From cross national championships to coaching the next generation of riders, the world’s greatest gravel grinders to a full-time graphic design job, Sarah Sturm has a lot going on, and cycling is just the start.14 January 2021
Sarah Sturm is quite unlike any other professional bike rider. A latecomer to the sport, she started cycling at college and enjoyed plenty of early success in road racing but decided that the hyper competitive racing scene was not one on which she wanted to stick around.
It would be a few years before she returned full-time to cycling but the second time around she followed her heart into off-road riding. In 2019 alone, Sarah raced to podium finishes at the Belgian Waffle Ride, SBT GRVL, and the Sea Otter Classic, and she’s also a two-time US Single Speed Cyclocross National Champion.
Despite these accolades, it’s Sarah’s love for the community that keeps her competing. Outside of work and racing commitments, she spends a lot of time coaching her former Fort Lewis collegiate team in Durango, helping to instil a sense of balance and perspective into a new generation of aspiring riders and racers.
“There’s this script that we all thought we had to follow. To be a great athlete, you have to be this cut-throat, competitive athlete. That’s entertaining to a certain point but to me, I was never in awe of those characters growing up”
Where many of her competitors commit themselves to the monastic lifestyle, Sarah’s main commitment is maintaining a healthy balance between all that she’s passionate about. Off the bike, with a successful career as a graphic designer, her life is just as exciting as it is in the saddle. It’s this balanced approach that has enhanced her racing capabilities by lending a sharp sense of perspective to race results.
Though she was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sarah now calls Colorado home, and her favourite trail through the La Plata Mountains is just a short ride from her front door.
“Those who are humble and kind, but then destroy at their sport, that’s way more inspiring. Wouldn’t you rather go for a beer with someone who you think ‘Wow, I just watched you at the Olympics and you’re a cool person?’ That’s the archetype that pro athletes should chase.”
GRINDURO - JAPAN
Gravel road racing meets mountain bike-style enduro over sixty miles of constant ups and downs through rugged terrain. In June, the race will be bounding down the roads of a quiet corner of the Shin’etsu region.
350 miles through the iconic Cascade Mountains, five days on the trail and four nights under the stars. The Oregon Trail is part gravel grinder, part stage race with a travelling camp to house riders overnight.
THE RIFT - ICELAND
A 200-kilometre off-road bike race through the breathtaking dark lava fields of Iceland’s highlands, The Rift in Hvolsvöllur boasts one of the most surreal backdrops to a race you’ll ever find.
As a versatile rider, Sarah’s kit supports her in tackling harsh terrain, whether it’s grinding gravel or managing the mud on her local cyclocross trails.
WOMEN'S EXPLORE TECHNICAL T-SHIRT
Aiding freedom of movement when in the saddle, this lightweight summer t-shirt is designed to support exploration when Sarah heads off-road.
WOMEN'S CORE CARGO SHORTS
Comfortable and dependable, this pair of cycling shorts are ideal for everyday wear with practical side pockets helping you keep essentials to hand.
Lightweight and rugged, the Explore Shoes are purpose-built for the rigours of heading off-road.
WOMEN'S BREVET JERSEY II
When riding for long distances, this practical, comfortable and reflective jersey is an essential piece of kit for any adventurer.
TALKING ABOUT HER GENERATION
Hailed as a new kind of athlete, two-time national champion Sarah Sturm is pioneering a fresh approach to racing. We recently spoke to her at her home in Colorado to talk about gravel racing, embracing her creativity and coaching the next generation of cyclists.
OUR ELITE ROSTER
From the Australian outback to the US crit scene, we sponsor inspiring teams and athletes around the world. To find out more about our Rapha athletes, click below.
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