Shonny Vanlandingham is fast on her bike, but she knows she can’t outrace time.
At age 44, she’s had to make some concessions to remain one of the world’s best off-road triathletes.
She trains smarter, not longer, and pays more attention to stretching, recovery and building strength. And she knows that even though she’s incredibly fit, she’s going to have some bad days with the good. It just happens.
But on any given day, she can beat all comers.
“I often use Toby Keith’s song for motivation,” she says, laughing. “He says, ‘I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.’ I really believe that to be true.”
Her hope now is that she can be good enough Saturday to win the Xterra USA Championship triathlon near Ogden, Utah.
Though Vanlandingham’s list of career achievements is long — a victory at the Xterra World Championship in 2010, four U.S. season points titles and two victories on the circuit this year — she’s never won the U.S. championship race, finishing second and third on the championship course that ends at the Snowbasin Resort.
“I’ve gotten real close,” says Vanlandingham. “I placed second there one year, and that was the year I probably should have won because I had a flat.
“But that’s the way it goes with mountain biking. But yes, this is a course that has eluded me. I would love to knock off a win there before I retire.”
Read more: Espn.go.com