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5 minutes With Dave Zabriskie

Posted Nov 19 2010 6:28pm

So we heard you are switching to a vegan diet....what brought about that change and how is that going for you?

So far so good. I'm learning as I go along. It didn't happen overnight. At some point I can't remember when I read or heard some astonishing numbers about the impact the meat industry has on the environment. That information really made me take a hard look at things. Then I saw some films, like King Corn and Food Inc...within months of my exposure to these things I had blood taken from my team doctor to determine what foods I am sensitive (allergic) to. I was the most food sensitive person on the team. It was a new revelation for me and it was recommended that I eliminate many foods I had been eating, including most meats and all diary. The fact is that there were quite a lot of things on that ‘sensitivity’ list, but I'm happy coffee wasn't one of them.

So my change in diet was really a gradual process. I had cut meat out of my diet and then had a hard time trying to reintroduce it, same thing with dairy. The transition was nearly complete. The last thing I had to cut out was the eggs. I had met some healthy athletes that adhere to a vegan diet and I just believe it's a super healthy way to go. I don't even like to call it a diet because it's not something I plan on stopping. It's truly a lifestyle choice for me.

How do you eat vegan and still properly fuel yourself to train and race without compromising your performance?

It used to be a little bit easier when I lived next door to the restaurant Native Foods. My wife is being supportive and doing a lot of the cooking. I also got my Vitamix, which is an excellent tool for the vegan lifestyle. It's been fun to experiment with food and see how it makes me feel during and post training. As far as performance, I am feeling great. My energy is up and I feel healthy.

You mountain bike ride quite a bit in the off season...how do you use these rides to adequately prepare you for training camps and racing when January rolls around?

The trails around here (the Santa Monica Mountains) are so good I just can't seem to stop. Mountain biking can be a very intense workout and takes a lot of concentration. It's pretty challenging to rip a good downhill after 5 hot hours on the mountain bike. It's very transferable to the road bike and it's a fun way to break up the road training routine.

How do you balance family and being a professional cyclist?

It's not easy and that's for sure. The physical demands of the sport are well known and they can take a toll on not just your body but on your family as well. Balancing my workouts with family time and the needs of my wife and kids is a challenge that’s important to me. Fortunately, I also have a great example at home, as I have a superhero for a wife. I’m supported by an amazing woman who is also an amazing mom. I don't know where she gets the energy to do what she does. Clearly without her being who she is there is no way I could make this work and be all that I could be.

What are you goals for next year? What do you want to do differently from this year?

I want to win more, so it goes with every season, I’ll keep fighting. But when I evaluate my goals for the future a more complete picture emerges: to win races, to be the best dad and husband I can be, and to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible.
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