AthleteGo presents, the super talented snowboarder, Heidi Jo Duce
(Ouray, Colo.) In January 2013, Heidi Jo Duce stood at the start of her first ever snowboard cross competition. And she fell coming right out of the gate on the Copper Mountain, Colo., course. “I had to hop and hop and hop just to get started,” Duce said. Little did she know, the start of her first race, a small regional competition, would also mark the start of a storybook tale that could include a chapter on the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, come next March. Far less experienced than her competitors, Duce won four bronze medals in international competition in 2013. She capped off her season with a win at the 2013 U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding National Championships. Duce beat favorite Amy Purdy 1:50.32 to 1:50.35.
Hey Heidi, this is going to be fun, let’s jump right in
AG: Tell us how training is going for Sochi.
Heidi: The training is going amazingly!! I can feel all of my work in the gym and on the snow beginning to pay off. I seriously cannot wait until all of this rain we have been getting turns into snow!
AG: Describe a typical day of training for you. Do you take any days off?
Heidi: My typical day this summer would consist of going to the gym at 7 a.m. for a workout with my conditioning coach. I would be there until around 8:30, depending on how brutal he was planning on being that morning. As soon as I am finished, I head to the service station that I worked as a tire technician and mechanic at. I would work until 6 and the get off and do some type of activity biking, kayaking, hiking, ect. I took Saturdays and Sundays off from the gym this summer, But they were not lazy days by any means. I travel to different rivers to white water kayak every weekend in the summer. I love it. I will have a very similar schedule this winter. I will just replace working at the garage with snowboarding.
AG: What about your nutrition regimen. Do you maintain a clean diet year round?
Heidi: I make a very conscious effort to eat healthy and do most of my own cooking. I like to know exactly what is going in to my body. I wouldn’t say that I have a specific diet that I follow but I do work to keep “junk” food out and healthy food in.
AG: Do you have a nickname? If not, can we suggest “HiJo” or “Jo-Duce?”
Heidi: Haha ya. People call me Heidi Jo, H or Duce. I love my name.
AG: What did you think of the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards? Did you catch Miley’s performance and if so, what did you think?
To be honest I didn’t watch them. I am so busy in the summer time that TV is at the bottom of my list. I would much rather be outside until it’s too dark to see then inside watching an awards show.
AG: What’s your go to “cheat” or junk food?
Heidi: Definitely chocolate. I love chocolate.
AG: What other athletes most inspire you and why?
Heidi: I am most inspired by my teammates. Each one of them is so different and has such a different approach to their training and competitions. They have worked so hard to get where they are. My male teammates Mike (Shea), Keith (Gabel) and Evan (Strong) specifically. They are all so close in competition, within hundredths of a second often, yet they somehow manage to remain close friends and have been awesome mentors for me.
AG: Any pre-race routines, rituals or superstitions?
Heidi: I always listen to Enter Sandman by Metallica before dropping into my first run. I like the way that it gets me pumped up and good to go. Beyond that I do everything in my power to block out what the other competitors are saying about the course so that I can have a fresh head for the race.
AG: What do you like to do in your downtime, away from training and competing?
Heidi: Anything that is outdoors. I spend more time sleeping on my sleeping pad under the stars then I do in my own bed. Of course there is always kayaking…lots and lots of kayaking. Beyond that my two favorite things would be curling up with a book and just being around the people that I love.
AG: What accomplishments are you most proud of in your young career thus far?
Heidi: I am proud that I have never raced without making the podium and by far the highlight of last year’s season was when I beat Amy by three-hundredths of a second in nationals. There is no way to accurately describe how awesome that was. And what made it so much better was my family was there supporting me. It was the first time my parents got on skis in 25 years.
AG: Rank your three main passions for us: Snowboarding, Kayaking and Ice Climbing.
Heidi: You nailed it.
AG: What is your favorite text or chat acronyms to use? Any emoticons that you use on a regular basis?
Heidi: well after looking through my recent text messages nearly everyone says “haha,” has an exclamation mark or a smiley face.
AG: Tell us your favorite joke of all time.
Heidi: Oh that is hard. I’m a sucker for pretty much any corny joke you throw my way.
AG: Who is your celebrity crush?
Heidi: ummmm…. Clay Mathews from the Green Bay Packers
AG: How about your favorite TV show?
Heidi: That depends on the day. Right now it is probably New Girl on fox. It’s just too funny.
AG: Where is Heidi Jo Duce 5 years from now?
Heidi: Happy. I try to live my life in a way that that I am consistently doing things that are both positive for me and they people that I surround myself with. It is my goal that in 5 years that is still that case. I would like to have finished my degree, be living somewhere awesome and be surrounded by great people and of course celebrating a podium from my second Paralympic race.
AG: Any shout outs to friends, family and or sponsors?
Heidi: Definitely. I want to give a huge shout to my home town of Ouray, Colorado. There is no possible way that I could be doing what I am without every single person that resides there. I have completely changed my way of life and routine in order to be able to do what I am doing. They are my biggest supporters. I am completely unsponsored. And without the fundraising that they have done it would be finically impossible for me to be where I am. I feel like I ride for them. Also my family, both of my parents and my awesome brother and sister. They are the most supportive and encouraging people in the world. They are there for me 100 % no matter what. I love them so so much. And last I am part of an all-female team called Flux. This is a team that consists of some of the most bad ass women in adventure sports. And the fact that I was invited to be a part of the squad was one of the biggest honors ever. These women inspire me and blow my mind on a daily basis. They have been huge in helping me learn how to promote myself and be a stronger person!! It feels pretty awesome to have some of the top female athletes in the country cheering for you ☺
Thanks for your time Heidi, good luck in your quest for Sochi!!!