Local connections to Beijing Olympics

Todd Wells, who hails from Durango CO, has qualified for his second Olympics. Wells, a professional mountain bike and cyclocross racer, was a member of the 2004 USA Olympic team and competed in Athens in 2004, placing 19th in the men’s cross country mountain bike race.

Wells is also a two-time winner of the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championship. Cyclocross is a form of bicycle racing consisting of many laps of a short course featuring various obstacles. Sounds a little like steeple chasing doesn’t it, except for the bike..., the pavement..., the wooded trails..., the grass... and the steep hills.

Anyway, Wells’ Monticello connection is a love for the Hideout Golf Course and his victory about 10 years ago in the annual Blue Mountain Bike Chase. Longtime Monticello Recreation director Eddie Allred said Wells was brand new at the sport and the Blue Mountain Bike Chase was one of his first races. Go to http://www.velonews.com/article/78960 for an interview with Wells about his Olympic adventures.

Steeplechase connection

Have you ever chatted with an Olympic athlete? Over the next few weeks, we will get that chance at the San Juan Record. US Olympian Lindsay Anderson has agreed to visit with us during her preparations for the Olympics, and if the right connections can be made, during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

Lindsay, who’s connection to Monticello comes through the “Myson” family and their annual summer pilgrimage to Monticello, qualified to run in the women’s 3000 meter steeple chase. If anyone out there has questions for the Olympian, send them to sjrnews@frontiernet.net .

Here is the first installment of the Lindsay Chronicles of Olympia.

1. Tell us about you and your family.

I’ll start with my husband Mark. We both went to Morgan High School and met during track season my freshman year and his senior year. We became friends but it wasn’t until after he got home from serving a mission to Australia that we started dating. We were married on June 26, 2004 in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. I actually came to Blue Mountain with his family for the first time the summer before we were married.

I finished my collegiate eligibility in 2007 and then graduated with a BS from Weber State with a degree in Secondary Education. Mark has been working full time and going to school either part or full time since we’ve been married.

I owe so much of my success to him because he’s been so supportive and has sacrificed for me to train and continue running at an elite level.

2. When did you begin running?

I began running in high school, although in middle school we ran a mile every Friday. It became a competition between me and the boys to see who would run faster. After the first time, I would get up a couple of times a week and run a mile in the mornings before school because I wanted to beat all the boys! It wasn’t until high school that I really started to run during the outdoor track season.

3. How did you get to become a steeplechaser?

Weber State is known for producing great steeplechasers. During my freshman year, we started working on hurdle drills and technique and by the time the outdoor track season started, I ran my first steeplechase and I was hooked!

4. What about the race you won in Monticello two years ago on Pioneer Day?

We decided to run it after my brother-in-law mentioned it to us. My husband and I were running it together, but about 1/4 mile into it, he told me I could go and chase down the leaders. He knows how competitive I am! It was a really fun race!

5. What are your thoughts about Monticello?

I love it! Camping at Blue Mountain is definitely one of the highlights of the year for our family. We’re sad we won’t make it this year, but we definitely plan on being there next year!

6. You and your husband both ran in high school. What were your accomplishments?

I took state four times in high school, three times in track and once in cross country. I was also a multiple region champion. Mark also was a state champion. When he was a senior and I was a freshman, he took state in the 800m and I took state in the 1600m. We were the only state champions from Morgan High that year, which is kind of ironic!

7. I would imagine his support is critical for such an undertaking. Tell us about him.

Mark is phenomenal and incredibly supportive. I can count the number of races he missed on one hand from the beginning of my collegiate career until now! He put more than 25,000 miles on our cars during my collegiate career alone! He’s my biggest fan and is absolutely amazing to me. I can’t imagine a better person I’d want to share these experiences with.

Before my races I think he gets more nervous than I do and is just as excited, if not more, for my successes than I am!! I love him so much and truly appreciate all that he does for me.

8. How do you mix running, family life and school?

Luckily I’m finished with college now. It’s nice to be done because it was very difficult to mix training, family, and school. It’s less stressful since I finished, but it definitely takes prioritizing and making sure I give the appropriate amount of time to each aspect of my life.

9. Can you believe you really are an Olympian!!?

It still is kind of surreal to me! I’ll be doing something like washing the dishes, or cleaning, or driving down the street and it’ll suddenly hit me and it’ll just make me start smiling all over again!

It’s so much fun and so exciting to know that I’ll forever have the title of Olympian! It’s an unbelievable feeling!

10. What kinds of preparations are you making for going to China, being in China and racing in china?

Right now we’re just focusing on my training and getting about three good weeks of solid training in before I head over there.

Once there, I’ll spend a week in the training camp in Dalian before heading to Beijing for the games. I’m basically just going through my usual routines with workouts and everything, staying focused and getting ready to advance through the trials to the finals then see what I can do from there!

11. Are any family members going with you to China?

Yes, Mark, my mother-in-law Barbara, my parents Scott and Sherilee, and my twin sister Angela. I’ll have a nice little group going over! They’ll fly in a couple of days before the trials on August 15 and then fly home after the finals on August 17.

12. Where will you stay?

I’ll stay in the training camp in Dalian (about an hour flight from Beijing) from July 30 to August 8, then I’ll stay in the Olympic Village until I fly home on August 20.

13. What are your thoughts about going to China?

I’m really excited! There are definitely a lot of issues with pollution and political issues, but I can’t wait to be a part of this opportunity!

14. What are your goals?

Right now I’m focusing on making the finals. Once I do that, I’ll focus on placing as high as I can.

15. You ran in the world championship last year in Belgium and Osaka, which is why you weren’t in Monticello. What did you learn?

They were my first international events. I definitely learned a lot and will be a little more prepared for the Olympics.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday