Athlete of the Month

The Team Sheeper Athlete of the Month award is handed out to a member of the team on a monthly basis, 7 or 8 times a year. The AOM is someone who made a notable contribution to the team or did something remarkable. Selection is made by nomination and voting by the membership.

You can nominate anyone and the nomination period is usually during the first week or two of the month. Look for notification that nominations are being sought.  When nomination close, the voting starts and once all the votes are tallied, the new AOM is crowned.

Besides bragging rights for a month, our AOM gets some goodies from our gracious sponsors, such as free shoes from TRH, a massage from SMI, gift certificates from GoRide.

GoRide Bicycles is proud to sponsor this month's athlete who embodies the spirit of Team Sheeper. Located in Redwood City, GoRide Bicycles continues the 30-year tradition of Garner's Pro Bikes.

Pierre Pujol

June 2005 Athlete of the Month

Congratulations go to Pierre Pujol, Athlete of the Month for June. Pierre receives a pair of Specialized triathlon shoes from GoRide Bicycles. This is what Tim had to say about Pierre...

"Pierre has made tremendous gains in fitness and proficiency in 2005. He has always been a strong athlete, but that extra improvement and commitment this year has propelled him into one of those few athletes over 40 who are able to break the 10 hour Ironman barrier.

He is an athlete that will always keep the group honest on the bike and is never afraid to challenge himself and others.

He wins hands down for the teams most extreme grimaces during training and events."

The following are Pierre's responses to our questionnaire.

Are you currently employed and/or describe your employment/career?

During the first part of my career, I worked and lived in developing countries, mostly China and West Africa, helping the development of agriculture/animal husbandry in view of improving people’s diet. Wanting a change, I was seduced by the dark side while doing an MBA, and ended up working for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in marketing and corporate strategy functions, playing the full corporate rat race and living a debauched yuppie life in London. The better side of my personality triumphed again when I had a call to come live in California. After a few stints as a biotech business executive, I, with 3 co-founder partners, have been trying for one year now to get a new start-up company off the ground. Our aim is to develop new approaches to toxicology in order to improve the safety profile of drugs.

Do you have a significant other and/or family to tell us about?

I have a wonderful long-time girlfriend, Dana, who is kind enough to accept my triathlon lifestyle without too many complaints. My babies are Booboo and Jake, 2 cats which I love, and Lilly and Maya, 2 German shepherd mixes, which I sometimes love and some other times barely tolerate.

What other hobbies do you have?

I like biology. For instance, trying to understand how the human body functions is amazing and there are new discoveries every day. I also like hiking, cooking and sipping wine with friends.

How did you become involved with Team Sheeper?

I started training for triathlon by myself and realized very quickly that my swimming technique was abysmal. I looked for a club to improve my swimming and joined Menlo Masters at Sacred Heart. I was very impressed by the lean and mean bodies of the triathletes gathering around the pool and by the camaraderie amongst the group. Tim was open to questions though sometimes the conversation was slowed by the difficulty for him to understand my accent, difficulty which I initially attributed to his high level of endorphins, of course! He was tanned, fit and good looking. I decided that I definitely wanted to be part of that team.

What is your athletic background?

I played soccer and track and field in school, rugby and martial arts in college then fell into some basic physical maintenance for 15 years, with bouts of running and weight lifting, mostly to control body weight and appearance.

What is it you like most about triathlons?

The competitive factor, the complexity of the training, sometimes the escape it offers from the real world and a good outlet for spending my excess energy.

What races are you planning for the remainder of this year, or the future, that you are gearing up for?

Half Vineman this Sunday, then everything is up in the air. I don’t like planning, I do it by necessity.

What are your Triathlon, or personal goals or aspirations?

Do the best I can do with what I have. And hopefully kick the butt of a few other guys in the process.

What is your favorite Team Sheeper workout or memorable moment?

I enjoy the Saturday morning bike rides, when we go long and up and down Skyline. The beauty of the sceneries is always inspiring to me.

I took a lot of beatings on these rides my first year with Sheeper. I used to overestimate my bike fitness. I was hammering the first part of the ride going up front, died, and was then systematically passed by most riders. I remember one time when I pushed myself on the brink of passing out to survive a hill on Pescadero road when Fernando and Jessica passed me briskly while continuing their undisturbed chat. Humbling! A few months later, after I was holding to my dear life drafting behind Aaron at the end of a long ride, he approached me when we were finished and kindly advised me to hide my deep breathing when racing as it would give away to my competitors the fact that I was completely exhausted.

Every ride was a challenge and I survived it! A nap was mandatory after these rides and the memory of redwood trees, open spaces and hard efforts was still living in my dreams as I was closing my tired eyes.

This year’s Ironman Coeur d'Alene will be another memorable moment, another dimension in my triathlon limited experience. I strangely do not perceive it as an individual achievement but as the culmination of 6 months of team training efforts, a long build-up process based on following a proven workout training program fueled by the charisma of Tim and a healthy dose of intra-team competition. My motivation would not have been possible without the entourage of the Sheeper team and where it not for the team, I would never have sign-up for any Ironman in the first place. Thank you, Team!

Is there anything else we should know about you?