A coffee with Sarah Kim Bonner

autorRotor Bike Components
fecha30th June 2022

A short bio of who you are and your career so far

Sarah didn’t do any sport growing up but started cycling in university for fun. It wasn’t until she was 27 that she did her first triathlon, winning her age group and qualifying for 70.3 World Champs in her second-ever triathlon and first long-distance race. One year later, Sarah qualified for her pro license and, in 2018, her second season racing pro, Sarah had her first podium at Triathlon Vitoria. However, Sarah was hit by a car the same year while riding her bike, subsequently needing hip surgery. After three years of rehabilitation, Sarah returned to racing at the end of 2021.

Three greatest achievements

  • Recovering from being hit by a car
  • 3rd Triathlon Vitoria
  • 6th Triathlon Gerardmer

To know more about you:

How did you start cycling / triathlon?

I started cycling in university after my dad took it up as a hobby. I cycled with him when I went home for holidays, saved up for my own bike, and then he signed me up for the Cape Argus gran fondo. I thought riding 100km was insane. I trained for it on a spin bike at the gym because I was too scared to ride outside.

I did my first triathlon five or six years after I started cycling. I had also started running so everyone kept telling me to do a triathlon. I didn’t know how to swim but after a few years of coaxing I was finally convinced. I signed up for Lanzarote 70.3, not knowing it was one of the hardest courses. I did an Olympic distance before as part of my training. It took me over 40 minutes to do the swim but I really enjoyed the bike and run. A month later I won my age group in Lanzarote and qualified for World Champs. I didn’t even know what World Champs was but it was the start of everything.

Why do you continue with triathlon now?

I asked myself that question when I was laying in the hospital after being hit by a car. I kept wiggling my toes because I had so much pain in my lower back I didn’t think I would be able to walk. Triathlon is what makes me happy: it gives me purpose, it challenges me, and it’s the path that leads to a better me every day.

What was the most important race you’ve done to date? 

Gerardmer 2021. It was my first in three years after the car accident and hip surgery. It was three years of emotions that came out as I ran down the finishing carpet in tears. The announcer told the crowd my story and walked me back down the finishing chute while everyone cheered. It was a really special moment.

What is your pre-race ritual? 

I don’t have one.

What do you think about while cycling? 

Glute activation haha! Since hip surgery, a lot of the time I think about form: glute activation, pedalling technique, aerodynamics. I also do a lot of writing in my head. I work as a copywriter so on long unstructured rides, I get ideas or “write” in my head. Sometimes I also daydream about racing. Sometimes I try not to think of anything except the moment.

What is your go-to training meal? 

My five-minute meal! Rice noodles with tofu, fresh veggies, seeds, and tahini or peanut sauce.

How do you recover after a tough cycling?

Protein shake, stretch, compression boots, siesta, and, if it’s hot, I jump in the ocean.

What song is your go-to for the cycling? 

I only usually listen to music on the bike if I ride inside. I always like the “Mint” Spotify playlist.

Who is your favorite cycling “team”?

I will always love the 2014 women’s Rabobank team.

Apart from endurance sports, what is your passion? 

I love cooking and baking. Being creative, connecting with people, and making them happy brings me a lot of joy. The power of cupcakes is totally underrated!

What was the best piece of cycling advice you ever received?

It never gets easier.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

You get one life— go for it! It’s easy to spend too much time thinking about what people will think, waiting for things to be perfect, or thinking you should be doing something else. Follow you heart, don’t compare, and you’ll find more joy, even during the lows, that you ever imagined.

Why ROTOR?

After my car accident and hip surgery, components have become a really crucial part of my set up and ROTOR has allowed me to customise and find the best and most competitive set up.

What’s your favorite ROTOR component and why? 

Aero oval Q Rings and short cranks.