20206 S2e11 Mcgowan Lehman 1200×675

Self Care and Racing with Purpose with Ayesha McGowan and Jim Lehman

BY TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

This week Dirk sat down with Pro Cyclist Ayesha McGowan and her coach Jim Lehman to discuss the importance of self care and re-learning to love cycling.

It goes without saying that 2020 has been rough on everyone, not excluding Pro Cyclist Ayesha McGowan. Her career was gaining serious momentum after years of hard work and diligent training with her coach Jim Lehman, then, all of that went out the window with COVID-19. 

Nevertheless, Ayesha has taken this time to rediscover her love for riding bikes and allowed herself to mentally process the current reality, without risking burning out while training for more canceled events. Listen as Ayesha and Jim discuss how their relationship has evolved and improved during this tough time and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. 

Stand-Out Quotes

  • “He was so inviting and so willing to like meet me where I was, instead of a lot of other encounters that I had. People told me, like, ‘You have to do things this way,’ or ‘You can’t do this because you’re built this way or shaped this way,’ and all kinds of advice that was not true.”
  • ”I think like a coach-athlete relationship is probably one of the closest relationships in like an athlete’s life. Because you have to kind of tell way more about yourself than you might want to in order for the coach to be able to help you in the way that you need to be helped.”
  • “A generic training plan is fine to get people started, but this idea of a coach-athlete relationship needs to be tailored to that person in terms of their goals, their physical strengths and weaknesses, and then also their personality. How do they like to communicate and what are they willing to share?”
  • “You add, the George Floyd murder and all of the civil unrest that resulted. And that was it. That was the line for me. I couldn’t function, let alone train. Bike racing didn’t matter anymore in that moment.”
  • “I’ve never been able to just ride my bike without having that anxiety in the back of my mind that I need to be thinking about what this can do for me as a competitor. And so right now I’m able to just do that. And it’s so weird and really refreshing in a way because I find myself pushing it and then I’m like, wait a minute, I don’t have to do this.”
  • “For me, the biggest part of my journey has been the representation portion. And just knowing that if I don’t show up, there’s a 98% chance that there’ll be no black women in that race.”


Ayesha McGowan’s Facebook

Ayesha McGowan’s Twitter

Ayesha McGowan’s Instagram

CTS Training

Trainingpeaks University Cta Image

Become a Training Plan Pro

TrainingPeaks University Course

Looking to improve your coaching efficiency and sell training plans? Learn what training plans are and how to use them in one-to-one coaching, group coaching and the TrainingPeaks Marketplace. When completed, you'll acquire a comprehensive toolkit to develop, build, market and sell your plans.

Coachcast Host Dirk Friel
About TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Dirk Friel is the host of the TrainingPeaks CoachCast and Co-Founder of TrainingPeaks. He is a lifelong athlete with a passion for cycling and ski mountaineering and firmly believes in goal setting, dedicated deliberate training and coaching for all. Learn more about his work at TrainingPeaks and follow his adventures on Instagram @dirkfriel.

Visit TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel's Coach Profile