On Jan. 22, the Competitor Group held their annual Endurance Live Awards in San Diego, Calif. I was there to accept the award for Celebrity Endurance Athlete of the Year. The award was in recognition of the 10 endurance events I completed this summer as part of the 10.10.10 Challenge for the charity First Descents. In the midst of a room full of amazing endurance talent, I could not help but think of home.
Along with the ceremony and accompanying trade show came
a venerable who's who list of the Planet's top endurance athletes. Ironman Champions Chris "Macca" McCormick and Miranda "Rinny" Carfrae were there. Leadville 100 champion Rebecca Rusch and Mountain Bike superstar Ned Overend were in attendance. The list of World Champions, Olympians and legends was humbling. The story they told was inspiring. It was about triumph and in some cases tragedy, overcoming tremendous odds, pushing through perceived limits and maximizing potential. The guts of the athletes and the tales of achievement they told overshadowed the glamour of the gala and reminded me a bit of life back in the Vail Valley. For all of the glitz that Vail provides, we have guts too -- And the champions to prove it.
From triathlon and adventure racing winners like Josiah Middaugh and Mike Kloser to renowned mountaineers and big mountain riders, like Ellen Miller and Chris Anthony to Olympians like Vail's own Lindsey Vonn and Chris Del Bosco, the list of superstars, like their mountain training ground, is vast and impressive. This is the case for good reason. Vail and the Valley sharing its name host a variety of opportunities for the endurance and everyday athlete alike. It is here that I gained inspiration and focus in the endurance world and here that I continue to explore for new and exciting adventures. Few people ever venture beyond the confines of I-70 accessible terrain to discover the plethora of on and off trail excitement and beauty.
San Diego is a beautiful city. The athletes in attendance at the Endurance Live awards gala were truly exceptional. Trista and I enjoyed our trip to West Coast but in the end, we - as always - were happy to come home to our beloved and inspiring home.
For more information or to contact Ryan, visit www.ryansutter.com
-- Ryan Sutter