Teachers by day, athletes by...well, also by day. Just earlier and later in the day. And parenthood somewhere in there, too.
Two TAS teachers - Lee Trumpore and Todd Ferguson - have recently trained, competed, and placed in several athletic competitions around Taiwan.
On January 10, Trumpore placed 4th at the annual 3 Peaks cycling race around Taipei and Yangmingshan Mountain, which entailed 46 miles of distance and over 7500ft of climbing. Three other TAS teachers - Robert Espinal, Justin Prophet, and Jude Clapper - also completed the race alongside him. Prophet finished in tenth place, Clapper finished in 53rd place, and Espinal finished in 76th place, all out of more than 750 finishers. The achievement is made even more incredible because it had snowed in Yangmingshan the week previously. "It was not warm," said Trumpore with a laugh. His result came right after he placed 3rd in the elite division section of the Kudos Race, a points-race format event of similar distance and elevation which also took place in Yangmingshan. Both of these events came on the heels of competing in the infamous Taiwan KOM Challenge that climbs over 11,000 feet from Hualien, through Taroko Gorge, and up to Wuling Pass.
Trumpore had only recently returned to the sport of road cycling after years of considering himself a mountain biker. Before participating in the Taiwan King of the Mountain Challenge in October of this year, Trumpore says that he had "never ridden that far or climbed that much."
"Before August I didn't even ride road bikes much, just for fun. But my wife convinced me to give it a go. She said I would regret it if I didn't," said Trumpore. "I think she knows me well enough to see that I needed a goal. I can be quite single-minded with tunnel vision for things, and I tend to do better when I have something like that to focus on, otherwise, I can get kind of lazy. For a first effort, it went well, all things considered, especially since I've never ridden that far, didn’t know the road, and wasn’t quite sure how to pace the effort."
Ferguson has been similarly successful, albeit in a different sport: long-distance running. On January 9, Ferguson received second place at the 2021 Taipei Yangmingshan Ultra-Marathon, with a time of 1:35:33 for a mountainous 20k race.
"The starting shot went off, I was right with the front as we were running up the mountain, there were just two people in front of me. I was actually in first [for a time]," said Ferguson. "On the uphill, one guy passed me, so I knew that that guy was now in first place...So I ran it hard on the way down, but there were a lot of switchbacks, back and forth. When it was all said and one, he did beat me by a minute. But it was close!"
And Ferguson isn't finished yet. He ran his first 50-mile race on January 30, and although he didn't quite reach his initial goal of 63 miles (100 kilometers), he is already planning to run this race again next year. He has several others planned for later this year, including one race that goes from Taipei to Yilan.