned this on podcasts and other articles too, but like, uh, 2011, I think it was, you were at a big race, a guitar, and that, that kind of changed your trajectory from being kind of world tour bound to something else. Can you describe to our listeners what that was like?

Coryn Rivera (15:20):

Yeah, totally. I, um, so my last two years of high school, I switched to like a online program and I could do everything remote and I took classes over the summer and I graduated a semester early, so I had the whole spring free. Um, and that was in 2011. And my plan was just to race, um, as much as I could in Europe and kind of get my feet, feet wet and like really, yeah. Figure out, you know, what are my next steps in the sport? And, um, the year before in 2010, I met old, um, at junior roads on the track and also on the road race. So had a pretty successful junior career, um, close it out well, and then, um, had some pretty good offers to go to a big team, but I held off so that I could have kind of a year to grow.

Coryn Rivera (16:08):

And, uh, in the end kind of, I think glad that I did cause, uh, the torque guitar right away, like in the beginning of the year, um, had a really bad crash in the last stage, um, in the sprint and yeah, I was knocked out. Don’t remember anything. I woke up in a CT scan with both my contacts out and my bike was broken. Um, and then I had to get like stitches on the top of my head and had like, um, some scarring on my upper lip and like close to my eye. Um, so like pretty, pretty bad crash. And then I had to stay in Qatar for a couple extra days before I could fly home, which is a miserable flight home of 16 hours. Um, but yeah, it was then when I thought, yeah, right, exactly. So, yeah, it was in that whole situation where I thought like, oh, you know, maybe I should go to school. Like this could be over really fast. Um, and yeah, I just yet also thought that the dream could be over very quickly as well. So it kind of preparing for that. Um, so then I started looking at schools and then, um, uh, Marianne approached me about going to, to their program and I thought it would be a good place for me to like continue racing and also get my education. So that was the route I took instead of going directly to which then was like the world cup circuit.

Adam Pulford (17:36):

Yeah, yeah. For our listeners who don’t know Marion university. Could you describe like that community there as it pertains to not only like scholastics, but also bike racing?

Coryn Rivera (17:48):

Yeah. So Marion is a smaller liberal arts school in Indianapolis. Um, but, uh, and there NAA for most of your typical, uh, ball sports and, uh, collegiate sports. Um, but they also have a pretty good cycling program there. Um, and down the street we have a velodrome and a BMX track, um, and also like a cyclocross track around both of those, um, both, uh, the track and the, and the BMX track. So, and there’s actually some pretty good road riding when you go south and, and actually pretty decent mountain biking down in brown county. So a little bit of everything there. Um, and yeah, I mean it’s, yeah, one of the country’s best, I think, programs. So, um, I’m a California girl, so it was a little bit hard to make that decision, but, uh, I actually have a sister that lived, uh, out in the suburbs there. So I actually turned out really great for me. And, uh, yeah, probably one of the more important times in my life and also the more fun times in my life. So wouldn’t change a change a thing there really appreciate my time there and any,

Adam Pulford (18:57):

Yeah, that’s it. I mean, they not only do they just pump out national champion after national champion, but it’s like the community there and what they, um, it, and they cultivate fun and in doing it, and I have coached a few writers that have come out of that, uh, that program and it’s, I mean, nothing but nothing but awesome that’s coming on there for sure. Which is why I wanted to mention it.

Coryn Rivera (19:20):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think they do a really good job about keeping it balanced and keeping it fun, but still, you know, doing your best in whatever it is that you do and, and supporting, supporting that.

Adam Pulford (19:33):

Yeah. During that, during that collegian time though, I mean, could you speak to some of the training that you were doing there and did it change, um, from where you were just before Qatar? Like what did Marian kind of teach you in the training process?

Coryn Rivera (19:49):

Um, yeah, I don’t know if it’s Marion specifically, but more like, my situation is like I tried to keep a racing at a high level plus racing collegiate, you know, plus like figuring everything out on my own for the first time. So my freshman year was like, you know, I mean, I’m racing for Maryann, I’m racing for the national team. I’m racing for my trade team and just trying to keep all the plates spinning in the air. And, um, eventually they fall and, um, yeah, I actually thought about quitting for a little while. So I stopped riding for like eight months and, um, I was like, I think in my head, I was like, oh yeah, I’m gonna go to like London or something. And then it was all just happening. And I didn’t realize like, why wasn’t I going to London Olympics? And then everything just went, started falling down.

Coryn Rivera (20:38):

And then there was just a day where I was like, what am I, why am I even writing? Like, I didn’t have a reason to ride. So then I just stopped for a little while. Um, and then it was good to have that break, but then of course, like I was on scholarship and at some point like, yeah, I was either going to get back to writing and keep my scholarship or that was going to change. So it was a, like a little bit of motivation and I was like, well, I’ll try and get back in with a cyclocross season. It’s fun. Um, it’s like a short season as well. So that’s where I got back into it, my sophomore year. It was, um, and then it became like riding and training, like with a purpose, like to enjoy it because like to do it because that’s what I wanted to do, not to do it because someone was telling me to do it.

Coryn Rivera (21:28):

So I think that was probably like the biggest, uh, learning lesson out of that whole time period is, uh, yeah. Like why, why, why do you do this? Like there, I think should always be a reason to do it. And so I kind of learned that and then I was getting back into writing and I was like, oh yeah, I actually really do like this stuff. And, but I just have to remember why it is that I do it. So, um, yeah, it was good to have a little break there and yeah. Luckily I fell back in love with writing.

Adam Pulford (22:00):

Yeah, sure. Has that, has that, why or that purpose has that changed since then? Or is it the steady state?

Coryn Rivera (22:10):

I think it’s just found a steady state. Like I just realized that I am really good at it. I, I do really love it and I really do love racing and working hard and, and training and, and, uh, yeah, just being like the best version of myself. I think I really enjoy doing that. And, um, just being prepared for an event, like, um, I dunno, there’s something that I, that I really like about doing that, being prepared for something. So, um, but at the end I just really love writing, like the places it takes me and you know, what it allows me to do and on the people I meet, I think it’s just a really cool thing.

Adam Pulford (22:49):

Yeah. Agreed. And I think, you know, anyone listening to this podcast, anybody who’s ever done a competitive thing when, when you’re fit and you’re equipped for the challenge at hand, I mean, that’s, that’s when flow happens, man. Like,

Coryn Rivera (23:02):

Yeah. It’s pretty sweet

Adam Pulford (23:05):

For sure. Um, so you’re, you’re a sprinter, um, and work, I should say this. Could you describe your writing style for our listeners because call your sprinter and you’re kind of ferocious,

Speaker 3 (23:20):

But tell us a little bit more about,

Coryn Rivera (23:22):

Yeah. I’m not a fan of labels. So most people call me a spreader. Yeah. For, for me, I I’m just a bike racer. I think if you put a finish line in front, I’m just going to figure out how what’s best for me to get there first or how I can beat everyone else to get their first. Um, so yeah, typically I’ve won in a sprint. Um, it is kind of my, my strength, um, my sprint and my job. Um, but I think I am strong, enlightened enough to get over some of the harder stages. Um, I wanted breaks before as well. So, um, I w I think I’d like podium to prologue. So not to say I am definitely not a time trial is, but I can ride alone for a little while. Um, but, uh, no, yeah, you put a finish line in front of me and I’ll, I’ll figure it out. I’m a bike racer. Yeah,

Adam Pulford (24:16):

Exactly. A gritty bike racer. And I think that, you know, if you put somebody gritty, you know, in like that, whether it is a kind of a sprint or a high risk situation, you’ll find that line. Um, and then, uh, that’s exactly what you do. And in order to like getting back to that preparation, what kind of like big training blocks do you find you need personally to like prepare you best for, uh, that kind of gritty situation to, to race. And I know that that’s a kind of a loaded question cause it’s, you know, whether it’s a stage race or one day or, or climbing or whatever, but like what kind of prepares you best for any race situation?

Coryn Rivera (25:01):

Um, I think when I’m really trying to peak at a certain time of the year, I think altitude has been really responsive for me. Um, I’ve just kind of noticed in the past, and then, you know, for my last few years I really didn’t do much altitude and it was just okay. Um, but I found that like my body can really handle that stress well and adapts and responds really well to that. And I normally come out the other end, just throw in. So, um, I do love a good, good altitude camp. Gotcha.

Adam Pulford (25:32):

When you’re up there as a bunch of, is it a bunch of climbing? Is it a bunch of like threshold work? Is it, uh, what’s the intensity while you’re up at altitude?

Coryn Rivera (25:41):

Uh, I think it kind of depends a little bit on what the goal is. Um, but, uh, yeah, normally the first week or so, it was like pretty, pretty relaxed. And normally at some point I, I find, you know, where my balance is. Um, I’ll like get close to cracking and be like, okay, I need to break it, bring it down a notch. And I think that’s all part of the, uh, like kind of adapting phase of the first couple of weeks in an altitude. Um, and then after that, um, at least at this last block, I did a lot of 40 twenties, a lot of 10 minutes, um, a couple of 30 minutes stuff, a handful of five minute things. So I’m kind of all over the place. Um, but yeah, definitely, uh, more, uh, more intense efforts.

Adam Pulford (26:30):

And was that all like in preparation for Tokyo or was that primarily for coming into nationals or, um, what was that kind of like specific to, and we’ll get into the specifics of Tokyo in probably just a few minutes, but, um, I know you had come off the altitude coming into Knoxville, but, um, tell us a little bit more about the timing of that, if you can.

Coryn Rivera (26:52):

Yeah. Um, I think the main thing is that I didn’t have racing in may personally, so that left a big window to do, um, a nice altitude block. Um, but yeah, definitely the Olympics and the Jiro and liquorice like this whole period of, of racing is a pretty important part of the season. Um, and of course we were, uh, gambling a little bit with making, uh, the games. So, but, uh, I think coming off of this altitude camp and then getting through Jiro, I think would be a really kind of great to step going into Tokyo. Um, what about like two weeks in between? So I think, um, it was kind of like this whole period that we were kind of aiming for, but it all kind of, it all helps each other towards Tokyo. So, and also did some heat, heat prep at altitude camp as well. And Knoxville obviously also is really warm. So it all kind of flows together for, for Tokyo I’d say.

Adam Pulford (27:51):

Yeah, exactly. And that’s, and that’s kinda my point that I wanted that I was gonna try to titrate out a little bit is like when you’re doing the altitude and when you’re doing that, that preparation, you really need to do it before at a low risk situation before the athlete needs to prepare. Right. Cause you want the plasma volume expansion you want, you want the ride cause he really can’t go hard up there. Your intensity can’t really exist up there without, uh, serious detriments. So, and I think he probably did some, um, uh, hyperoxic training to, um, when you’re up at altitude probably had to, um, get into a chamber and do some efforts at sea level. Am I correct? Yup, yup. Yup. And hopefully, yeah, you just want to do that before the athlete comes into that race preparation time period. And that, that was kind of my point in, in doing that. So, um, yeah, I’d say, uh, you know, coach has the process and, uh, definitely dialed in on that for sure. As he had to Tokyo.

Coryn Rivera (28:51):

Yeah, definitely. And then, uh, yeah, I had a good session in though two room and like had it as low as it could go, not a, not like a Tokyo specific just to have a fully oxygen oxygenated session. Um, and it was just like, yeah, basically five by five, so all out, um, and just kind of see, see where I’m at there. So that was a nice, nice workout. Yeah.

Adam Pulford (29:18):

Yeah. Uh, we’re kind of bouncing all over the place, but since we’re on Tokyo and kind of swinging back there, um, has you mentioned London, has the Olympic dream always been inside you?

Coryn Rivera (29:31):

So yeah, a hundred percent, even since I was a kid, when I played soccer, like I wanted to make the U S women’s team and everything and would always watch the games on TV every so yeah, it was, it was a big, big thing for me.

Adam Pulford (29:45):

So how did it feel when, when you got word of that here at the first part of June?

Coryn Rivera (29:51):

Yeah, it was, it was pretty cool. It was a great day. Um, also like kind of a funny day. Um, I had planned, I was in Boulder for my altitude camp, so I had planned on riding with Ruth winter. Um, and I rode down the hill from Nederland down in a folder and there’s obviously no cell service there. I get a little lost finding where I was going to meet her and I was a little bit late, so I rolled up to her and I was like, oh dude, I’m so sorry. Like I kinda got lost. Like I thought, you know, you lived the other way. And then she was like, you should call Jeff. I was like, oh, okay. And I was like, well, is it good news? Or, or what? And she just kind of smiled at me and I was like, I was like, dude, yes.

Coryn Rivera (30:32):

And then I was like, wait, don’t get too excited. I need to call him first. And then I looked at my phone, I was like, I don’t have any missed calls from this guy. I don’t have voicemail, anything. She was like, just call him. And I was like, okay, I’ll call ya. And then, uh, call them back. And then, um, yeah, he told me that I had made the team and it was just a cool moment, a lot of emotions. And then also Ruth was there and she obviously made the team as well. So we could enjoy the day together and we were going to go for a four hour ride. Um, so yeah, it was, it was just a cool moment and for us to be together and, and luckily we both made the team, so it wasn’t an awkward ride. Um, and then we kinda went into the day with a little extra motivation.

Coryn Rivera (31:11):

Um, and I had a bunch of efforts and I think she only had endurance Redding. So what’s funny about the day is that I was just crushing these efforts, like going, you know, I had a little extra juice in me that day, but, uh, in between, uh, Ruth was like kind of riding endurance. So like I wasn’t really recovering fully between efforts. And by the end I’ll have blown myself so hard. Like I started cramping and stuff and she wanted to go all the way up Jamestown. And I was like, dude, I gotta go back. Like, I, I really messed up here. It was like, I wasn’t really recovering between efforts. So we parted ways, um, had a cracker of a day really, really went for it. And uh, but, uh, that, that was kind of the day as far as the announcement goes. So it was pretty funny. Yes.

Adam Pulford (32:02):

That’s a, that’s a cool story. And, and uh, I mean also the combination of like human emotion, uh, combined with altitude, right. It’s like you’re riding in high right. In that high. And it’s like, you just don’t recover as well up there, right?

Coryn Rivera (32:16):

Yeah. Yeah. And we’re like talking so much, so then I wasn’t eating as much, wasn’t drinking as much and it all caught up by the end. And then I bought, I just like hit a wall.

Adam Pulford (32:27):

Yeah. Yeah. Gosh. But I mean, what, what an amazing, what an amazing journey and you know, that journey, you know, for all of us, we’ve mentioned crashes, we’ve mentioned the pandemic and this kind of stuff. I mean, you’ve had some significant challenges set before you, um, and you know, coming off of COVID and all this kind of stuff. I mean, what has been like your biggest challenge or challenges during this whole Olympic pursuit, if you want to talk about them?

Coryn Rivera (32:56):

Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s really just keeping focused. I think there was a lot of uncertainty certainty last year and for a long time, um, yeah, like what, what are we going to do? What’s going to happen? Are the games going to happen? Like was everything that I was preparing for worth it? Um, are we going to have races this year? Like there was a lot going through my head and I think everyone’s head just trying to sort everything out. Um, and luckily with time there, there became more certainty. Um, but yeah, but there was a period there for a while where I was like, well, I could just take a break. Right. Like, it would be cool if I just didn’t have to ride or like, I’m not sure why I’m writing. Or I asked my coach like, is there like a, our goal at the end of the day of the week?

Coryn Rivera (33:43):

And then I can just kind of break it up, how I’m feeling on the day. You know, like if I feel like I just want to go smash four hours and take some cute ones, can I do that? Or can I just ride an hour? Because I just don’t feel like writing and I’m not motivated. So try to do that for a couple of weeks. Um, and then I don’t know if it was like self-induced or, or it was actually allergies, but I’m normally, normally never home in April. I’m normally in Europe racing and, um, yeah, I just was coughing a lot outside. Um, did a COVID test it wasn’t COVID um, yeah, just waking up like really stuffy. And so I went and saw an allergist and apparently I’m allergic to mold and dust mites. So cleaned up the whole place, got new sheets, mattress, cover everything.

Coryn Rivera (34:32):

Um, tried some allergy meds, but it just made me really sleepy. So, but for a month there, I was kind of struggling with like how I was actually feeling in general. And then, um, yeah, on the bike when I was outside, I would just be coughing the whole time. I like had a hard time getting through 45 minutes without coughing my lungs out. So yeah, just kind of took it easy and day by day until I felt like my body was like, kind of figuring out what was going on. So pretty much gave myself a break there in like March and April. Um, but when I first came home, I was like rolling pretty well and took some QMS before my body was just like, well, we’re going to take a break here. So, but I’d say that’s like, kind of the biggest hurdle is just like getting through the uncertainty. And I don’t know if my body was like doing it to itself, but that whole thing. And then once like the calendar came out, when I was going back to Europe, then it was like, okay, work backwards from that. And then we start training again and getting back into it.

Adam Pulford (35:37):

Yeah. And that’s, I mean, for a lot of people listening to me when you’re wait, wait, you know, you make, you make your money, you make the hay you’re, you’re riding that, that dream and your, your body is that number one thing that makes it happen. And all of a sudden you have breathing issues for an endurance athlete. That’s a big deal that plays with you, for sure. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And from the creative, the creativity side of the coach, I mean, did you, did you enjoy like having a little bit more autonomy during that, um, like COVID time period to kind of control the, the training that you wanted to or written? How long did that last?

Coryn Rivera (36:17):

Yeah, I think for me, I really needed that. Like I just kinda had to ride with my emotions really on how I was feeling on the day. Um, I think my coach had a little bit hard time with it, um, just to like how, how do we plan things? Um, but for me, that’s just what I needed. I’m there were some days where I just wanted to go smash them some QMS and then some days where I was like, I’m just going to do like three minutes and just call it good. So, uh, I was like kind of all over the, all over the board when it came to how I felt about writing. Um, but I felt like I just needed to go with that so that I wasn’t fighting myself on what I really wanted to do.

Adam Pulford (36:56):

Yeah. Super healthy, super healthy. And, and clearly, I mean, I came out of that. Pretty good. The focus is there going good now? And uh, here we go, here we go to Tokyo. So, um, you know, Tokyo is going to be one of the hottest Olympics projected. Right. And it’s humid there. So between like you and your coach, what considerations and what have you done in training to prepare for that heat and humidity? That’s about to come here.

Coryn Rivera (37:24):

Yeah. So while I was at altitude camp, we did a handful of hot baths. Um, and then they’re also normally after like kind of a harder, harder day, so bodies kind of already run and depleted. And then I would get into a tub full of water at about a hundred, four degrees. And the goal was 40 minutes. Um, and he was like, oh, the goal is 40, but you know, most come out at 30 and it’s totally up to you, but yeah, I’m not a loser. So I just went the full 40 and then just made sure I didn’t stand up right away and get dizzy and pass out. I’m not a

Adam Pulford (38:03):

Loser. I’m not deserted 41 minutes.

Coryn Rivera (38:07):

I actually did. So it was funny cause uh, the last 10 minutes were more mental than it was physical. So I just played a meditation so I could get myself through it. And it was, uh, I had 10 minutes left, so I played a 10 minute meditation. And then when I was done, I checked my timer and it was like for 40 minutes and 55 seconds. And I was like, oh man, I could’ve gotten out of here like 55 seconds ago. So I actually did do a minute over.

Adam Pulford (38:32):

Yeah. Well now you have a credit it’s been recorded. Uh, the world knows, so

Coryn Rivera (38:38):

Yeah, exactly perfect. It’s out there, but uh, yeah, I did those hot baths and um, yeah, so I did about five sessions of those. Um, and I found those to be really helpful. And also the training in Boulder was already pretty warm to begin with. Um, so that was another layer of, of, of heat and stress, um, for me and my body to, to, uh, try and get through. Yeah.

Adam Pulford (39:11):

And I mean, from, I’ll ask the question and feel free to say, I don’t know where, whether, what was the end goal with the hot baths, especially post training? Like what was the goal of response to your body or psychologically or something like that?

Coryn Rivera (39:30):

Um, yeah, I think the main goal is like to physically have my body in a similar stress as what, um, Tokyo would be like. Um, yeah, just that hot humid, uh, and just as much stress as possible that I could handle. Um, and also different forums. Like I was already at altitude, I already wrote outside in the heat and I’m going to go hop in a hot bath and my friends were like, are you sure this is okay? I was like, yeah, I’m doing this. I’m going all the way. So, um, yeah, I think really just to push the limits and, and also not go over. So kind of still being in touch with yourself, like, okay. Um, like I just drain the water and I just sat there and just didn’t stand up right away and just kind of slowly cooled down and, and was like really careful with, with how I was moving afterwards since I had really stressed myself so much.

Coryn Rivera (40:27):

Um, but I think also, yeah, the mental part of it is a big, big deal. Um, I think that’ll definitely come into play. Um, you know, whether it’s at Tokyo or next week at the Jiro, which is typically also hot. So all these preparations kind of go hand in hand and most of the people who are going to Tokyo are also doing the Euro as well. So, um, it’s just kind of part of the preparation process, but, um, yeah, uh, just doing, just basically even like going back to how my dad used to coach me, like, what are, what’s the, what are the goals and what are the demands of that, that, you know, the event and then try to replicate that as best as possible, um, beforehand, so that your body is used to it.

Adam Pulford (41:12):

Yeah. And, you know, to that point, I mean, for our listeners, you know, don’t, don’t go out and do a seven hour ride in the heat and then soft boil yourself here. This is not what we’re advocating, but you know, so this, uh, um, this episode is in a series of the Tokyo lead up and, and I had just recorded Christopher Blevins who used a sauna protocol for some of his heat climatization. And you can do, you know, you can do sauna, you can do, uh, hot water, hot water baths, you can go out and train in the heat, you know, at, you know, not high intensities and all this kind of stuff, but that’s, that’s just, it, heat is a stress you want to expose your body to that stress so that mentally and physically you’re prepared for the day. And then, uh, also in this series as well, Lindsay college talks about how long it takes, you know, to get that done and been really to your coaches side in the rational. There is like, you know, it takes at least five days of exposure before you start to really see those gains. And then obviously since you arrived in the heat and then go beyond, uh, you have some more exposure to that, the plasma volume keeps on going, right. And then you’re training your body to just delay that core temperature escalation, you know, so it’s, that’s for our listeners. That’s, that’s, what’s going on, uh, throughout this, this, uh, athlete prep side of things and to do to altitude too. I mean, that’s, that’s impressive. So

Coryn Rivera (42:37):

Yeah, there was some, some extra gains there. And obviously afterwards, I went to, to Knoxville for us pro nationals, um, a little bit early and to try to really expose myself to, to real humidity. Um, and we had a few days or before nationals that were just, just crazy hot, even like an hour spin was just like, what is going on? Like, you feel like you’re swimming. Um, and then also I think the road race and the crit also were some pretty warmer days. Um, but then again, it’s like a bit of balance cause you also want to be prepared for the event. So it was like a balance with exposure and also getting enough rest and keeping your body cool. So that you’re ready for, for nationals. So,

Adam Pulford (43:20):

Yeah, exactly, exactly. And historically, I mean, how have you have your body responded to, um, hot races? He knew meditate.

Coryn Rivera (43:31):

Um, I think if I prepare, well, I ended up doing pretty good at it. I remember for Tor or, um, when world championships was in Qatar in October, I did, um, a sauna protocol for that and training and Soquel and October is fire season. So it’s pretty much really hot and then, and then would hop in a sauna afterwards. So it really similar, um, situation. And then yeah, when I got there, it still is so extreme and guitar. I feel like you’re, I could compare it to writing in front of a hairdryer. It’s just so hot and dry. Um, but, uh, yeah, I felt pretty okay at that event. Not, not my best result. Um, one of my earlier pro world championships, but, um, yeah, you know, I felt like I did everything that I could to get ready for that kind of heat. And I think if I, if I did it, um, it’d be a bit more of a shock for me. Yeah.

Adam Pulford (44:27):

Yeah. Gotcha. Now, did you, um, did you have a test event over there or was that sideline for COVID?

Coryn Rivera (44:35):

Uh, we did not have a test of it. I, I think there was one, um, but there was only a men’s race or something and maybe only use act staff one, but I don’t think any athletes went.

Adam Pulford (44:46):

Gotcha. Okay. That was going to ask you how the, how that felt, how that went in, in that kind of thing. But, uh, uh, I know, uh, COVID way late a few things, but what is a what’s the Tokyo course like and, um, how stoked for it? Are you, I mean, does it, does it kind of like suit your writing style or, uh, what does it look like?

Coryn Rivera (45:05):

Yeah. So there is going to be a total of 2,400 meters in elevation. Um, we’re looking at 140 K in total. Um, I think 10, 10, 10 of that is neutral. And the first 60 K is basically an average of 3%. Um, but I think it’s a lot of groups of like five K sections that are just like going up and then it kind of comes down a little bit going up, but you know, the average of that, that section, and if you look at the profile, it just looks like it’s going up for 60 K. Um, and then you get over the past and then you go kind of around this lake and then there’s another climb before you drop into, um, the Fuji Speedway. Um, and then you do a few laps or not, not lapsed, but you do a few, few smaller laps around there and then you finish on the Speedway. So, um, yeah, it’s still, I believe 40 K to the Speedway from, uh, the top of that 60 K. So it’s still like a long time, um, whatever gets away on a long flat section. Um, yeah. And then a somewhat flat finish on the, on the racetrack. So I think it doesn’t play to anyone specifically. I think it, it makes it an open race, but, uh, definitely will have to survive, um, for that first part and to get to the end will, will be really important. Yeah.

Adam Pulford (46:37):

Yeah, absolutely. It sounds like you’re the perfect one for it.

Coryn Rivera (46:41):

Yeah. Yeah. And I’m super stoked. I think we have a really good team going there. I mean, the Dutch are obviously really strong. Um, but, and we’re a bit of the underdogs, but, uh, I think, well, we won’t go down without a fight and, um, we’ll, uh, make them work for it or, or take it from them.

Adam Pulford (47:00):

Exactly. I believe that for sure. I believe that for sure. So, you know, most of our listeners are not preparing for Tokyo, um, but they have a lot of big races coming up themselves too. Now that, you know, the world’s kind of getting back online. So, uh, for those, you know, doing low Ruda or like Ironman Malaysia or something like this hot humid, epic things, like what’s your advice for our listeners when they’re prepping for an extreme like that,

Coryn Rivera (47:31):

I’d say to try and replicate it as best as possible. Um, and because it is quite a shock to the system when, uh, you, you like get to such an extreme environment and you’re like, oh man, I feel like I’m in a jungle or something, but if there’s a way that you could yeah. You know, do your homework prepare and realize like what, what your goal environment’s going to be like, and then to try and replicate that and expose yourself to it beforehand. Um, we’ll give you, uh, a one-up on, on everyone else. So I think, um, basically it just comes down to preparation. How, how well can you prepare for, for your goal?

Adam Pulford (48:12):

That’s it? Yeah. And that specificity of stress be it heat or altitude. I mean, that’s, you know, the, the more exposure time you can get to that and really it is, it is better just like you’ve been doing, um, throughout the past couple of years here. So no, as we were kind of bringing home the home stretch here, I mean, it’s a, you know, uh, bike racing and all the stresses in this kind of thing. It needs balance too. And you’ve kind of mentioned this a little bit before, but to talk a little bit about not bike stuff, um, and the whole traveling circus that, which it is, uh, it’s a bit of a grind. So how do you unwind after a season or after an Olympic cycle or something like this and what is your off season look like?

Coryn Rivera (48:55):

Well, it kinda changes year to year. Um, but after COVID and everything, um, my fiance and I thought like, oh, how cool would it be to have, um, you know, a sprinter van? And then we just build it out ourselves. So last October, once I got home, we looked at a few vans and picked one up and just started, started to put some work into it. And, um, yeah, when we left in may for my altitude camp, uh, we drove out from California in the van and spent the whole four weeks in the van, um, with some plan B options. I think we, I had a heads up from my coach, like, Hey, you know, I don’t know how the van is going to be, but you know, maybe look at some hotels or Airbnbs if it’s not working for you, if your recovery is really bad.

Coryn Rivera (49:38):

Um, but honestly since October, um, and whenever I was home, we would just put some work in the van and I’ve learned that I’m pretty decent electrician and plumber. And Nate is a pretty good woodworker. So some skills on the side. Um, we literally have done everything on our own. Haven’t had to hire anyone and, um, we have our bed lofted and we have some overhead cabinets and we have running water and we have 400 Watts of solar. Um, we have a fridge and everything that we need and we survived my altitude camp fairly comfortably, I’d say. And, uh, never, never thought about, you know, going to an Airbnb or anything. I think we had everything we needed and, um, yeah, everything was pretty comfy.

Adam Pulford (50:26):

So, uh, in the van life, uh, what kind of a comfort foods or comfort drinks do you guys whip up in, in the van when you’re on the road like that then?

Coryn Rivera (50:36):

Um, I think when it comes to comfort food, that’s normally, um, I was bringing some stuff to Europe. Um, just random things that like, remind me of home. Like if I’m like, I don’t know, don’t know what to eat or I’m just bored or I’m feeling a little homesick, like love a random bag of goldfish and Mac and cheese, like Kraft, Mac, and cheese. Um, some Cheez-Its like really just like kid random stuff. But, um, yeah, I think that just kind of reminds me of home and it’s just like easy to make and it always tastes good. So can’t complain. Jesus

Adam Pulford (51:14):

Cheeses are some of my favorite too. Just a side secret on there.

Coryn Rivera (51:17):

Yeah. Sour patch, kids like that.

Adam Pulford (51:20):

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Um, and is that the, kind of like the same stuff that you crave say like in the off season too? Or is that just, or is that your own comfort food?

Coryn Rivera (51:32):

That’s definitely like a year round thing. Just if I don’t know how to eat or something and just whip up some quake, Mac and cheese or whatever. Um, yeah. And it’s just like really easy and, um, yeah, I don’t know. I’m not too picky when it comes to food. Like I’m not like a crazy health freak. Um, and definitely don’t like too many sweets. I err more on like the savory side, like when I’m done with a race, like I would just love a bag of chips or something. Um, but yeah, that’s just kinda what I gravitate towards too. When it comes to comfort food,

Adam Pulford (52:06):

See folks, you don’t always have to be like laser sharp dialed nerdy thing to be a high performer proofs in the pudding that alone. Um, so finally, like how do you, how do you keep it fun? I mean, you’ve won all the things and, you know, we talked about, uh, kind of racing and training with a purpose, but, uh, how do you do that after so many years of racing at a high level?

Coryn Rivera (52:32):

Yeah. Um, I think I just kind of switch it up a lot. Um, yeah, you mentioned at the beginning, I do tend to, to shred every now and then on a mountain bike. So like to get a little gnarly every now and then. And um, yeah, our mutual friend, like Jason, Jason Blodgett, and, um, Nate as well. My fiance, I think we’ll yeah. So every now and then we’ll, uh, Jason will come out and we’ll go do some trails by us and just go rip around. And I think I could, I’m an above average roadie doing above average mountain bike riding technically. So, um, uh, that’s also a nice way for me to like, keep my skills up as well. So do you have been a mountain biking in the winter time?

Adam Pulford (53:18):

Yeah, exactly. Um, and like I said, Blevins is podcasts. It’s not which bike, it’s all the bikes. That’s, that’s the answer. Yep. Awesome. Well, Corrine, we covered a lot today and I’ve, I’ve learned more about you as a person, as a writer. And now the world knows, you know, how one of the best in the world actually does it on this stage like this. So, uh, before you go, I mean, this, this kinda is probably going toward, uh, some of our younger listeners out there, but, um, last question is, you know, for those aspiring to, for those big dreams or for that, that Olympic, uh, goal, whether they are young or they pick the bike up later in the later in life, I mean, what would you say for those who’s kind of dreaming big and wondering if they can actually do it or not?

Coryn Rivera (54:11):

Um, I’d say to just keep it fun. I mean, you have to enjoy it to put yourself through all the hard things and difficult things. So, um, if you’re not having fun and you’re making it difficult for yourself. I don’t think you’ll, you’ll get very far. So you have to find that you do love it, and there is a reason why you love it and that you’re enjoying it. And, um, and that’s what helps get you through all the harder stuff too, and pushes you further?

Adam Pulford (54:37):

Yes, indeed. Couldn’t agree more. Couldn’t agree more. Well, Korean, thank you so much again for being part of the train ride podcast. Uh, good luck at the upcoming races and good luck and Tokyo.

Coryn Rivera (54:49):

Thanks Adam. Thanks for having me, uh, and had a great time on the show and chatting away with you. Cool. Thanks.

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