Jonas shares his personal story with us. As a former competitive athlete and aspiring professional cyclist, he had to overcome many setbacks and thus found his passion for bikepacking. You can find out how he deals with depression and what makes him happy in the following interview.
If a stranger asked you to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
Sometimes I struggle pretty hard with life, but when I enjoy it, I do it to the fullest.
What does bikepacking mean to you?
Bikepacking gives me the opportunity to do everything I like. I can race quickly, go on a vacation of several weeks and have a great time with friends.
What type of bikepacking do you like most?
Honestly? Adventure! No stress, no racing, not too much planned. Just stay in the flow and experience everything that happens along the way. Meeting people, trying local food and even leaving the bike for a day to enjoy something different. As the saying goes, the adventure begins when the plan ends.
How do you train for races and events?
I train with joy and some routines. I'm not a big fan of training plans. I did that when I was younger when I wanted to become a professional cyclist. Those times are long gone. Now I'm sitting on my bike to enjoy the time. Time with friends, feeling my body and clearing my mind. I need routines, like group rides on fixed days and times. This helps me get up and exercise instead of staying on my comfy couch. If I enjoy riding a bike, I can do it every day and get better and better. I believe in having fun and enjoying what you do. On and off the bike. Instead of the healthiest diet and maximum bedtime, I enjoy time with my friends, food, drinks and parties! This recharges my emotional battery and helps me get through bad times much better than any training plan.
How do you manage your time?
Working freelance helps me a lot! If the weather is great, I get on my bike and work at a different time of day. If possible, I like to workout in the morning so I don't feel stressed in the afternoon.
How do you plan your races?
When it comes to races, I really like to be prepared! I check the course and try to create a race schedule. Where can I find supplies and until when are the shops open? I pack my setup in advance and think carefully about the gear I packed. Can I leave something at home? What is the best sleep setup for me, how much sleep do I need and what is possible on the route? If I not only want to drive but also take part in a race, I want to be prepared and fully focused.
How did your season go?
In terms of racing, things didn't go well. In 2023, I was having significant difficulty with my depression. I canceled races at the last moment, didn't prepare as well as I wanted, and almost every time during or after the event my body told me: Boy, you're so not ready for this. Depression is terrible! They take away all motivation from me. I don't train enough and of course not regularly. I don't prepare my setup and order new equipment shortly beforehand without testing. I stay in bed, eat junk food and watch stupid TV shows. I don't go out to meet my friends because I don't see myself as good company.
Do you have any takeaways from this season and things you'll change?
Everything I do must lead to a good mental health situation. When that is the case, I can train hard, concentrate on a race and most importantly, I can enjoy going through difficult times during a race. To achieve this, I moved back to Hamburg and moved in with my girlfriend. I prefer the big city. I enjoy the atmosphere, the subculture and sharing it all with my old friends here.
What are your plans for next year?
Travel, travel, travel with my LFT crew buddies. I would also like to take part in 1-2 ultra races, but I haven't signed up yet. Any recommendations?
What is your superpower?
Create helpful Excel tables.
Consequence Jonas via Instagram on his adventures.
Photos (C) @naturbuasch