Sarah Sturm, starting with road racing, transitioned into off-road cycling which lead to podium finishes at iconic gravel and endurance events...plus she’s a two-time US Single Speed Cyclocross National Champion. More than that, it’s Sarah’s love for the community that keeps her competing.
See how she is encouraging a sense of balance and perspective into a new generation of aspiring riders and racers.
Q: You’re unique in that you balance a career with being a professional athlete; whats your formula and how do you manage it?
Sarah balances career of creative designer (OZone Creative) with being a professional athlete.
She signed with Specialized but “liked to have the balance of something else going on, not just all athletics to keep that normalcy" and reduce pressure solely on results.
“It's been unexpected but cool to see how my career as an athlete can help with my career as a creative and the intersections and overlaps”
...such as being a part of designing her bus or the kits w/Rapha.
Q: What does a typical week look like for you both in-season and during the off-season training?
“True off-season I’m skiing, running and still ride a bit with the dogs and local devo kids, but it’s all about anything that’s fun.”
In-season, the races she’s doing are long and demanding, so the week’s between are about what’s “physically and mentally engaging” that keep the wheels turning.
“I'm not really a structured person”
Q: Where do you feel that you thrive in an event?
"I’d say it’s the 11th hour when you are starting to come unravelled.
I feel like when I’m racing it’s a relief from that busy mind, I can get into a true focus”
Hidden superpower? “enduring that experience and staying focused”
Q: Do you have a mantra that you use?
“[I'm] experimenting with positive self-talk” but notes that when racing these events, she often can't remember many specifics from during the event. “I feel like I enter a different mindset."
Q: What is your fueling strategy for these events?
"I’ve never had a strategy...with anything. I originally brought cut up PB&Js with water. I am definitely someone who stops at the aid stations ."
Specifically, Sarah uses Superfuel from Skratch Labs, a high carb drink mix for endurance endeavors.
"My strategy is trying to eat as much as possible, before I’m hungry or thirsty."
Q: Who would you say is your biggest competitor?
"Truly my biggest competitor is myself" she said, with reference to her approach vs what she sees from other friends and competitors to keep confident in her process.
Q: How did you get good at the technical aspects of racing?
“Well I was really bad at it. I raced a lot of mountain bike in college and would [leave] everyone on the climb but just get passed on the downhill.
I’ve never really put a lot of training into that, but I’ve just done a bunch of stuff that makes me really uncomfortable, like EWS or stage enduros."
Q: What is something you feels resonates with the younger athletes when you are teaching them?
“You have to be a kind person. Sure, you have to get good results and put the time and energy into your version of training and your version of racing, but it doesn’t have to look like your friend’s.
No matter what, if you’re a jerk then no one is going to work with you.”
Follow along with Sarah on Instagram @sarah_sturmy or her website here!