We had the pleasure of sitting down with Alex Stieda, a former professional cyclist, television personality, husband, father and cycling ambassador. Spanning from 1977 to 1992, Alex’s cycling career highlights include competing in the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games and the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles as well as wearing a yellow jersey for a day of the Tour de France. Since retiring from his professional cycling career, Alex co-founded the Tour of Alberta and started Skimo racing, a winter mountaineering event. Alex continues to share his passion for cycling and an active lifestyle through various volunteering positions and by operating cycling camps at different locations around the world. Simply put, Alex is a big inspiration to us and we admire his unwavering dedication to adventuring while connecting to the world around him. We hope you enjoy our conversation with him as much as we did!
What does a typical day look like for you?
I get up around 5:30 am. During the summer months, three times a week I join a group of like-minded riders and we ride from 6-7 am. We complete a lap around the river valley and when we are finished we come back here for coffee. During the winter months I lead an indoor cycling class. Cycling is a great way to start the day.
Why cycling? What ignited that passion in you?
Cycling is in my blood. I played ice hockey as a kid and when I was 16 I discovered cycling. It grew on me and I started doing it more and more; I quickly realized how much I loved it. There's so many different ways to enjoy a bicycle; whether it's on the road or a mountain, cruising along city streets, or commuting. You can have so much fun on your bike and it's such a unique way to enjoy the world and meet new friends.
With cycling being a lifelong passion, what has changed in from when you were 20 to now?
Things have changed from a technology perspective, the bikes have become lighter, more advanced and more technical. However, cycling, the skill, the essence of pedaling your bike, still requires you to push the pedals in order to go forward and there's something about that; it keeps cyclists excited about always trying to improve and continue doing it. Cycling is also good for your body, it doesn't pound you down like running does. It's something you can do for your whole life if you are careful about where you ride and how you ride.
If someone has no experience with cycling and is interested in getting into it, is it an approachable thing? Where should someone start?
The best thing to do would be to join a cycling club. There are so many people in cycling clubs that want to share their knowledge. If you share an interest, they will help you. The sky’s the limit.
As an active person what are some of the ways that you protect yourself from backaches and care for your body?
As an active person, especially as an aging athlete, I find it's crucial to look after myself. Drinking lots of water is a simple thing that can make a big difference. Getting the right amount of sleep is important, I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Proper nutrition is essential, I find that I don’t eat such big meals anymore, but I eat better quality. Another thing that is very important for me and what I do is a lot of stretching and yoga type activities that are targeted to core and lower back strength.
I know you picked very specific products from Healthy Bedroom, can you talk a bit about that and why you chose them?
The Healthy Bedroom products have been fantastic for my wife and I. We chose the bedding sheets, the duvet cover and the feather pillows. We have really enjoyed using them. The sheets feel like silk! I had the pillow stuffed with extra feathers because I like a firmer, bigger pillow and it was an unreal way to customize a pillow. I've never experienced that level of customization before. The duvet cover, having wool in it, helps to average out the temperature so it's a great fit for us.
What is the best part of waking up well-rested?
When you wake up and you actually feel like getting up and you're rejuvenated from a great night's sleep, that really makes all the difference. As you get older you have more appreciation for that; that feeling that you're ready for the day.
If you had to pick one moment of you career that you could do again what would it be?
The camaraderie from the guys on the team - training, racing, spending time on road trips while cycling, we got to know each other very well and it was very special to me.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Things take time. When you’re younger you expect results right away and you expect to be improving immediately. After hard training or work you've done in school, and you need to step back and take a longer view and understand that you need to put in the time in order to get the results. The results often don't happen right away. It’s the work you do, whether it takes months or years, that will culminate into a result. You have to be patient.
I can't sleep without...
A really good pillow.
My first thought when I wake up is...
I can't wait to have a good cup of coffee!
Live Awakened means...
Exploring the world, exploring the environment we live in and being aware of all the different opportunities we have in this amazing place that we call the world.
Thank you for reading another conversation with an Edmontonian we admire. If you’re curious about any of the products that Alex mentioned in this interview, like how to customize your own pillow, come visit us in our showroom and we would be happy to help.