Berman gets his legs pumping |

Berman gets his legs pumping

Tao Berman SM 6-1-07

VAIL ” By Monday, Tao Berman may not be able to fit in his pants anymore.

Berman, the world-class kayaker, is getting to use a half of his body he’s long neglected in the GNC Ultimate Mountain Challenge this weekend.

Earlier this year, Berman decided that in addition to all the kayaking events he competes in at the Teva Games, he would add a trail run and two biking events.

“My goal is to raise money for prostate cancer, so when GNC came to me and asked me if I wanted to do it, I thought, ‘I always like to push myself, and it’s for a great cause,'” Berman said. “But I’ve never trained my legs in my life. I’ve been upper body for 14 years. So for the last two months, I’ve been training.”

Berman undertook a heavy training regiment that included running stairs, riding his bike, paddling and his hundreds of pullups. Then there was the dreaded running.

“The last two weeks, I’ve worked trail running in,” Berman said. “I’ve never really ran before.”

Or rode a mountain bike.

“I got on my mountain bike (Monday),” Berman said. “So that was the third time that I’ve got on my mountain bike before the race. But Giant sent me a sick bike, and they also sent me a road bike. I’m hoping that I’ll have a slight advantage with a really good bike will make up for my deficiencies in my technique and everything else.”

Aside from when he’s in the water, Berman isn’t holding himself to his usually high standards.

“I like to push myself in more ways than I’m traditionally used to,” he said. “When I get into my kayak, my goal is to win and anything else is a disappointment. In this event, my goal is to raise awareness and funding for prostate cancer and to have a good time in the race.”

Berman did offer a prediction as to his finish, saying, “I’m confident I’ll have the fastest time in the overall for the guy that has the least amount of skills.

“I’m not saying I’m going to win, but nobody is who more of a hack than me will do


To read some of Berman’s training blog or donate to him and other participants, check out

Check the Sunday and Monday editions of the Vail Daily to follow Berman’s journey.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

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