Näak Ambassador Sophianne Samson
PROFESSIONAL ULTRA MOUTAIN BIKING
“MY SPORT HAS BECOME A BEAUTIFUL SCHOOL OF LIFE FOR ME.”
I was introduced to the sport at the age of seven and I have never ceased to maintain my passion for it. I have won five Quebec titles and was the Canadian vice-champion in my second year as a junior, as well as a 24th place at the World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic. I represented Quebec at the 2017 Canada Games, winning a gold medal. In the U23 category, I finished 20th and 11th at the World Cup in Mont Ste Anne in the last two years. In addition, I won the bronze medal at my first two Canadian U23 Championships. Last summer, I won the title of Quebec Champion in the Elite Women's category and finished 4th at the Canadian Championships. I made two trips to Europe and participated in 4 events on the World Cup circuit. I first finished 47th in Albstadt, Germany, 38th in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, 26th in Vallnord, Andorra and finally 23rd in Les Gets, France. As a result, I was selected for the World Championships at Mont-Sainte-Anne where I finished 21st, the second best Canadian performance. My main goal for the year 2020 was to qualify for the World Championships in Albstadt, Germany and to finish my U23 season with a strong finish by winning the title of Canadian Champion.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU EVERY DAY TO TRAIN?
Physical activity has always been part of my daily life and my sport has become a great school for me. Discipline, rigour, determination, perseverance and the desire to surpass oneself are qualities that I have been able to develop and that allow me to assert myself as an athlete but also as a student. I enjoy practicing my sport because it allows me to develop my technical skills and athletic qualities in a rich natural environment that stimulates all my senses.
DO YOU HAVE A PERSON WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Emily Batty and Catharine Pendrel are my sources of inspiration. I started out in cycling as these two Canadian athletes, now Olympians, were beginning to develop on the international circuit. I feel privileged to have the chance to work with them on the Canadian team and to benefit from their competitive experiences. Their journey has been filled with successes and challenges, but they have learned to overcome adversity in victory and defeat. These two athletes have a lot to offer the younger ones and are a model for their discipline, rigour, competitiveness and accessibility.
WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR NOT LOSING ENERGY DURING your races?
First of all, 2 hours before my departure, I eat a Näak energy bar. Then, 20 minutes before my departure, I will take a gel to give me energy for the first minutes of the race. Then I take a gel at the end of each of my laps. Throughout my race, I make sure to keep myself hydrated by taking water that I mixed with a NUUN electrolyte tablet that morning in each of my bottles.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST RACING MEMORY?
My biggest sporting pride is without a doubt my 21st position at the World Championships at Mont Sainte Anne this summer. Despite a huge fall just 10 seconds after the start that put me in last place, 48th, I made a remarkable comeback. The encouragement of the fans gave me wings. I can't put into words the feeling I felt when I crossed the finish line. The crowd went wild. Throughout my race, I felt the energy of the people on the edge of the track and it was this energy that allowed me to pull myself together and pass so many competitors. I am so proud of what I accomplished because such a silly fall can easily destroy your mind and I was able to overcome this dark spirit. My family and friends all came out to cheer me on so there was no way I was going to give up. Just thinking about the emotions I experienced during this race puts a smile on my face.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU LIKE TO DO AFTER A RACE?
After a race, the first thing I like to do is to go and meet my family when they are there. No matter what my result is and how I feel, hugging them hard always makes me feel good.
What is your favorite music to surpass yourself in training?
Currently, my favorite song to outdo myself in training is called "Be Like That", by Kane Brown, Swae Lee and Khalid.
What is your favourite Näak product?
My favorite Näak bar is Mocha Hazelnut.