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Interview With Stan's No Tubes Rider Sue Haywood

Posted by: Matt Williams |April 11, 2012 3:22 AM
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A legend in the mountain bike world, Sue Haywood does it all: cross-country racing, stage races, enduros, and skills clinics are all part of her schedule. 

This year Haywood is mixing things up and has joined the growing Stanís No Tubes Elite Womenís team. She recently took a few minutes to check in with MTB Race News about her new team, whatís on tap for this season, and the cool new recipes sheís been experimenting with this winter. What have you been up to recently?  

Sue Haywood: I have funny taste buds and weird cravings, so I like to make things that satisfy me.  So these are three recipes that I have been experimenting with lately.

And besides that, I was lucky enough to spend a month riding mountain bikes in Sedona with some great friends that super charged my stoke for riding bikes all year!  I'm getting ready to leave for a mostly road riding training camp in Georgia with some wild guys. I'm avoiding a J.O.B and dealing with a break-up with a long-term boyfriend.! Why did you make the switch to ride for the Stanís NoTubes Elite Womenís Team this season?  

Sue Haywood: I wanted to be part of something again.  I like being a spoke in a wheel that is rollin' and this team rolls.  It is so cool being on an all women's team that is so diverse.  We have all the bases covered with the xc, endurance, enduro and cross.  And everyone is there because they have the drive to succeed on the bike.  Its not a job, its a passion.  And of course, we have some great sponsors who make the passion play possible. What races will you be focusing on this year 

Sue Haywood: Tran-Sylvania Epic, Colorado Mountain Enduro and Shenandoah 100.  I'll do a couple others, as well like Yeti Beti Bash and Pisgah Mountain Stage Race.  I won't have the full schedule that the other girls have. What are your goals for 2012?  

Sue Haywood: Have fun, go fast, make the team happy, ride new trails and meet nice people. What bikes will the team be riding this season?  

Sue Haywood: Cannondales.  I turned pro on a Cannondale back in 1998, so I'm very excited to ride their latest technology. Flash 29 Carbon with SRAM XX and Stan's No Tubes Race Gold Wheels, Kenda Tires, Custom pink Fizik saddles and Crankbrothers Egg beater pedals.  I'm no weight weenie like some other members of the team (they know who they are), but the prospect of riding a bike that is at least 8 lbs lighter than the one I rode at TSE last year is really exciting.  I've never ridden a 29er hardtail, so I'm looking forward to my curiosity being satisfied.  It will be a transition, but change is good.

I'll be riding the Jekyll II for my everyday whip, Super D's, Enduros and skills clinics.  I can't wait to take the Jekyll up to my favorite loop north of Harrisonburg and giggle at its wonderfulness! What have you been up to as far as skills coaching with the BetterRide folks recently?  

Sue Haywood: I'm teaching several of their two-day clinics in Virginia.  I do some clinics on my own, as well, with the Elk River Touring Center and The Bike Lane of Burke, Virginia and at the Canaan Mountain Bike Festival. Has teaching skills clinics improved your own riding?  

Sue Haywood: Yes, if you can teach something to someone than you understand it.  If you can simplify a concept, then you understand it.    It is fascinating the different ways that people learn and understand concepts and skills.  It is almost more about relating to someone's learning curve than anything else.  My riding has improved since taking Gene Hamilton's Better Ride Clinic and then teaching the clinics has  as well. Its all a process though and no skills practice is very important.

Riding with better riders out in Sedona and in Harrisonburg, Virginia has really been the big boost to my riding skills this year, as well as my improving fitness. Has your attitude towards mountain biking changed at all in the years since youíve "retiredĒ from pro racing?

Sue Haywood: In some ways my attitude has changed tons and in other ways it hasn't changed at all.  I'm more philosophical about racing now.  Itís not so dire and immediate for me.  I love mountain biking and I love a mental and physical challenge.  I love that people set goals and work hard.  I love to see genuine sportsmanship and goodwill.  I don't see the point in wearing skinsuits at a local race and yelling at people to get out of their way.  I don't like to see people get ugly and throw their bikes or yell at their mechanics when something goes wrong.  I don't like to see people starving themselves for their race weight.  There is a self-centeredness about racing that can be very transformative either negatively or positively. What are some of your keys for balancing life, work, training, and racing?  

Sue Haywood: I'm a Libra, so the need for balance is paramount.  Sometimes you have to float above yourself and try to look at things in a more neutral way.  When you are up to your elbows in all of it, its hard to know if you are spreading yourself too thin, being too moody, having too high expectations or even not resting enough.  Having a loved one that you can really speak honestly with always helps. Where is one place in the world youíve never ridden that you would love to get to one day?  

Sue Haywood: Absolutely, on my bucket list is the Alta Rezia freeride tour. Rezia Freeride Tour.htm.  I've done several races and amazing rides in Switzerland, but would love to go back and do it right. Whatís your favorite lunch to bring on a long training ride?  

Sue Haywood: Homemade Kimchi Quesadilla with dry Sauvigon Blanc and cucumber salad.  Oh, training ride...I like the GU Blueberry chomps, Justin's Nut Butter and Elete Electrolyte drops. 

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