Like it or not,
professional athletes are role models for our children. Sometimes this is a
good thing, and, well, sometimes it’s not. (Ahem, Lance.) Thankfully, inspiration is
a two-way street: Young athletes can teach us what it means to try our hardest,
practice true sportsmanship, and play for all the right reasons.
We’d all do well to take a cue from Connor and Cayden Long, whom Sports Illustrated named Sports Kids of the Year in 2012. The brothers, now nine and seven, have spent the last year and a half competing together in youth triathlons up and down the East Coast. Cool story, but here’s the hitch: Cayden, 7, who has hypertonic cerebral palsy, can’t walk or swim or
ride a bike. His brother, Connor, helps him through the whole course: pulling
him on a raft during the swimming leg, towing him on a bike trailer during the
cycling leg, and pushing him in the trailer during the run.
Christian Vande Velde atop the USAPC podium. Photo: Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda
In a recent press conference at Aspen's Little Nell Hotel, organizers of the USA Pro Challenge announced the host cities and overall race course for the 2013 edition of the tour of Colorado. And though routing specifics are still forthcoming, with a few notable exceptions the third edition of the race looks like a step or two backward from this year's parcours.
Component manufacturer SRAM gathered some of its biggest sponsored riders during the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross earlier this month and proved, once and for all, that cross racers are indeed more fun than roadies. The dancing is terrible, but that's what redeems the video. Wouldn't it be even worse to find out that Chris Jones, Ryan Trebon, Tim Johnson, Todd Wells, and all these other racers can kick you around on the dance floor as readily as they can on the bike? Oh, the humanity!
Let's just hope that SRAM's latest components (think Red 2012, XX1) perform better than its dance crew.
Team 40, with the author at left, kitted out for night racing. Photo: Audrey Brandt.
By Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan
Why run 198 miles in a single weekend?
When it comes to passing on the love of sport to your kids, it’s hard to trump leading by example. So when my Saturday running group started talking about doing the Ragnar Relay Great River Race (GRRR) in Minnesota and Wisconsin in mid-August, before I could shut my mouth, the words, “Sounds like fun! I’ll do it,” were out. Almost immediately, I began second guessing my rash decision. I’d just returned to running after the birth of my fourth son, and I wondered if I’d be up to the challenge of leaving him for a whole weekend, not to mention running 17.5 miles over the course of 36 hours with little to no good sleep and eating so-so food on the fly. (Which, when you think of it, is not much different than parenting a newborn.)
Fat bike slednecking: A sport is born. Photo: Ian Anderson
This photo popped up on my Facebook feed last week. It was taken by Ian Anderson, an outdoor industry public relations professional, accomplished outdoor athlete, and father of two kids (ages two and five). Ian lives in Carbondale, Colorado, with his wife, Sari Anderson, a professional endurance athlete who has won national championship titles in mountain biking and ski mountaineering and a world title in adventure racing. This may explain why their offspring are early adopters at almost every adventure sport known to man, including the one you see here: fat bike slednecking.
"I love to go sledding just about as much as my kids do, so there was really no question about what we were going to do when we woke up to over six inches of snow in Carbondale last Saturday," Ian says. "I got a Surly Pugsley fat bike last winter, and it’s really sure-footed on snowy, icy roads, so I figured we could ride to our local sledding hill—just over a mile away. I hooked up our Chariot Cheetah 2 bike trailer and threw two plastic sleds in the back. Then I remembered that one of the kids had gotten this ridiculous X Games 'snow bike' sled for Christmas a couple years ago and we had never tried it. So I got it down from the attic and tied it to the back of the Chariot."