Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My athletic background, part 2

So, as a swimmer for most of my youth, that's really all I was known for by most people. However, I had two other big interests in my life as well. The first was sailing.

My dad got me into sailing in 1987 when he would stay up late and watch Dennis Conner win back The America's Cup in Australia. Not only was it incredible to see such great yacht racing on TV in the big winds off Fremantle, but it was a great bonding time for my father and me. Sailing, and more specifically, sailboat racing, became "our thing". We had a house in southern New Mexico at Elephant Butte Lake. We always had a ski boat or jet skis and access to different sailboats. I started crewing for boat owners when I was 12 or so. If I wasn't swimming, I was at the lake trying to bum a ride for the local races.

When I went to college, I started crewing with owners who were more serious about traveling to bigger regattas. One of the reasons for not swimming at the collegiate level was because I really wanted to sail. So, while serving a mission for the LDS church in Chile, I decided when I returned I was going to make sailboat racing a much bigger part of my life.

I moved to San Diego in 1999 after landing a great job, dream jib really, as a sail maker for North Sails, the biggest and most successful sail manufacturer in the world. There I was, in the thick of the sailing world surrounded by sailing legends. It was at North that I started making connections and sailing on some of the fastest and biggest boats on the West Coast. I was making sails for grand prix yachts that I had only been able to read about in the desert of New Mexico. I was able to quickly mark many "to do's" off my list. I raced all over...Key West, San Francisco, Ensenada, Newport and even raced in the Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Hawaii. I also got to participate in the America's Cup as a sailmaker for the American teams in 2000 and in the Volvo Ocean Race making sails for the eventual winner in 2001. I also briefly revived the San Diego State Sailing Team and raced on the West Coast collegiate circuit. So my dreams of competing in college came to be, only sailing on the water rather than swimming through it.

Having checked off many of my to do's in life, it became time to move on. I was sailing 5 days a week sometimes and got married and wanted to be around more. So in 2005 my wife and I moved to Utah to settle down, so to speak. I continued to race boats at Bear Lake and the Great Salt Lake, but the racing wasn't quite what I was used to. I'm a competitive person and need something to get those juices flowing again.

That's when I got back on my bicycle. I'll share that story in part 3.

1 comment:

  1. Dude that is awesome. I am impressed!! You are the only New Mexican I know with sailing experience! COOL! Looking forward to the bike!