Without blinking or quickening his pace, he claims to have ridden a bicycle without training wheels when he was 3 years old. Freshman pre-health major Joseph Lupien is planning on cycling for a Canadian national competition this upcoming summer, and again, he didn’t blink while explaining that – apparently blinking isn’t part of his routine.
Lupien has been competing since he was 9 and it’s a tradition that runs in his family.
“My family has been cycling for a long time; I’ve been into since I was super young. I started when I was pretty little, when I was three years old. My brother and sister were racing at this point so I was just kind of following their team – [they] taught me how to ride,” Lupien says.
Lupien has experienced his fair share of success since pursuing the sport.
“I finished second in nationals three years ago. Last year I was on the national center for the biggest race in the world, which is the Abitibi race; it’s a junior race. It was a good race for me, [but] it’s really hard for a first-year junior to do it [because] it’s international,” he says.
Obviously ambition is part of the repertoire. But Lupien doesn’t buzz with any signs of impatience; instead, he sits in the patio chair below the glimmering Phoenix skyline, coolly answering the questions with the distance of a polished athlete that he wants to be.
Lupien, originally from southeastern Canada, grew up in a family of cyclers. He decided to move out to Arizona in August for training purposes, the state’s distinct warm weather being a major factor.
“I just moved here in August for winter training, because it’s full of snow there (Canada) in the winter. If you want to perform in the sport you have to train [constantly] for it,” he says.
Fellow cyclist and ASU freshman Sara Schmidt often rides with Lupien and describes him as being “incredibly talented, fast and very smart on the bike [and] is very much a tactical rider, and it’s a little intimidating.”
While Lupien’s riding style is tough, his personality is a bit freer and less intimidating.
“He is a motivator, he makes sure he does the right thing all the time,” Schmidt says. “His English is funny, and some of the things he says you kind of do a double take because he has absolutely no filter. [Yet] he always tries to help people out when they need it and lives with a no excuses kind of mentality.”
Lupien is preparing for the Canadian Championships June 21 to 24 as well as the Tour de L'Abitibi, a road race competition for the 2.1 Junior Men’s category in Canada from July 16 to 22. Lupien plans to compete in both the time trial and the road race.
“I’m currently in the initial stages of training. I’m still doing volume-based training, but I’m including intervals to get myself ready for the race. My best ride is South Mountain. It’s a good climb, the road is clean, and [there are] not a lot of cars.”
After the competition, Lupien hopes to become professionally sponsored and eventually go on to ride for the Tour de France – no small feat, but at this point nothing that he says is surprising.
But he's struggling to maintain a balance between cycling and his studies.
“Next year if I want to pass pro it’s going to be hard to keep training and studying at the same time, so I’m kind of thinking of taking a year or two off and fully train and concentrate on races to see where this sport will take me,” he says.
These words, spoken with the same unblinking confidence about plans that people would usually lose sleep over; in life, like on the road, he can just ride it off.
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