Mike Woods started the 2021 season on a strong note, finishing second place (by just five seconds) in the overall standing of the three-day Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var.
Just before the start of his season, the Canadian cyclist joined runners Kate Van Buskirk and Maddy Kelly on The Shakeout, a Canadian running podcast, to discuss his running origins, lessons he’s learned from the sport and his attitude towards cycling now. Woods also covers his partnership with his wife, who he says is “more of an athlete than him,” and the lack of equity in wages and exposure in women’s cycling, something he says running does much better.
In the podcast Woods reviews the running injuries that caused him to retire from the sport. He also notes that he believes if he has his current coach, Paulo Saldanha, at the time he wouldn’t have sustained the same stress fractures.
In discussing his injuries Woods says that running will always have a place in his heart. “My first love will always be running, I actually probably love running a little bit more than cycling,” he says. “I still have a real passion for it, but from a lifestyle perspective, from a financial perspective I have no regrets, I’m really happy to be doing what I’m doing.”
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Woods says that working at a bank and still training a bit as a runner near the end of his running career gave him some perspective as an athlete. “If you’re late for work at the bank because you went for a 10 mile run they don’t care,” he says, “they’re just pissed off.”
He discusses how his identity as an athlete shifted when he let go of his Olympic running dreams. “I don’t care if I win or lose,” says Woods. He clarifies: “Like, I care, it’s nice to win, I like winning, and I don’t like losing, but I’m not impacted emotionally whether I have a bad race or a good race now and it’s really nice, it’s liberating. Especially in cycling it lets you do more creative things.”