Gettin’ tough for Teva
Vail, CO Colorado
For many local residents, when someone says “Teva,” they’re not talking about shoes. The annual Summer Teva Mountain Games start this weekend. As the town gets ready for four days of climbing, kayaking, running, biking and more, local residents participating in the games are gearing up for grunting, sweating, huffing, puffing and, hopefully, blowing the rest of the competition down. How did these top competitors go from little pigs to big bad wolves? With a leg up from local coaches and gyms.
Some of us enter contests with the hope of winning a lifetime supply of free ice cream. Well, maybe just a free ice cream cone. But Teva athletes actually sign up for a free chance to sweat through a tough workout three times per week. This spring, Manic Training in Edwards gave a few local hopefuls a free membership to help them train for the Teva Games. Contest winner and mountain biker Ben Schrader was surprised at how much the Manic training style has improved both his body and his brain.
“I think I’m mentally tougher now because of it,” Schrader said. “It helps me be more explosive; I feel like I can dig deeper now, there’s no firing out of gas.”
Schrader, 32, will compete in the cross-country bike race. Fellow contest winner Andi Malboeuf also will be competing in the mountain-bike races. A 38-year-old mother of two, Manic Training got Malboeuf fit enough to ride competitively.
“The first week, I was so sore I couldn’t even move,” Malboeuf said. “By the third week, I started noticing that I’m getting stronger and fitter. Since I’ve started biking more, I feel I have more power and stamina going uphill.”
But Manic Training doesn’t just train athletes to put more pedal to the metal on their mountain bikes. Both Schrader and Malboeuf said what they like about the Manic Training style is the variety and how it works many different parts of one’s body at the same time. And at Manic, friends don’t let friends sweat and endure the pain alone.
“I could never match the intensity of a Manic workout on my own,” Schrader said. “I like that there are other people around that are suffering through this workout, as well; we can all suffer together.”
Malboeuf plans to continue attending Manic Training sessions after the Teva Games.
“It’s turned into something more for me,” Malboeuf said. “The overall fitness – it’s given my body a lot more strength than I would ever (have) normally.”
Maybe some of us evolved from monkeys, but you wouldn’t know that by watching the average person try to scale a rock-climbing wall. High school students Annika Heid and Erik Warmenhoven make scrambling to the top look easy. It might be because Larry Moore, their coach at the Vail Athletic Club, encourages them to push their own limits.
“He’s very motivating,” Battle Mountain High School freshman Heid said. “He pretty much leaves it up to you. If you don’t want to try hard, he’s not going to force you to. … He makes it so that we have to choose how far we want to go in the sport.”
Heid has been training with Moore for four years and placed first in the youth division at the Teva Games last year. Vail Mountain High School senior Warmenhoven has been training with Moore for seven years and has placed second in previous Teva climbing competitions. Warmenhoven said Moore was the person who initially got him interested in the sport.
“When I started, Larry saw something in me that, at that point, wasn’t the talent I have now,” Warmenhoven said. “I’ve definitely grown.”
While both Heid and Warmenhoven would be happy to win first place in their divisions this year, it’s their true passion for the sport that keeps them continuing to climb greater, and higher, heights.
“When you’re on the wall, nothing else matters,” Warmenhoven said. “It’s just you and the wall and trying to figure out your way to the top of the climb. I get a really big sense of fulfillment through that.”
Prior to this year, Tanya Walker trained for the Teva Games solo or with her husband, a fellow athletic enthusiast. But the desire to try a few triathlons this summer prompted Walker, 38, to enlist the help of a professional. Since January, Walker and her husband have been training with Josiah Middaugh at Dogma Athletica. Tanya plans to compete in the trail run, and her husband will compete in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge, which is a combination of kayaking, biking and running. The opposite of a gym rat, Walker likes that Middaugh will change the workout to accommodate her, while still generating results.
“He is very understanding, and he’s able to adapt to different athletes’ needs and goals,” Walker said. “Since training under Josiah, I’ve definitely seen fitness returns and gains.”
Walker has cut two minutes off her time-trial record from last year. She also said her running form is now much more effective. Like many local residents competing in the Teva Games, Walker is more looking forward to being among world-class athletes than being the first across the finish line. Families cheer from the crowd but so do friends competing in the same event.
“The Teva Games is a mecca for all kinds of outdoor mountain sports,” Walker said. “The energy that’s generated by the Teva Games is really contagious. … Everyone’s really supportive of one another.”
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