From ‘Healthy Habits’ to a World Championships call-up, Sara Poidevin continues to make the most of this unique year. Fresh from strong performances in the Tour de l’Ardèche and Trophée des Grimpeuses, we caught up with Poidevin in advance of her third elite outing wearing the jersey of Team Canada.
This will be my third time at the elite World Championships. I went once as a junior as well. You race the whole year with your trade team and then there’s one time per year you come together with your national teammates to represent your country. It’s always such an honor to wear the maple leaf.
We have a strong team of Canadian riders. We had a good year in 2018, and last year we came close to a good result, but we needed a bit more strength in the finish. We were just missing some of the riders who would normally be there due to injury, but this year we have a solid team so I’m looking forward to racing.
In every race, you’re always watching how everyone else is riding. Just being around other teams gives you an outside perspective, so I think you get to know each other, whether you’re on the same team or not. You can see where everyone’s strengths fit in the puzzle when you come together with a new roster of riders.
I love stage racing, but one-day races are exciting for completely different reasons. Everyone turns up and just puts it all out there. Races like the Worlds road race are an awesome opportunity and it always pushes you, that’s for sure.
Growing up where I did, I was definitely aware of the Worlds. My focus was mostly on mountain bike racing at first, but once I got into road, going to junior Worlds became a possibility and you then enter this whole new world and start watching all this stuff. It quickly became part of regular life.
This new World Championship course opens up a lot of possibilities. Obviously, the climb each lap will be wearing, but you still have to get to the finish, so I think it opens the door to more tactics and more dynamic racing.
It definitely took me a little while to dust off the cobwebs after this summer. I felt fit when we got back to racing, but I was making a lot of mistakes and I just needed a bit more practice. The racing we’ve done in the past few weeks has been good preparation, though. In Ardèche there was a lot of climbing and all the finishes were different, some uphill and some flat after the climbs, so we prepared for a good variety of race scenarios.
Health Habits feels like ages ago! For me, this summer was a bit of an adjustment but I’m really fortunate that I was able to keep training while also studying toward my degree. I settled into a routine and just enjoyed a summer at home, building a foundation and working towards a return to racing.
I grew up in a super athletic community. I’m from Canmore where there are a lot of high caliber athletes, from cross country skiers to mountain bikers. I just rode casually with my family and gradually got more interested in mountain bike racing in the last couple years of high school.
I got a road bike just to train for the mountain bike in winter. I then quickly discovered that I was better on the road. I raced a couple years with the provincial team, both mountain and road at first, and then transitioned to focus on road racing for a local club in Calgary. I then tried to race as much as possible while I was at university, driving around to races by myself or with friends.
I’m just finishing up my degree in exercise and health physiology. I’ve taken my time with it, but I’ve had some pretty awesome opportunities in between! My profs are all super understanding. They have a lot of athletes asking for time off, they really get the athlete lifestyle.
Rally is super committed to supporting the riders. When I first came onto the team there were a few of us who were just getting into the sport. There was a real commitment to developing the riders who wanted to build a career in road cycling. I feel like the team has found a good balance between providing support and also giving you the time and space to progress.
There are always ups and downs in sport. Sometimes they can be really high highs and then really low lows, but the people around you really make a difference as to how you progress in the long term. That’s what Rally has always provided for me.