The Pro’s Kit: Laura King
In our new Prokit series, we go behind the scenes with some of the world’s best. Each interview covers the nuts and bolts of how they do what they do — favorite gizmos, gadgets, gear; what they read, watch and listen to; and the hacks and habits behind their mental and physical health.
Today we talk with cyclist and event director, Laura King. Laura’s many accomplishments across endurance sports started in triathlon and trail running before finding a home in the center of all things cycling. While she tears it up on two wheels, it’s what she gives back to the community that sets her apart.
Whether it’s her journey through motherhood, cross-country Van Life adventures with husband @iamtedking, or bringing together people to celebrate sport and meet new friends at Rooted Vermont and the wine country’s Mill District, Laura lifts people up. She brings us along. She makes the sport better. Here’s her kit.
Emily Oster’s newsletter is a favorite (she is an economist who wrote Expecting Better). Girls Gone Gravel newsletter is another good one. Currently reading Never Split the Difference as I’m honing my negotiating skills.
King of the Ride podcast with @iamtedking, How I Built This, The Adventure Stache with @paysonmcelveen, and Girls Gone Gravel.
Not a big TV person but I’m watching the Handmaid’s Tale. Watching that show after having a child gives me anxiety, but I can’t stop watching.
Go-to apps, gizmos and gadgets that help you do what you do?
Love my Whoop for optimizing performance before a key workout or race, it definitely helps me improve my habits across the board (minimal alcohol, maximize rest).
Trainerroad is great for my indoor workouts during winter.
Two new apps I’m experimenting with are Inside Tracker (blood testing, nutrition counseling and optimization) and The Breakaway which helps optimize the type of rider you are and highlights your power strengths and weaknesses.
Nutrition and Hydration: What’s your strategy?
During competition I go for something that is easy to get down and access, with gravel racing those are both important features. That typically looks like an UnTapped Maple product. Maple syrup is one of the most perfect and digestible fuels and it comes straight from a tree. No funky additives, no chemicals or natural flavors.
I recently competed in a 5 hour race and consumed 3 UnTapped waffles, 2 bottles of Lemon Tea MapleAid and 2 bottles plain water and 3 maple syrup packets (one coffee maple, one salted cocoa maple).
I love to eat. I specifically love carbs: bread, baked goods, pizza. I believe everything in moderation–I don’t exclude anything although with some recent gut issues I’m experimenting with less red meat. My husband and I are big kitchen sink salad people so we also love our fiber. I also appreciate a great Vermont IPA or Sonoma County wine!
Mind: Anything you do for mindfulness or to maintain your mental health?
I am someone who has a high performance mentality in every aspect of my life and that inevitable has me hitting a wall and feeling exhausted at certain points. Over time I’ve realized that I need to schedule in down time to disconnect and be in the moment, especially with my one year old daughter. I know the time is fleeting and so important to be “with” her.
While I don’t meditate, I have been focused on not multi tasking or over committing and making sure that the things I take on are meaningful and that I have space for them.
Sleep: Any rituals or habits?
I sleep 8ish hours a day. I’m an early to bed, early to ride person. I’ve been called a “sensitive” sleeper. No lights, eye mask, ear plugs, blackout shades, and a comfy bed and cool room ensure a solid night’s sleep! I used to nap, I no longer feel like I have the time and it takes me 30 min to wind down to even get to the nap part!
Strength and Mobility: How much, how often and what type?
I’m working on integrating this into my routine and habits and my PT has helped me realize the importance of working on my weaknesses. I had some issues that were exacerbated by pregnancy and I’m working on activating areas that seem to have gone a little dormant (where bigger muscles take over the work), especially as it pertains to supporting the pelvis.
Recovery: Do you have a strategy or ritual?
I pay attention to my Whoop which has helped give me permission to rest when I need it rather than train through. I am a big hot chocolate fan so I love it as my post ride recovery beverage.
Being married to someone who was a professional athlete for so long has been helpful because he (Ted) doesn’t stress about his habits. He does the work and maintains balance in life/diet/sleep but rolls with the punches. I’ve learned a lot as someone who wants to compete at the top but isn’t doing it for my sole living to take things in stride when it comes to training and recovery. Consistency is the most important and I have that down for sure!
Anything surprising about your approach to training or life that you might not have mentioned?
Van life and racing with a one year old child has been the ultimate experiment and has been more fun than I ever expected. I love the freedom in travel and I love having my little family together for that adventure! I look forward to telling my daughter about her adventurous first year of life–she traveled over 12,000 miles in a van and met a whole lot of new friends and family (outdoors in a socially distanced manner).
We are grateful for that opportunity amidst a tough year with Covid. Recently we were able to get our first two races under our belt in South Carolina and it felt amazing to return to competition.
Can you share who’s in your crew?
My husband gets a lot of the credit here: He’s my coach (at times and reluctantly), he’s my psychologist (telling me to not care so much and relax, and reminding me self-truths). My friend and business partner @kristin-motley is my truth teller friend, empowering colleague and we motivate each other to learn and grow be it in our racing, our work or motherhood.
Gear: Favorite items in your Kit?
Patagonia Romper is a new fav: wrinkle free travel piece, dress up, dress down! My Saris H3 trainer has helped me to survive winter. I enjoy our Osprey Poco kids hiking pack to carry my daughter around. I love my Moosepacks handlebar bag.
Your go-to bike for each discipline, and anything unique about setup?
Cannondale SuperX is a do it all bike. During van travel my husband and I pack our SuperX and an extra set of Zipp 303 wheels, one set of slick tires, the other with knobbies. Put on the slicks and enjoy a road bike feel, put on the knobbies and we’re ready to crush any gravel or off road terrain. I run a SRAM Etap AXS 2x setup.
Rene Herse tires, generally running a 38 or 42 on my gravel ride. 30s on the road. Bigger is better these days and ensures a plush and comfortable ride.
Are you partnered with any brands or causes?
Cannondale, SRAM, Zipp, Velocio, Untapped, Moosepacks, Saris, RŌKA
More like this
- Follow Laura on Prokit and check out her stories on pregnancy, motherhood and van life; and our full our Pro’s Kit Collection
- Interviews with other pro and elite cyclists: Mountain Bike World Champion, Kate Courtney; King of Gravel, Ted King; Pro Cyclist and Entrepreneur, Jess Cerra; Gravel Queen Alison Tetrick; The Pro’s Kit: Ian Boswell; and Deep dive with Sarah Sturm
- Follow Laura King’s Fit Pregnancy and Motherhood Collection where she shares stories, podcasts and learnings along the during of motherhood and sport.