Gretchen Reeves; photo courtesy of Gretchen Reeves

Gretchen Reeves; photo courtesy of Gretchen Reeves, Cotton Sox Photography

Former pro mountain biker Gretchen Reeves, 42, stays fit like she's still atop the podium, even though she currently works as a CPA. With three national titles to her name, Colorado-based Reeves attempted a brief retirement from racing mountain bikes—to no avail. "I started adventure racing with Team Nike/Beaver Creek and continued mountain biking to train for those events," says Reeves, who has since won the notoriously grueling Leadville 100 bike race, which is 100 miles in brutal Colorado terrain. "I currently race for the Tokyo Joes Mountain Bike team and consider myself a 'recreational pro,' which means I still have goals of competing to win, but it's mostly about keeping it fun and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Gretchen Reeves with her dog, Heehaw; photo courtesy of Gretchen Reeves

Gretchen Reeves with her dog, Heehaw; photo courtesy of Gretchen Reeves

Here's how she stays in shape year-round:

What are your favorite "off-season" cross-training sports? 

I love to ski. I live in the Vail Valley and we have amazing terrain here for skiing both on-mountain and backcountry. I also love trail running with my dog, Heehaw.

Give us an example of a winter workout day.

I am a CPA, so my day job keeps me on a tight schedule most days. It's all about quality workouts. One of my go-to workouts is to skin up the mountain early before the lifts open. This takes about an hour, and it's easy to throw in some intervals and look forward to a fun ski down. I also hit the gym a couple of days a week to keep the core muscles strong and maintain overall balance. I always try to get in one long workout a week, which may be from 3 hours to an all-day ski tour. This is as much for mental health as physical.

Gretchen Reeves 2

Gretchen Reeves with her friend’s dogs, Osa and Tashi; photo courtesy of Gretchen Reeves

How do you approach eating healthy to support your fitness?

I don't mind spending a little extra at the grocery store to buy fresh and organic. I rarely take supplements, so eating healthy is very important to feeling good both on and off the bike. For the past several months, I've been following the paleo diet. I don't have any food allergies, but cutting out wheat, corn, and sugar has made a noticeable difference in how I feel. That said, I still eat things like pizza and pastries, but just a lot less frequently. I'm a full advocate of red wine—for the antioxidants, of course.

Gretchen Reeves tearing up the singletrack; photo courtesy of Gretchen Reeves

Gretchen Reeves tearing up the singletrack; photo courtesy of Gretchen Reeves, Zach Mahone Photography

What are some of your favorite go-to healthy meals and snacks?

I love salads and I can make very tasty ones! I like to add cheese, nuts, avocados, and fruit to the greens, and I make my own dressing. For snacking during the day, I like almonds, apples, and string cheese.

What's your favorite fuel pre-, during, and post-race?

Prior to racing, I eat light. Typically this is oatmeal and some coffee. During the race I drink water, Clif Shot (lightly mixed), and coke for the longer races. Post-race it's usually chocolate milk followed by a beer.

What "treats" do you let yourself splurge on from time to time?  

I have a sweet tooth, so when it comes to treats, I like anything chocolate. I also like margaritas with chips and salsa.

How about mental health? How do you support your mind along with your body?

Exercise and mental health go hand-in-hand for me. If I'm stressed out from work or life in general, a little exercise clears the head and just plain makes me feel great.

How do you stick with your health routine?

I have a tendency to work out without a purpose. Having goals helps to structure training sessions so that you get the most value during the time you have. My goals are typically races. Winters are tough on the fitness due to time constraints, so I try to throw in a few winter races (like ski mountaineering) to train for, which motivates me to do more quality workouts.

Got a favorite simple, healthy recipe you can share?

Kale salad with goat cheese, avocado, walnuts, and apples. Massage the kale with olive oil in a frying pan till it softens. Sautee apples and walnuts with a little butter and sugar, and throw in with kale along with avocado and goat cheese. Dressing is olive oil, balsamic, agave, and Dijon mustard.

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