Athlete of the Month
The Team Sheeper Athlete of the Month award is handed out to a member of the team on a monthly basis, 7 or 8 times a year. The AOM is someone who made a notable contribution to the team or did something remarkable. Selection is made by nomination and voting by the membership.
You can nominate anyone and the nomination period is usually during the first week or two of the month. Look for notification that nominations are being sought. When nomination close, the voting starts and once all the votes are tallied, the new AOM is crowned.
Besides bragging rights for a month, our AOM gets some goodies from our gracious sponsors, such as free shoes from TRH, a massage from SMI, gift certificates from GoRide.
Steelman Cycles is proud to sponsor this month's athlete who embodies the spirit of Team Sheeper. For over 22 years Brent Steelman has earned a reputation for successfully outfitting cycling enthusiasts worldwide including many of Team Sheeper's athletes.
May 2005 Athlete of the Month
Congratulations go to Joan Ellison, Athlete of the Month for May. Joan receives a $75 gift certificate from Steelman Cycles. This is what Tim had to say about Joan...
"Joan Ellison has been a strong, active long time member of the team. She has contributed to the team in many ways over the years including race directing the summer run series in 2003. She has participated in just about every tour, event, race or other absurdity the team has encountered."
"Joan approaches, handles and conquers each challenge with humor mixed with style and rolled up with some grace."
"She treats her teammates with courtesy, and respect as she hands most of us our behinds on the race course."
The following are Joan's responses to our questionnaire.
What is your current career/work focus?
I am currently taking coursework in finance and studying for the CFP exam. This comes in handy for my involvement in work I do for my family and part of my future plans.
Do you have a significant other and/or family to tell us about?
One well known and seldom discussed service of Team Sheeper is its great success as a match-making service. Julian and I met on Team Sheeper, got engaged on Mt. Tam during a 4 day bike tour and have been together almost 3 years. I also have a wonderful family - my mom, two brothers & two sisters-in-law and a sister and 3 nieces and 2 nephews and 3 nephews-in-law.
What other hobbies do you have?
Besides studying, most recently, I've been doing a lot of gardening. I love working in the yard and actually landscaped an entire half-acre backyard once. Other than that I would say that cycling vacations with Julian. Is playing poker a hobby?
How did you become involved with Team Sheeper?
I believe this is my 4th year on the team. I found Team Sheeper from a web search when I first moved to this area. I had participated in a few triathlons and was looking for a group to train with, hang out with at races and make new friends.
What is your athletic background?
I did the typical stuff that was accessible to girls when I was growing up in Southern California. I played soccer in the winter and softball in the summer. We thought going to the beach was athletic. I started riding horses in my late twenties. I competed in dressage with my horses and did some jumping.
I've always loved to run and have been running for fitness and my dogs' fitness most of my life (even before real running shoes). I got my first pair of real running shoes for Christmas when I was 22 (1983). I think they were Sauconys. In 2000 I ran in my first marathon and in 2001 my first Ironman in Florida.
What is it you like most about triathlons?
The camaraderie of training with friends for future events. And it gives me an excuse to ride a lot.
What races are you planning for the remainder of this year, or the future, that you are gearing up for?
I haven't signed up for anything after the Ironman. Julian and I like to travel in the summer and visit family and friends so I don't make a lot of racing plans. I think I'll do the Nike San Francisco Half Marathon or Marathon since they give Tiffany necklaces as medals for all finishers. I also want to do a couple Olympic distance races before the end of the year.
What are your Triathlon, or personal goals or aspirations?
Having fun, staying healthy and improving my skills.
What is your favorite Team Sheeper workout or memorable moment?
There are many and they all seem to involve some type of pain - Big Sur ride in "the year of the storm" is one memorable day with all of us (there were a lot of us) dripping wet and freezing cold on the top of Skyline Blvd. Before we left on the ride, Tim took us into his office and showed us the weather radar on his laptop. I am not sure if he was trying to talk us out of it or just informing us that a huge storm was coming right at us. Anyway, we happily headed off and it didn't start raining until the top of highway 9. Ed Owen, carrying a large backpack/camelback, got hypothermia on the top of Skyline and was unable to stay on his bike. The group stopped at a grocery store to dry off and the employees had to keep mopping up around us. There was one time I thought Tim was going to call the ride off but then we decided to get to the lunch spot in Aptos and figure out what to do from there. I stuffed newspapers in my riding pants and riding shirt to break the cold wind. At the lunch spot there was a fake clearing with maybe a bit of sun so we decided to keep going. But the rain and wind came back and we could barely hang onto our bikes. At one point my face was completely covered with cow manure from drafting on a wet road in farm country. Poor David Perry - towards the end of the ride I must have asked him every 2 minutes if that was the Bixby Bridge in front of us. Then we had a great BBQ at the geodesic dome house. The next day was clear with bright sunshine. After an adventure like that you feel like you can ride in anything.
Another one was last year on our four day bike tour down the coast from Eureka to San Francisco in preparation for last year's Ironman. The group was David, Jessica, Julian, Eric, Mark and Laura. On the second day, we did the "Tour of the Unknown Coast" which Mike Pigg had recommended to Julian. At approximately mile 60 of the ride there was "The Wall" with some type of crazy grade (18%) and we were all dreading it but it was only probably 1 mile long so no big deal. After reading the map and the ride reports, we thought we would finish "the Wall" and have easy riding the rest of the way. The map didn't show any more triple arrows. Little did we know that "the wall" continued and every corner you turned there was another climb looming in front of you. This went on for probably another 30 miles. I was wondering if we would make it back before sunset and if anyone even knew that we were out there to send a search party. That is when I started singing the Gilligan's Island song. "Oh sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip .....". About 130 miles later we made it back to the hotel. We christened Eric as Gilligan, David - the captain, Julian and I as Mr. and Mrs. Howell (clueless), Jessica as Maryann (the smart one), Laura was Ginger and Mark, the professor.
There is a very funny story involving Julian on the third day - you'll have to ask me about it.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
The best part of the Team is forming friendships with such a wide variety of amazing people who lead such interesting lives and accomplish so much. It keeps you motivated and excited about trying new adventures yourself.