Sara and Scott Kylander-Johnson, the dynamic duo from Duluth, Minnesota, are members of KÜHL‘s Pro/Elite Cycling Team. They’ve been married for 17 years and love sharing their passion for cycling, skiing, and the great outdoors with their 7 year old daughter, Kiera.
Sara works as a Physical Therapist in an Outpatient Orthopedic Clinic. Scott teaches Middle School and coaches the Nordic North Stars, a club focused on sharing the magic of Nordic skiing and mountain biking with children ages 6-12.
What makes you a KÜHL Kid? How do you live the Mountain Culture?
Sara: I love being outdoors and soaking in the sun. Duluth is as close to living in the mountains as one can get in the Midwest (without the altitude).
I started MTB racing 13 years ago and love the simplicity of riding in the summer and challenge of riding in winter. We ride bikes all winter long outdoors, even before Fat Bikes were on the scene. I love having the perspective of an “old timer,” having learned to mountain bike on old school single track, before the invention of flow trails. In the winter, I strength train, run, fat bike ride, XC ski, and DH ski. I love skiing, biking, and being outside with our daughter, Scott and our friends.
I also love to garden in the summer, especially when the sun is out. Our front yard is a raspberry patch. The best channel is the “chicken channel” out our dining room window (5 laying hens pecking away).
Scott: The first thing I think about each day when I crawl out of bed is how I’m going to carve out some time to get outside. I cannot go more than a few days without getting out in the woods on bike, foot or ski. There are spectacular adventures minutes outside my door, thanks to endless dirt roads, 35K of Nordic trails and more than 100 miles of single track.
What’s your most memorable adventure?
Sara: Riding in Moab almost every spring with Scott. Before the trails were well signed or made into roads we had many epic rides with the maps and guides stuffed in our pockets. The riding, warm weather (compared to MN in April), camping, swimming, and being together as a family make Moab our favorite vacation of the year.
My other favorite is XC skiing the 25K “picnic loop” every winter up the Sawbill Trail Britten Peak Trailhead on the North Shore.
Scott: Getting throttled by my wife either Nordic skiing or mountain biking. I’m man enough to admit this happens a number of times each year, and it usually takes place when the activity goes beyond the four hour mark. She throws down when we classic ski the Picnic Loop up the north shore in Minnesota and when we embark to do the Whole Enchilada, starting from Canyonland Campground in Moab, UT.
Who inspires you?
Sara: My daughter, Kiera and my husband, Scott. Kiera is full of love, good humor, energy, and curiosity. It is fun to see life through her eyes. I’m constantly challenged by her. Scott is the most amazing person I know. He is very generous, kind, considerate and lives his values.
Scott: My wife and daughter inspire me. My wife works harder than anyone I’ve ever met and takes nothing for granted. Having a seven year-old has taught me to doing everything I can to make the world a better place.
What’s your worst habit?
Scott: My worst habit is probably napping and drinking coffee. Sara might argue that it’s speeding or purchasing bicycles, however.
What’s your favorite food and drink after an adventure?
Sara: Homebrew Kombucha and pizza.
Scott: A Cajun Finn sandwich from Northern Waters Smokehaus in Duluth and a homemade kombucha from our kitchen.
What’s the best way to end a first date?
Sara: My last first date was 18 years ago with Scott. We XC skied – and he kept up! He told me years after we were married that, as a new XC skier, he was killing himself to keep up with me. I was psyched because he was the first guy in ages that didn’t talk about himself the whole time and could hold an intelligible conversation. We were married 7 months later.
What law(s) have you broken that resulted in a good story? What’s the story?
Sara: Running naked in the woods. Our college ski team would sometimes break into separate male and female groups and then stash our clothing. It often turned into a competition to see which group could run the longest. Such freedom!
Scott: I’ve racked up about eight speeding tickets over the years. Six out of eight have been on my way to a race or heading home from an event. Furthermore, I NEVER have gotten a warning until four years ago, commuting home on my cross bike. It was dusk, 20 degrees, and I was heading down the longest and steepest road on my journey home. Unfortunately, this particular road is interrupted by three stoplights in a mile stretch. Since I was running late due to a Nordic skiing parent meeting, I decided to roll the dice and run the last light since I was doing 30 – 35 mph, and I couldn’t see a headlight. Needless to say, a MN State Trooper was in the vicinity and somehow spotted me and proceeded to run me down, light flashing, siren blaring. I got lectured for not having my lights on and for running the light, of course. Thankfully he was in a t-shirt so I took my sweet time digging out my license, so he insisted I give him my name instead. He returned moments later with a warning in hand and wished me a safe ride home. First warning ever and it took a bike to earn it!
What’s your favorite thing about KÜHL?
Sara: Great high quality clothing that looks new even after years of wear. Everyone we’ve talked to and had contact with at KÜHL has been really kind and helpful. KÜHL actively supports MTB and provides generous team support, which is very much appreciated.
Scott: Each piece of clothing I’ve purchased fits like a glove and is durable. In addition, I can play in it and wear it to work.
What’s your favorite piece of KÜHL clothing? How do you use it?
Sara: My favorite pants are the MØVA Shuffl and MØVA Pant. I can wear them to work, at social events, and can run in them as well. Very versatile and comfortable – a staple in many colors!
My other favorite is the Spyfire Hooded Vest. It’s unbelievably warm. I can wear indoors in a cold home or DH skiing and be sooo comfortable, even in bitter MN temps. I get compliments all the time.
Scott: I love my Parachute Jacket. I wear it anytime it’s raining or threatening rain/sleet. I take it with me on every winter ride, and I use it often on my spring training rides since they are usually cold and wet.