Player's Own Voice

Player's Own Voice podcast: Michael Woods on how to make peace with pain

The Player's Own Voice podcast cycles into the world of pain that Canadian racer Michael Woods embraces on the world tour.

Canadian cyclist has had a stellar year and his eyes are fixed on Tokyo 2020

Third-place winner Michael Woods from Canada gives a thumbs up after the men's road race at the Road Cycling World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria on Sept.30, 2018. Two weeks earlier, he had a breakthrough stage win at the Vuelta a Espana. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Kerstin Joensson (The Associated Press)

There are contradictions in most athlete's careers, but Canadian professional bike racer Michael Woods embodies a doozy. In the last year, he has posted career highlight results in the world's biggest races, even as he was battling injury and personal tragedy at home.

Grand Tour racing is famously a sport whose athletes embrace suffering, but even so, Woods has found a way to harness setbacks and managed to train and race even harder through them.

He gained the respect of thousands of racing fans, along with a lot of sympathetic winces with his performance at this year's Tour de France.

He tells Anastasia Bucsis, host of the Player's Own Voice Podcast, that he picked up some of his mental techniques from Wayne Gretzky. He describes literal out of body experiences that he has had while winning some of the most gruelling mountain races in the world. Certainly a lot of years of punishing practice in the saddle and on the running track went into the mix as well.

Those early years as a super-elite track runner set Woods apart in other ways. For most of the peloton, winning a Tour de France is the dream, but as an early career runner it's Olympic glory that that fuels the fire for Michael Woods. Barring disaster- he has already marked a big X on his calendar for Tokyo in 2020.

Player's Own Voice podcast host Anastasia Bucsis gets an intimate look inside the world of professional bike racing with Ottawa racer Michael Woods. 

Like the CBC Sports' Player's Own Voice essay series, POV podcast lets athletes speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective. To listen to Michael Woods and earlier guests this season, subscribe for free on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or wherever you get your other podcasts.