This is a holiday weekend in the US, celebrating Independence Day. July 4th has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s a day, or a long weekend, featuring parades, fireworks, barbeques, and all manner of events. In Colorado – as elsewhere in the country – active people are flocking to the outdoors to spend a weekend hiking, riding, camping, and more.
July 4 is a celebration of America’s declaration of independence from England, but in a broader sense it’s also come to be a celebration of freedom and opportunity. I consider it to be an inspirational holiday, and even though it may seem like a bit of a stretch from the true sentiment of Independence Day, for some reason I’ve always viewed this holiday as a great chance to recognize inspirational and accomplished athletes.
It’s not hard for me to find either successful or inspirational athletes; I just need to ask the CTS Coaching Staff! For this weekend’s message, I want to recognize some of these athletes, and hopefully their achievements will provide inspiration for you to set a goal and start working toward it. Or, if you’re already working toward a goal, hopefully these athletes will help you reach further and exceed your expectations.
From Coach Tracey Drews
Bill Cloninger is a 64-year-old cyclist who in 2011 rededicated himself to his health after a successful professional career left him overweight and out of shape. He’s since lost 65 pounds and finished in the top 20 at the 2013 National Senior Games. Just a few weeks ago, Bill won the 5k and 10k time trials in a qualifying event and has qualified for the 2015 National Senior Games in Minnesota!
Jan Lewis is a 70-year-old grandmother and cancer survivor who has been working with Tracey since 2009. First she prepared for a 3396-mile ride across the US to celebrate her 66th birthday in 2010, which she successfully completed in 47 days.
As fate would have it, after her triumphant inaugural ride across the US, Jan had a cancerous tumor removed from her breast and opted for 5 weeks of daily radiation in order to minimize the risk of the cancer returning. The following year, 2011, Jan was unable to ride the cross country trip due to the radiation leaving her rather run down, but she was still able to train for and complete a 1590-mile ride along the Eastern Seaboard in 25 days. Hearing the call to return to the cross-country trip, Jan again traversed the US in 2013. For 2014, Jan opted for a slightly different role on the cross-country trip; she would drive the support truck and would ride her bike when she could. Even with additional duties of loading and unloading the van and ensuring the riders were cared for along their trip, she managed to amass 1426 miles of riding. Jan is now “recuperating” with her children and grandchildren until she leaves for Europe for another 14 days of riding in the Pyrenees.
From Coach Adam Pulford
Macky Franklin is a professional enduro racer for the Santa Fe Brewing – Pivot team, and a few weeks ago he won his first Big Mountain Enduro event in Angel Fire, New Mexico. The inspirational part of Macky’s performance is that he crashed hard in his final practice run and sheared off one side of his handlebar. He scrambled down to the expo area, bought the first cheap handlebar he could find, put the front end of his bike back together, and headed back up the mountain. A lot of athletes get shaken by a crash like that, and get nervous about new equipment they’ve never ridden with. But when it was his time to blast out of the starting gate, he didn’t let either the crash or the new and untested handlebar distract him. He went for it, and went home with the big cardboard check!
From Coach Jason Koop
Missy Gosney is an ultra-runner who proved her toughness recently when she won the Bighorn 100 Mile Trail Race in Wyoming. The win wasn’t expected, as on paper Missy wasn’t nearly the fastest female runner in the field. But she won by being the toughest runner out there, and for being tougher than she may have realized she could be. For a long time she’s been on the fence about attempting the Nolan’s 14, a 100-ish mile, 60-hour run over fourteen 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado. No woman has ever finished, and few men have either. The lessons learned at Bighorn, however, have provided the impetus to commit to the Nolan’s attempt, and we’re behind her all the way!
Elsewhere in ultra-running, three CTS Athletes had great runs at the Western States Endurance Run, the oldest and most prestigious 100-mile footrace in the world. Dylan Bowman ran to a phenomenal 3rd place podium finish, and his 15 hour and 36 minute finish time was as fast as 7-time Western States champion and legend Scott Juric’s old course record! Check out an interview with him here. In the women’s field, Kaci Lickteig finished 6th in her first attempt at the Western States! And much later in the day (actually early the next morning), Bob Shannon crossed the finish line in 23:31:45. Beyond finishing (which is a huge accomplishment itself) breaking the 24-hour barrier at Western States is a major milestone. As an amateur with a full-time job, Bob’s commitment during training was phenomenal and his race-day performance was incredible!
From Coach Dean Golich
Cameron Meyer is a ProTour cyclist for the Orica-GreenEDGE pro cycling team. While riding the Giro d’Italia in May he got really sick, and he kept racing a day or more past the point where he should have abandoned. Not long after getting better, the team sent him to the Tour de Suisse. He hadn’t been able to train much and he didn’t have a lot of confidence in his form, but Dean talked him through those doubts and helped him make good decisions about eating, drinking, recovery (all the things Cameron could control). After having a hard day on the bike in Stage 1, Cameron rode himself into the daylong breakaway on Stage 2, eventually winning the stage in a three-man sprint! It was a big win for Cameron and a great confidence booster going into the second half of the season.
I love hearing stories about athletes achieving their goals and overcoming their challenges, and I’m fortunate to be in an environment where I hear these types of stories every week. And the great thing is the stories span all age groups, varied goals (some competitive and many non-competitive), a wide range of sports, with athletes from all over the world. Printing them here isn’t about chest thumping; it’s about the fact that every one of the athletes above overcame something to achieve a valuable goal. No on has a clear and unfettered path to athletic success. We all have challenges we need to rise to and overcome, and today’s as good a day as any to salute everyone out there who is pushing themselves to succeed!
Have a Great Weekend!
CEO/Head Coach of CTS