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What a professional cyclist does in a workday

Welcome to The Work Day, a series that charts a single day in women’s working lives

(Washington Post illustration; Courtesy of Ayesha McGowan)
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Welcome to The Work Day, a series that charts a single day in various women’s working lives — from gallery owners to stay-at-home parents to chief executives. In this installment, we hear from Ayesha McGowan, a professional cyclist and cycling advocate who recorded a workday in March.

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Name: Ayesha Rosena Anna McGowan

Age: 34

Location: Girona, Spain

Job title: Professional road cyclist for Liv Racing Xstra and bike advocate at A Quick Brown Fox

Previous jobs: Retail worker, brand ambassador, bike messenger, cycling advocate/organizer, preschool music teacher

What led me to my current role: Honestly, I think the long road to professional bike racing started with my being a cold and lazy music school student in Boston. My friend suggested I get a bike so I would stop complaining about having to wait for the train. It changed my whole life. I was a commuter, then a messenger, then a very enthusiastic member of the fixed-gear community, which led me into organizing and eventually bike racing. I love, love, LOVE bicycles, and I have made it my life’s work to make sure that other people of color get the privilege of experiencing bikes/bike racing and all the joy that can come with it.

How I spend the majority of a typical workday: I’ve been hunting for a “typical” workday for ages. It varies depending on if I’m in bike racer mode or bike advocate mode. Monday through Wednesday usually consists of bike rides and strength exercises for training, as well as meetings for A Quick Brown Fox. The weekends are often for bike racing. This includes travel via cars, trains and/or planes; recon rides of the racecourse; and lots of eating, stretching, resting and prepping for the inevitable race.

My workday

8:30 a.m.: Wake up and check messages, socials and emails. Stare into space for a bit before getting out of bed to make coffee and eat breakfast.

9 a.m.: Work on some projects for A Quick Brown Fox. I spend quite a bit of time on a video to announce Thee Abundance Project. It always takes me a trillion takes to get all the information out without tripping over my words. I don’t mind looking a bit silly because it feels really awesome to do work that I care about.

10:40 a.m.: Get dressed for a training ride. Excited to ride with some other women-of-color pros in Girona. Our little community is growing!

1 p.m.: Recovery shake, shower, lunch.

2 p.m.: Strength training online with Morning Bird Studio, a really rad gym that’s based out of Chicago. They’ve been offering sessions via Instagram Live three times a week since the start of the pandemic. I’m always amazed how much it feels like a community despite being one man on a tiny screen.

4 p.m.: Meetings! Living in central European time means my meetings are now in the afternoon. It’s perfect because I can do my training in the morning. I’ve made my schedule such that I only have meetings Monday through Wednesday so I can focus on bike racing during the weekends. Thursday through Sunday, work Ayesha doesn’t exist.

7 p.m.: Time to “clock out.” I didn’t finish all of the things, but there’s always tomorrow!