Five Minutes with Kem Valliant-Saunders

Almost no one on Liquid Velo raced in as many events as Kem Valliant-Saunders did last season. During the 2017 season Kem took part in 35 events in all major disciplines: road, mountain bike, track and cyclocross. Kem is the consummate competitor–her teammates will tell you that she races by example, and while she’s serious about the effort, she’s always looking to keep things fun and relaxed.

Kem (short for Karine Elizabeth Margeaux) was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada. She attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where she received a BS in biomolecular chemistry. Her mentor at Queen’s encouraged her to attend the University of Washington, where she got a masters degree in chemistry. She’s been in Seattle ever since. Kem has worked in research at the UW, the Benaroya Research Institute, Novo Nordisk, and Fred Hutch. She’s currently a technical sales representative for Macherey-Nagel. Kem joined Liquid Velo in January 2012 and has served on the Liquid Velo Board of Directors for four years: two years as Board Secretary and two years as Treasurer.

  • What got you interested in bike racing?
    I was helping my friend Marc train for IronMan Kona. He knew I grew up swimming competitively and thought I’d be good at triathlons, so I started biking more and enjoyed it a lot and started racing. While I’ve done a handful of triathlons and I’ve never loved them.
  • What does your training week look like in-season?
    Ha ha! I try to follow a training program, but I’m out of town so often with work! It’s actually really important to get a lot of fitness in the two months before the season and then “maintain” throughout. So I aim for 10-15 hours a week, mixing up running and cycling. I also try to do yoga at home twice a week.

I believe that you if you want to do well, you set a goal and train for it physically. After that, your mind is usually your biggest obstacle. Negative thoughts are typically what prevents someone from doing well in races.

  • How many bikes do you own?
    Five total. I sold my Scott road bike in anticipation getting a new Giant in January.
  • Marianne Vos, Chantal Blaak or Sanne Cant?
    Courtenay McFadden, she’s a local CX racer from Bellingham and (a) she’s legit good at what she does and (b) she’s super humble.
  • Chris Froome, Peter Sagan or Wout Van Aert?
    Sven Nys and his “shut up legs” attitude.
  • Seahawks, Huskies or Sounders?
    Sounders, but to be honest I don’t watch many sports or sports on TV.

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