Adam Roberge had a tough start to the season, first sustaining a concussion in Paris to Ancaster while leading the race, then contracting COVID immediately following Unbound. But that hasn't stopped him from making a comeback to the top of the Pure Gravel Power Rankings this week—just inching ahead of fellow Jukebox rider Alexey Vermeulen. His move up in the ranks is largely due to his recent win at Rooted Vermont over OCR world champion Ryan Atkins, in addition to his win at Nepomuk Narly Gravel Grinder. He's also moved up to 7th in the Life Time Grand Prix standings, with the next race—Leadville—only a week away. Here, we caught up with Adam to get some tips for how he's handling so much racing this season while also (trying to) make time for recovery and some fun adventures with his girlfriend.
Nepomuk Narly Gravel Grinder was a very, very small race, but honestly, it felt good to have that win. I mean, it's always nice to win. It doesn’t matter how big or small a race is, I always want to be racing to win, always pushing myself to go hard. And really, since getting COVID in June, this has been the first two weeks I'm kind of feeling back to normal. It's encouraging for all the racing that's coming up. I'm excited. I’m also enjoying my time at home since I don’t get to be here [Quebec] very often during the season.
I'm riding my mountain bike a lot, but that's pretty much it. I’m not focusing on altitude training or anything—for me, I want to race well there, but it’s not a main objective for me, it’s just part of the Life Time Grand Prix so I can’t miss it, and I obviously want to do well. The gravel race in Steamboat—SBT—is actually a bigger focus for me. But I do think Leadville might work well in my favor: The longer mountain bike races are, the better they are for me. The best mountain bikers in the series are better at the shorter races that are under three hours, so I’m interested to see how this goes. I'm excited for the experience. At the same time, I’m not focusing too hard on it because I'll be away from home pretty much until the end of October in this next block. So it’s important to not put too much pressure on any one race.
So far, it's been good. I missed quite a few because of their concussion and COVID so now it feels good to be back. I think until Big Sugar in October, I’ll race pretty much every week. But other than the Life Time series, my schedule is a bit open-ended. I try to keep the rest of the schedule pretty open, especially after missing the first two Belgian Waffle Rides because of the concussion and COVID, so I’m out of contention for that overall win. So now, it’s about adding in the races a few weeks ahead, based on how I’m feeling. I have the Life Time ones, then I decide what makes sense with how I'm feeling, how my mindset it. Right now, it’s just planning one month at a time.
I wouldn't say it really helps recovery, but it helps my mental load. If I can just do a day without riding, it’s a great way for me to mentally recover from the race while also enjoying where I am in a different way. Recently, I had two weeks in Colorado with two races. Gravel rides are great, you can explore a lot. But it's still not the same thing as going to high mountain peaks. My girlfriend was on this trip as well, and it’s much more fun when we can go do hikes together rather than trying to do real training together.
I bring my eye mask and earplugs as well since I never know what the sleeping setup will be, and it’s important.I always have my Kindle with me, and I usually have a few books on there that I’m reading. I used to bring real books, but when you’re gone for these longer trips, that gets heavy! I wasn’t sure how I’d like the Kindle, since I just love books so much. I worried it would ruin the experience. And yes, it's probably still better to hold that book, but it's just like so much more convenient with the Kindle.
I’m rereading On Death and Dying, it’s such a good book. I’m also reading Transcend, which goes behind Maslow’s original hierarchy of needs and looks at what happens after you reach self-actualization.