The track and road star plays in the dirt

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Dean Camp­bell

Jas­min Duehring has been a key mem­ber of the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of Cana­dian track cy­cling team since rid­ing as part of the bronze medal­win­ning women’s team pur­suit squad at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Af­ter eight years of nearly non-stop train­ing and com­pe­ti­tion cy­cles, Duehring stepped back from things in the sum­mer of 2017 to fin­ish up a B.SC. in math­e­mat­ics from Si­mon Fraser Univer­sity, and en­joy an ex­tended off­sea­son filled with dif­fer­ent flavours of two-wheeled fun.

You took a step back from com­pe­ti­tion in 2017 year. What led to that de­ci­sion? And what did you do with your time?

I had it in my mind to mix things up a lit­tle bit. I went back to school full-time af­ter the Rio Olympics in 2016. The fol­low­ing fall and all 2017 in­volved a lot of jug­gling to do the school work and still race on the track in se­lect events and on the road with my team. It did catch up with me about mid­way through the season. I wasn’t re­ally get­ting the re­sults I wanted on the road so I was feel­ing pretty stressed in gen­eral. I made the de­ci­sion to hang up my road bike in July. For two or three months straight, I rode my moun­tain bike ev­ery day. I got into ’cross this past fall and it’s been ab­so­lutely amaz­ing. What could have been a low point on pa­per in my ca­reer has in­stead been great. I don’t think I have ever ended a year feel­ing so mo­ti­vated and ex­cited and grate­ful that this is my job. I get to wake up ev­ery day and choose which bike I am going to ride.

What has that taught you about keep­ing men­tally re­freshed?

I think you have to be re­ally smart in us­ing what time you have avail­able to get some of that re­cov­ery. My off-season might nor­mally get com­pressed to one week be­tween the track world cham­pi­onships and when I want to start pil­ing on the road miles. I’ve been do­ing that for the bet­ter part of the past eight years. That’s part of why I think it caught up with me a bit in 2017. It’s a very full schedule. I think I have al­ways man­aged quite well, but I think I made the right call to take a step back and re­ally get that over­due off-season, and all the fun that goes with it.

What were some of those fun high­lights for you?

I’ve fallen head over heels in love with moun­tain bik­ing. I lived in North Van­cou­ver right in the mid­dle of the Mount Sey­mour and Mount Fromme trails, and I think it’s some of the best moun­tain bik­ing in the world. Squamish was just up the road so it opened my eyes to this whole new dis­ci­pline that I’d never re­ally pur­sued. Ev­ery trail, ev­ery ob­sta­cle is a new chal­lenge that you try to fig­ure out. It’s so re­ward­ing. I am def­i­nitely going to stick with it. The ben­e­fits of the tech­ni­cal skills are ob­vi­ous, but if you’re climb­ing a steep, rooty trail, that’s a re­ally good work­out. Once I put the road bike aside, the moun­tain bike be­came my new daily.

It’s the same thing with ’cross. I def­i­nitely got my butt kicked into shape there, too.

How did the re­turn to stu­dent life af­fect you?

I’ve been study­ing math­e­mat­ics. The whole mo­ti­va­tion was to put my head down and get it done so I could come back to be­ing a full-time ath­lete sooner rather than later. It ended up proving to be a big chal­lenge. I had taken a few years off from my de­gree in the lead up to Rio, and it was not easy going back. It was def­i­nitely one of the tough­est chal­lenges I’ve had. Be­ing a high-per­for­mance ath­lete, you get used to be­ing good at things and com­pet­ing at the high­est level. Going back to school and feel­ing like it was so much harder for me than all my class­mates who were also much younger than me, it was a lot to wrap my head around at first. I am so grate­ful that I went back. It took my fam­ily and friends en­cour­ag­ing me to go back and fin­ish to help make it hap­pen, but I am so glad to have fin­ished it.

What’s ahead in 2018?

I’m ex­cited to jump back into train­ing. I’m mov­ing to Cal­i­for­nia to join my hus­band. It’s a bit of a life change for me. I’m sad to leave North Van­cou­ver, but there’s a lot of op­por­tu­nity to ride down there, too. I’ll keep work­ing away on these new dis­ci­plines through­out the next few years: do some moun­tain bike rac­ing and con­tinue with ’cross. There’s no ex­pec­ta­tion. I just love it.

“For two or three months straight, I rode my moun­tain bike ev­ery day.”

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