Sarah Wangerin Farsalas is a resident of Wheaton, Illinois. But that’s just a point of reference for the spectrum of highly mobile adventures in which she engages.
Farsalas is first and foremost a mother of three children. That keeps her plenty busy and active.
She is also a licensed massage therapist working with athletes and patients in rehabilitation and performance.
In her middle-mom years Sarah Farsalas is an accomplished triathlete that has qualified for national and world competitions in her chosen sport. This experience led her to become a coach through Experience Triathlon, a club based in Naperville, Illinois. In that role she counsels both beginning and advanced triathletes in the sport.
Recently Sarah was also selected as an ambassador for the Giant/Liv brand of cycling products. In that role she’ll be conducting clinics for the Midwest region focused on helping women participate in the sport of triathlons.
That new role is reflective of a larger trend toward increased female participation in endurance sports. Races all across America report more women than men competing in events such as marathons and half marathons.
The growth trend among women participating in triathlons is not quite as dramatic. Yet there is plenty of evidence that women are well suited physically and mentally to participate in endurance sports.
There are still legitimate barriers to participation by women in individual sports. Safety remains a genuine issue for women training alone, especially with the risks associated with cycling and running on public roads.
That’s where the Liv Cycling Ambassador program comes into play. Liv is the women’s specific cycling division of Giant Cycling, one of the world’s premiere manufacturers of bicycles for recreation and performance.
Using her experience as a USA Triathlon Certified Coach and USA Cycling Certified Coach, Sarah Farsalas will be hosting a series of seminars in collaboration with Spokes Bikes in Wheaton (Danada Square) and Experience Triathlon. Each event will be designed to encourage women to participate in cycling and triathlons. Some will be more instructional while others more inspiration. These include:
- Bikes, Beauty and Brains – Introduction to All Cycling Has to Offer to Women
- Wine and Wrenches – Taking Care of our Bikes and Fixing Flats
- Lines and Tires and Bikes, OH MY! Outdoor Riding
- Training For Your First Triathlon
- Nutrition Myths and Nutrition Truths and The Mental Game of Cycling
Sarah’s own story is inspirational. She began her love cycling during rides in the company of her father. They initially rode hybrid bikes, and Sarah even used her hybrid to complete her first triathlon.
So her love of the sport did not start out with high-tech gear and super-fast rides. Instead her love of cycling grew organically through the sense of freedom she felt while riding. Now she plans to pass along that love of riding and fitness to other women. “I think that sense of freedom is important,” she says. “But a lot of women are intimidated by being out on the roads, or are scared about it. I was lucky in having my dad to guide me. He taught me how to ride. I want to do that for other women interested in riding.”
And even though Sarah Farsalas has completed Ironman races that require 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and 26.2 miles of running, her joy in coaching and encouraging athletes is not just about racing. “Some of my best experiences have been riding places like the Shenandoah Valley or out west in California.”
In other words, it’s the riding itself that counts, not just the racing.
With an impish grin and an artful flair in her sense personal style, it is difficult at times to imagine that such a determined athlete really does lurk beneath the flouncy skirts or an off-the-shoulder layered ensemble.
But that’s the dual message Farsalas delivers in her personal and professional life. It’s great to be a woman and it’s great to be an athlete too.
Her dedication has come with a price at times. She has herniated a disk that flares up on occasion, causing training breaks and visits to the chiropractor. But those challenges are common to all athletes pushing their bodies in endurance sports.
Testing and learning one’s limits are what attracts many women to endurance sports along with weight control, cardiovascular health and the all-important “me time” that comes with training alone or with friends.
It’s no wonder Sarah Farsalas was chosen to represent Liv Cycling. She’s come through many life challenges and has plenty of insight and experience to offer other women seeking confidence and the opportunity ride and run and swim at their own pace.