"Bridge The Gap" Episode #1: Kristin Armstrong Savola
On Friday, May 8, Stages Cycling launched the "Bridge the Gap Podcast" series.
"Bridge the Gap" focuses on all things cycling, no matter how or where you do it. Host Brice Hansen dives into the world of riding bikes both indoor and outside. Hear from professional athletes, industry experts, and world renowned instructors to learn about emerging tech, industry trends, training, data and more. Find it where ever you get your podcasts, and subscribe on Spotify.
The first episode jumps straight in with former professional road racer, three-time Olympic gold medalist and now studio owner, Kristin Armstrong Savola. They discuss Kristin's road to becoming a professional athlete and her unexpected and challenging journey to the Olympics. And dive into the mental lessons learned from racing bikes and life after competition with Kristin's new gym Pivot Lifestyle + Fitness by KA. Kristin also shares how she is continuing to build community in Boise, ID during COVID-19.
Excerpts from the interview:
On getting started as a professional cyclists:
“I’ll never forget that day when I rode my bike to the YMCA and didn’t ride home. When you’re an athlete all your life, I just believe it doesn’t go away. You learn so much, and so maybe it just took awhile for me to find what I was good at.”
On opening Pivot Lifestyle + Fitness by KA:
"After retiring from Rio I was so tired, I knew I couldn’t do this again. I thought long and hard about what am I going to do to be fulfilled forever. What I realized, which is amazing. Is that it can no longer be for me. It can’t be an individual goal that I’m going after, because nothing is the top, the pinnacle of sport. Nothing, no matter how hard I try to make it about something personal, it won’t be satisfying. So I decided to try to do something different and to go after something that would help other people. And if I can help other people, whether it is through coaching the next generation to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, or helping people in the state of Idaho accomplish their goals and dreams, then maybe that would be something that would be fulfilling to me. So I opened up these fitness centers called Pivot Lifestyle and Fitness, the reason why they are different is we have a 10,000 square foot studio, and it has four studios within the main space. One of them is a cardio weight room, and we have heated and non-heated yoga, we have functional training, and we have a cycling studio. And they are all high-level boutique levels within one building. I wanted to create a community and I wanted to share with everybody in the community, if you want to be active, to me you’re an athlete. So why wouldn’t the community members and other people outside of competitive sport, deserve to know exactly what it took me to be successful. So when I was developing what’s going to go in each studio, I decided to share everything that’s made me successful throughout my career."
On making the Olympic Games in 2004:"At the time they had a one day trial, so the winner got a spot into the Olympic Games. That was in Athens in 2004, so the course was on the Redlands course, a really hilly course. I was part of a very deep T-Mobile team filled with favorites and I was the workhorse. The team tactic was, these two women are going to set tempo, these two are going to attack and play the card, and make the other teams chase, so then the favorites on my team go attack and win. That was the plan, I was an instigator. I’ll never forget the spot on the concrete wall where I was told to attack. That’s how new I was, they told me where to attack. But when I hit that spot I attacked, I was off the front with Christine Thorburn from Webcore, and over the course of an hour and half left in the race, the team favorites kept trying to chase and bridge across and then no one came. It came down to Christine and myself, and I won the final sprint and was on my way to Athens. It was unreal.
On Stages Indoor Bikes:"My husband Joe is an engineer, and he’s the one who worked on my bikes behind the scenes to make them fast, light weight, you name it. When we were building out our cycling studio, you can imagine, we were very particular when we decided which indoor bikes we wanted to go with. It was by far, the Stages indoor bikes, they were on the top from the very beginning. We believe that we need to bring the indoor world into what we feel outdoors, and that we need to bring the outdoor world inside and they need to feel as similar to what they do outdoors. There really isn’t another offering out there on the market that, just as the podcast is called, it doesn’t bridge the gap enough. I’m the person who knows by the millimeter that the saddle height is wrong. So the adjustability, the way you feel on the bike is crucial. But even for the people who are really into the more technical pieces, and the physiology and the power, the gap between what you may see in an indoor bike versus what you see as an outdoor rider on a Stages indoor bike. That’s relative, it’s very comparable to what you see indoors and outdoors. That consistency is really really important, it was very important for us. We couldn't be happier with the support that we’ve received from Stages, but also the quality is what we expect. I’m just happy that we didn’t have to go out and develop our own bike, that’s kind of my husband’s way. And thank goodness we found a good partner."
Listen to the full episode now.
Stay tuned for a new episode every Friday.