Meet Sarah Sturm: Cycling’s All Terrain Superstar

Her motto? “Be kind. Do good. Have as much fun as possible.”

In our latest 2020 ambassador acquisition, we’re excited to partner with all-around cycling superstar and recent 2019 CX SS National Champion Sarah Sturm. We’ve caught up with her at events around the country from her BWR debut victory to our little hometown Leadville 100, and she’s never failed to put a smile on our face at the starting line and remind us to force an exhausted grin at the end of a long and filthy day on the bike. This year you’ll find her racing in just about every discipline around the country and spreading our Floyd’s of Leadville CBD  #relaxandrecover message. You can try to snag a sample from her, but then again you have to catch her first.

Thanks so much for joining us here at Floyd’s of Leadville, Sarah.  We’ve been watching you dominate the sport and it seems you just don’t have a weak spot. There isn’t a course or terrain that seems to intimidate you. Tell us a little about yourself, where’d you grow up, who taught you to ride and how does that translate into your current success?

I grew up in Albuquerque playing soccer, swimming and running track. My dad always rode his road bike on the weekends (really long distances) while my mom took me and my sister to soccer games, that was about as much involvement with cycling as I had growing up. Though I believe my dad took me to race the NM State Time Trial Championships when I was like 10, I was too short to reach the pedals so he ziptied my feet to wooden blocks and clipped the blocks into the spd pedals. So that was my first introduction to cycling I guess!

No way! You’re just like Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. What would you say your biggest accomplishment is off the bike? 

I’m not sure I can summarize it down to one moment, but my accumulated accomplishments have led me to a life here in Durango, CO that I’m really happy with. I am both lucky to be here and proud of the work that I’ve put in over the last eleven years to get to this point, both on and off the bike. There have been many small things along the way that I feel are great accomplishments, but really it’s all of them smushed together that is my biggest accomplishment of them all!

Do you consider yourself a cyclocross, mountain bike, gravel racer, or just all around shredder?

I truly enjoy riding all disciplines, I get bored if I only ride one type of bike and terrain for too long so being able to swap it up really has its benefits for keeping a clear mind!

Diversity keeps us happy on the bike as well. We love having so many new categories out there now. You’ve been crushing it on the bike for years but the cycling world really stopped and took notice after you won the Belgian Waffle Ride, how did things change for you after that?

Well, I had no idea how big that race was to win until the following weeks and season. I mean I was warming up for my race at Cyclocross Nationals this year and I could hear the announcers talking about my win at BWR. I was wondering to myself how many people there even knew what that meant! I know I thought it was a big ride that had waffles at first! I quickly realized that it wasn’t that…sadly. HAH!

Come for the waffles and stay for the 135+ miles of severe pain? Feels like a bait and switch but we have trouble getting past the waffles as well. We had a fun time hanging out with you at the Floyd’s booth after your win. You didn’t even look tired! You have an affinity for winning these sufferfests, however, you also don’t seem to take yourself too seriously. It’s refreshing to see that you’re no stranger to a good time on the bike or a party ride as well. We’d love to make it to CX World’s one day, what’s one sentence you’d use to describe that race?

Single Speed CX Worlds is a fringe event that attracts those who want to party as hard as they race and are looking for a one-of-a-kind race experience complete with world champions, jell-o pits and flaming barriers…and lots of whiskey.

Sold. Speaking of parties, what’s one song you’d karaoke with Dave Zabriskie? 

I mean, it HAS to be Beyoncé – Hold Up…right?!

Oh, excellent choice. What about if you could challenge Floyd to one activity?

Ballet. Obviously.

Wow. You heard it here first ladies and gentleman. We might have to start selling tickets to our Leadville HQ variety show. Any other hidden talents?

I was obsessed with pro surfing growing up, having never really done the sport I was convinced that I was going to be a professional surfer and begged my parents to move to California so I could fulfill my dream!

Unfortunately Leadville isn’t known for its surfing so we can’t help much there, but maybe we catch some waves with you in SoCal.  We handed you some Gems at Belgian Waffle Ride and you were polite and took candy from strangers, but when did you first start using cannabidiol. What were your initial impressions?

I was introduced to CBD products after I separated my shoulder at a five day gravel race this summer. I used the full spectrum SoftGells in the following days, which really helped with pain management. I had never used CBD before so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Thanks for sharing that, we love to hear those stories and we’re glad we were able to help get you back on the bike quicker, although I’m not sure your competition was stoked. Why use Floyd’s CBD and what are your current go-to products?

I actually first used CBD cream from Floyd’s after racing Leadville for the first time. I was lucky in that I got to try a lot of the recovery product right before a back to back weekends of 100+ mile races. After racing Leadville, I slathered the Sports Cream and the Full Spectrum Lavender Balm on my legs, hips, and back all week in hopes to find some additional recovery before racing SBT GRVL in Steamboat Springs, CO the following weekend. I honestly think my efforts paid off; I landed 3rd place (and was the only one who’d done both back to back races) and I feel that above everything else I did, using a recovery product was the crucial move.

And now this year they’re promoting the Leadboat to get more racers to do both races back to back, looks like you’re a trendsetter!  It’s hard to get enough rest as a professional athlete between travel and races. Now that things have slowed down for the winter what  are you up to? What are you up to in the off season?

Catching up on my art! I’m a graphic designer by trade, so making some art that isn’t for a client helps me stretch some of my creative muscles in a different way. I also really love skate skiing with my dog, Norman and I dabble in ski touring as well!

That’s amazing, we love pets. In fact we have our Essential Odessa’s pet CBD line designed specifically for animals. How would you describe Norman?

Norman is a Shepherd mix (rez doggy) who I adopted from a local puppy rescue. He pretty much goes everywhere with me and his favorite thing ever is going on mountain bike rides with me and Dylan in the mornings. He’s only 5 but I like to make sure we’re not pushing him too much, his hips will get sore after rides so we have to space out his activity. I’m REALLY stoked to share the benefits of CBD with him this year, my number one training buddy!

We’ll we certainly have to keep your training buddy relaxed and recovered as well, consider him fully sponsored! When the snow melts and you start to focus on 2020, what event are you most looking forward that’s currently on your calendar?

I’m really looking forward to racing the Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder again and finishing without crashing this year! I love the multi-day races and that one was a real highlight of the summer!

That event does look amazing. It sounds pretty relaxed with all that camping and riding in the beautiful Oregon backcountry, but the competition looks insane! It seems like all the big names were out there, and it was great to see such a large women’s field. Is gender something you consider when you line up at a race?

Truly I don’t really think about it, I kind of see it as we are all collectively doing the same thing and gender really doesn’t play a factor in any of that. Women’s racing is just different than mens, tactically, mentally and physically which is what’s so interesting about cycling in general. Yes, you’re on a bicycle, but there are so many different ways to “be a cyclist” and gender isn’t a divider as much as another nuance. The only piece I will say that I notice and care about is getting more women to that start line, I think one of the differences is that women are potentially more likely to convince themselves that they’re not ready for something when men often dive right in (you see the same thing with men vs. women and how we apply/don’t apply for jobs).

Now that equal payouts are becoming the norm and we’re seeing more events targeted to female cyclists it seems like the industry is finally catching up with the times. What can we do to keep moving forward?

I think if women are just given an opportunity to prove to themselves that they too can do these crazy races then we’re going to be looking at much different numbers. I really believe that most women are more natural at endurance sports, look at running for example, there are high numbers of women competing and closely to the men! I think the mechanical aspect of the bicycle is what might deter some women from entering the sport.

And it helps to have such awesome ambassadors such as yourself to help represent the sport! How does it feel to be a leader in the sport?

I think there is this weird thing that happens when you see people accomplishing things at a high level, you tell yourself that there must be something different between you and that person. I hope I can show more women that it’s not the case, there is no difference between the winners of races and the people who aim to just finish. We’re all out there pushing ourselves to the limit of where we are at that given time, all you have to do is sign up!

And now for a quick PSA: Go register for something! Don’t put it off any longer, signing up for that race is half the battle. Do it. Well, hopefully we got at least one person signing up for an event they wouldn’t have otherwise. Thanks so much for joining us today Sarah and thanks for being such a great ambassador for cycling and  CBD. We can’t wait to see what you can accomplish this season! For those of you that want to keep up with Sarah’s adventures you can follow along with her on Instagram @sarah_sturmy