Kristin Armstrong's golden cycling career at final stage

  • Article by: CHRIS MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 10, 2009 - 7:24 AM

The Olympics seems a faraway event with incomparable athletes to many, and Kristin Armstrong was no exception ... until she became an Olympian.

hide

Kristin Armstrong, third from left

Photo: David Brewster, Jm - Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Kristin Armstrong races all over the world, against the best her sport offers.

There are different winners in different races for different reasons, but the elite are separated by one thing.

That one day.

For Armstrong, that day came on Aug. 13, 2008, at the Beijing Olympics. She dominated the competition in the women's cycling road time trial to win the gold medal and stake her title as the world's best on a day when it mattered most.

"That's the thing," said Armstrong, who is shooting for a fourth consecutive Nature Valley Grand Prix title in Minnesota this week. "There are a lot of pieces to the Olympic Games that are pretty special. Then you get to the competition, and it's world class, but it's the same people you are competing against all year. You just have to have 'that one day.'"

The Olympics seems a faraway event with incomparable athletes to many, and Armstrong was no exception ... until she became an Olympian.

"When I was growing up, I would watch the Olympics, and you start to think, 'Is it really human? Don't you have to be superhuman to do this Olympic thing?' The one thing I thought when I was walking out of the Olympic Center [in Beijing] is that you'd look at someone and say, you know what? If you saw them walking down the street, you would never think they're an athlete. They're just normal people, doing normal things.

"I didn't get to stay for the closing ceremonies. I was back home, watching it on TV. It was like watching a Hollywood production, and I was like 'No way, I was there!'

"That's why the message I always give to kids and other people is, no matter how impossible it looks, set your goals high, and you can accomplish anything. We're all just normal people."

Armstrong, 35, is in her last year of competitive cycling. She's retiring in Boise, Idaho, to start a family with husband Joe Savola following September's World Championships in Poland.

At last year's Nature Valley, Armstrong was eagerly awaiting the Olympics, where her childhood dreams finally came true. She was an outstanding triathlete until 2001, when a diagnosis of osteoarthritis in her hips meant no more distance running. She switched to cycling full-time, became a three-time national champion, and was eighth in the road race at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

This year, Armstrong won a World Cup race in Switzerland on May 10, beating fellow Olympic gold medalist Marianne Vos in a photo-finish. She was fourth in the nine-stage Tour de l'Aude (France) from May 15-24, and will head to Italy to race following the Nature Valley event.

But the post-Olympic year hasn't been stress-free.

"I have to say that my life has completely changed," Armstrong said. "I used to wake up and all I had to worry about was the bike and my equipment. Now, I feel like I'm juggling my athletic career with a fulltime job, because of the different endorsements and the speaking opportunities when I'm not on the road racing my bike.

"It's a change that actually brought more balance to my life. But the first three months was really hard on me. There was a point where I'd say 'I just can't talk to anybody! I just want to have my own life!' But now I can take a deep breath. It's just my life. I'm a lot more efficient. It's not just about training and racing. I have a lot of other things going on as well."

Armstrong (to answer the question she faces the most: no, she's not related to Lance) is welcoming the income from endorsement opportunities now in her last competitive year. Her final goal is a world championship in September, but this week's event will have a special meaning to her.

"Nature Valley is really a significant race on my calendar because it's my last race in America," she said. "I'm fortunate that my team [Cervélo Test Team] is letting me come. I'll be on my own, but it's a well-run race, and the competition is the highest you can get in America."

  • related content

  • Nature Valley Grand Prix

    Tuesday June 9, 2009

    THURSDAYStage 3: Cannon Falls Road Race• Start/finish in downtown Cannon Falls. Men 5 p.m., women 5:30 p.m. 60 miles out...

  • CYCLING NATURE VALLEY GRAND PRIX

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Adrian Peterson ever play for the Vikings again?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close