Cycle Kingsville (CK) recently spoke with former professional mountain biker and
personal trainer Sue Stephens.
Sue is the General Manager of the Movati Athletic gym in Kingsville. Born in Windsor and raised in
Emeryville and Tecumseh, married with four children, Sue decided to come out of riding retirement, gain back her professional status and compete in the Leadville Trail 100 MTB. This 100 mile mountain bike race in Colorado is considered the granddaddy of mountain bike races. Despite the Covid pandemic delaying her chances to compete in Leadville for the last two years, this looks like the year! Here is our interview.
CK: Tell us about growing up in Essex County and how you got into cycling. Why
Sue: So what got me into cycling was when I was 16 years old, my boyfriend and now my
husband, had a mountain bike, so I bought one and that was it! Never was a road
biker, always mountain. We travelled to Michigan constantly, loved the adrenaline rush,
speed and the challenge.
CK: What made you want to ride professionally?
Sue: It was after I had my four kids and my competitiveness got to me, that I raced for
the first time. I joined some small competitive races late that season, did well and
decided to train and get serious for a whole season…. went from beginner status to
expert status to expert provincial Ontario Cup champion. At that point I knew I wasn’t
done, wanted more challenge, and decided to qualify and get designated as a Pro.
CK: Why did you stop competing?
Sue: I was nine years into high level racing, had always said I would stop racing when I
stopped enjoying training. There came a point that I was fighting injuries and mental
fatigue, I realized I was burnt out. So I hung up the bike and walked away and didn’t
look at it for quite a few months.
CK: What happened for you to want to complete again?
Sue: Well when I do something, I do it full out, and caught the bug again. I looked into
the Xterra series (off road MTB, trail run and open water swim) rather than the cross-country mountain biking I had done, so I trained for an Xterra event in Maryland, ended
up winning that. My desire to compete again was back, started to train for more Xterra
events but realized now was the time to try and qualify for Leadville, something I
always have wanted to attempt!
CK: Leadville 100 is a major cycling event with some of the best world cyclists
entered, what are your thoughts on this?
Sue: I’m excited! Actually I’m really excited! I’m loving training again, pushing
my body, and am pretty confident.
CK: Essex County is the flattest area in Canada, and Kingsville sits at 238ft above
sea level. The Leadville race start at 10,152 ft and summits at 12,424 ft. Have you
ever raced a 100 miler and at altitude?
Sue: I’ve never raced a 100 mile race, my longest has been 50 miles, and never been
CK: What is your training regimen for training here to prepare for racing at
altitude and climbing?
Sue: That’s a tough one! One of the ways is to try and get my body to adapt, difficult
at this time of year [late winter/early spring] because I’m forced indoors but am training on a high level set schedule set out by my coach. When the weather gets warmer I will train at the
hottest, most humid time of the day, which I’m told is about the closest way to mimic altitude, so
that’s what I’m doing.
Sue, as the old Irish blessing says, ‘May the road rise up to greet you. May the wind be
always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face.’… Good luck and do us
For more information on the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike race: https://www.leadvilleraceseries.com/mtb/leadvilletrail100mtb/