Balanced Beings

Carl Swenson//33//Nordic Skier and Mountain Biker
When last September's Mountain Biking World Championships ended in Lugano, Switzerland, five-time U.S. national-team member Swenson put his Tomac bike in storage, broke out his Fischer cross-country skis, and joined his teammates on the U.S. national nordic squad for the winter. His results speak to the effectiveness of split-personality endeavors. At the 2003 World Cross Country Ski Championships, he placed fifth, the third-best result in U.S. men's history.

"My cycling teammates always say, 'I can't believe you're gonna race skis all winter,' " he says. "But it's actually an advantage. I get really motivated by the dramatic improvements in strength I see when I get on the skis or bike after having been off them for a long time. If you're just doing the same sport the whole year, it can feel like you're never going to get any better at it."

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