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.
SMI is proud to sponsor this month's athlete who embodies the spirit of Team Sheeper. SMI is a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to the prevention and treatment of overuse injuries, optimization of human function and enhancement of athletic performance.
April 2005 Athlete of the Month
Joe Lopez has channeled his good attitude and enthusiasm into making himself a competitive and solid triathlete.
Joe is constantly stretching his personal limits and is still far from reaching the ceiling of his athletic and psychological potential. His consistency and frequency of training has lent itself to great strides in his performances. His presence at team trainings and functions has been a welcomed and positive influence on his teammates.
We are all proud of Joe and his accomplishments, and are looking forward to watching him mature as an endurance athlete.
The following are Joe's responses to our questionnaire.
Are you currently employed and/or describe your employment/career?
Why yes I am. I currently work for Oracle as an Account Manager selling tech software i.e. database, application server and development tools to the Rocky Mountain Region of Colorado. Although as of late training for the Ironman Coeur D'Alene has been my primary vocation and my job has become more of a place where I can get some quality rest! Thanks Larry Ellison...
Do you have any specific career aspirations?
I have been in sales for about 10 years now and it has been rewarding both financially and professionally. I could spend the rest of my working life at selling widgets to widget users BUT - ultimately I aspire to work with "at risk youth" or as an interventionist assisting families that have been challenged by alcoholism, and or, drug addiction affecting a loved to make healthy decisions around helping that loved one seek treatment. The pay is a little less than I'm making now so the transition has been slow to come. Triathlon is definitely not a cheap sport!
Do you have a spouse to tell us about?
I have a Wife and her name is Kate. Many of you "Sheeper" folk have had the opportunity to meet her in the flesh and of course most of you know me from countless miles spent on trails, roads and from between swim lanes. With that said, you probably now have a real good idea of what married life to me has been like for her. If your thinking that you have no idea of what I'm talking about or that you have absolutely no idea what it would be like to be married to me, just imagine yourself locked in a room with me and only me, "24/7" for the rest of your LIFE!!!!! Right. Kate is everything an aspiring Ironman triathlete could hope for in a significant other. The poor soul truly had no idea of what it was I was signing "US" up for, during the first year of our marriage no less, when I threw my name into the ring for Coeur D'Alene. To give her some perspective of the magnitude of what is was I had just done to us both by signing up; I made the decision to bring her with me to the Coeur D'Alene Iron Team orientation at Harry's Hof Brau. Boy was that a good idea, she then knew first hand the commitment I made for the both of us over the next 6-8 months of our lives. Since that night she has blossomed into a wonderfully supportive Tri-Wife that often times will pack my bags for me if I hadn't been to a work out in a couple of days, excess energy you know. She usually has dinner planned out for me post work out with a bath and a recovery drink. It seems she is constantly washing piles of pungently odered-lycra work out gear! YUCK!!!! What a true blessing she has been to me, encouraging me at my darkest hours and keeping me in check when I get a bit full of myself. A man couldn't ask for a more supportive spouse. So I dedicate this award to her as well, because with out her support there's just no way I could even make it out the door of my house with gear!
What other hobbies do you have?
You meant to ask, "what other hobbies DID I have" prior to signing up for Ironman Coeur D'Alene, right? I used to enjoy many different hobbies prior to Ironman training taking over my complete existence. I have an affinity for hiking and exploring new parks all over the Peninsula and beyond which has lead to my affiliation with Sempervirens Fund. This Organization was responsible for the creation of Big Basin as California's first State Park in 1903 and is still raising money to buy land adjacent to Big Basin and Castle Rock to set aside for the public trust. I love spending time out of doors riding my jet ski fast and ferociously. I truly enjoy scuba diving in remote exotic locales all over the world. With that said I love to travel; I've been all through the America's, Northern, Central and Southern, Mexico, Hawaii and Canada. I love to stay home and read, watch television and DVD's. I love to play with my two cat's "KittySmurf" and "Wilson". I enjoy laugher and most of all making others laugh. I am truly a world tourist of the worst kind, my inner child is alive in me and I let him out to play frequently.
How did you become involved with Team Sheeper?
I got involved in triathlon on a bet, which I won. I had a friend who always wanted to do a triathlon but never had any "suckers", I mean friends that would do one with her. So she not so randomly selected me to challenge to her first race and not knowing any better I, of course took the bet. I never even saw the train coming. We both signed up for the beautiful Uvas triathlon. I borrowed a bike from a friend, started to swim in my apartment complex's 25-meter pool (actually had lane lines) and started to run (very slowly of course). After 3 months of working out, suffering and wondering just what I had gotten myself into this time, the day came to do the race. At the end of the race I had almost drown on the swim, thought that I would truly die on the 16 mile bike ride (who knew 16 miles could be so long) and the run, well the run was just hell on earth. So of course I was hooked immediately. I started doing these events on my own, trained on my own, drove to the races on my own and then went home on my own. What I began to notice more and more over the next year was these tri teams that seemed to be together every step of the way. They would congregate together before the race, support each other during the race and of course celebrate after the race. I made a mental note to research one of these teams and then soon after made the decision to join Team Sheerer and have never regretted it once, "Oh wait", there was the time I was coerced into doing my first Half-Ironman at Wildflower in 100-degree heat, and the other time I regretted it when I was "talked into doing a marathon" against my better judgment and lets not forget "THIS TIME" when somebody said it would be a god idea if I did an Ironman! Hah whatever.
What is your athletic background?
Hmmmm, ummmm athletic background. Let me see, no that wouldn't count. I guess it would have to be the time a spent in the Army. This was truly the only formalized athletics I had ever been involved in, so now you understand my propensity to pain.
What is it you like most about triathlons?
Finishing them mostly, the training leading up to them and of course most of all, no that's about it.
What races are you planning for the remainder of this year, or the future, that you are gearing up for?
I truly have faith that the Ironman Coeur D'Alene will be my last race ever, until of course I get peer pressured into signing up for something else. Such is my lot in this life...
What are your Triathlon, or personal goals or aspirations?
To win each and every food related wager made in the pursuit of triathlon! Are there any takers on placing a wager for Coeur D'Alene - Tim?
What is your favorite Team Sheerer workout or memorable moment?
It was a more recent work out that has had the most significant impact on me as a person, as an athlete and of course as an active member of Team Sheerer. It was the flat ride we did aptly named "The Big Loop Through the South Bay". The 108-mile bike ride started out wonderfully, I was surround by the "Whose who" of group 2 and 3 as we made our way out along Foothill then through Saratoga along Highway 9 to Los Gatos ultimately through the Calero Lake region of the South Bay. The weather was perfect for our ride as we climbed and descended the complicated pre-arranged route and the pace was rolling and challenging. As we made our way along the course and down into the lakes region beyond Los Gatos, I was In front of the group and was suddenly inspired to pull out further and to challenge myself. As we entered the turn off into Calero by Cinnabar Hills Golf Course, I dropped into my tri-bars and started to hammer down the winding road, slowly pulling away further from my group.
I was out on my own and had put a mile or so on the group when we were almost to the "Oak Glen" turnoff at our entrance to the Uvas bike course when the group almost caught me on the hill. I was intent on pushing myself harder on this long flat ride, so I hastened my climb and crested the hill alone dropped into my bars and flew down onto the Uvas bike course and then started to accelerate rapidly around this 16-mile loop. I was focusing on my lines through the many turns and was keeping my head down and my stroke quiet. I was making really good time around the lake knowing the group was not to far back. I started to look around a bit to get my bearings and recognized the exact portion of the course I was on. I became aware of the easy breathing of my lungs and the quiet rotation of my drive chain as they both pulled me up and over the gentle rolling bucolic hillsides of the scenic landscape. I looked up over Uvas Lake to where I remember the swim course being held and then I realized I was alone in this place at that moment. No other bikers were visible to me. The past began to flood into my conscience mind and upon reflection I became profoundly aware of how much I had grown as a person, as an athlete and as a teammate since the rubber of my tires first touched down on this particular road. I became aware of how much in my life had actually changed during the 4 years since I ran my very first triathlon here at Uvas. I'm now a married man and I own my own home and have a great life with amazing friends. I am an athlete and a significant contributor to a team that I'm proud to be associated with. I am healthier and faster that I've ever been or that I should have any reasonable expectation to be at this stage of my life. I was suddenly filled with an amazing sense of pride and accomplishment as I played the tapes back through my mind of those early years up to where I am now.
I finished the loop still about 3 minutes ahead of my group, but worlds away in my own mind. As suddenly as the trip down memory lane started, it ended with my group flying by me at Mach 1 hollering "Hey Joe" and me being stuck at the bottom of a hill struggling to catch up with them. I still make rookie mistakes it seems. We began to ride back to where we had started 6 hours earlier, back to the beginning. And at that moment I knew that I had been blessed with so much in this world. Throughout my experience that day gratitude was the one constant. I made the not so subtle connection that triathlon had played a part of almost all of it. I owe much to this sport, the sport that often times torments me, but most of the time challenges me and then rewards me beyond my wildest dreams. The pride and accomplishment I receive graciously just by "Suiting up" and Showing up" has made all the difference for me over the last several years, it part of who I am and what I do. What else am I going to do on a Saturday but go out and ride hard with my teammates? I am a triathlete not because I have done triathlons, but because I have adopted the lifestyle that comes with this magnificent sport and I have not looked back.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
I'm really quite shy and unassuming - Really!
Well Joe, we're not so sure about that last statement, but clearly your fellow athletes love your positive and boundless energy. We wish you luck at the CDA!