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.

SMI is proud to sponsor this month's athlete who embodies the spirit of Team Sheeper. SMI is a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to the prevention and treatment of overuse injuries, optimization of human function and enhancement of athletic performance.

Michael Fero

September 2008 Athlete of the Month

"Mike is a quiet and maybe silent inspiration to those who are fast enough to train with him and or who are willing to say hi as he flies by in any of the 3 disciplines. The swim is not to be underestimated for the incredible endurance and tenacity that it requires from each individual. He is a tower of strength and encouragement to those who are growing in the sport."
- Fellow Teammate.

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

I'm an elementary particle physicist by training. I spent a decade at SLAC working on an experiment at the Linear Collider that that made a textbook measurement of the Weinberg angle, the parameter that governs the unification of the Weak Nuclear Force and Electromagnetic Force. After that, I dabbled in a couple of software startup companies before coming back to Stanford and helping to develop gene chip technology in the Brown and Botstein laboratories. I later became the director of a facility producing gene chips at Stanford, but I now have my own 5 year grant to study systems biology.

Do you have any specific career aspirations?

Well, if I stay in academia, I better start thinking about the next grant! Seriously, If I had my druthers I would focus next on synthetic biology and solving the energy crisis.

Do you have a spouse or children to tell us about?

You may know my lovely wife Katy who swims with the Menlo Masters and is turning into a pretty serious water polo player as well. I have four children, Kelly is a Junior at Stanford, Allie is a freshman at Cal, Shelby is a Sophmore at MA, and Mostyn (the boy) is a 5th grader at La Entrada.

What other hobbies do you have?

Probably too many. We have a '90 VW cabriolet that Allie and I are trying to restore and turn into a green vehicle. Wish us luck.

How did you become involved with Team Sheeper?

Katy started swimming with the Menlo Masters before I did 'bout 10 years ago. I was at another program, but I eventually made the switch and was soooooo glad. I did a few triathlons back in the day (early 80's), and naively thought; Hey, Tim's got a great program going here… maybe I should train for an Ironman! Little did I know that the tri world had passed me by. My bike was a campy relic, the Hawaii race had long ago become very hard to get into, and the seriousness with which I could really train, what with everything else going on in my life, was pretty minimal. I'm sort of a seasonal triathlete (winter-spring) and it took quite a few years and the Coeur d'Alene phenomena to finally push me to train for and complete an IM. Man… was that hard or what! I'm amazed at my fellow teammates who pop those off every year.

What is your athletic background?

Very odd. I was a figure skater until high school. Yes, I could do a double Axel. When the money ran out (skating is expensive) and having no off-ice sports skills to speak of, I wound up a Cross Country runner and did a lot of surfing in High School. I was a decent runner, and our team won CIF-SS which is like the Southern California equivalent of CCS up here. College was another deal altogether, I lasted for a while but eventually gave up running for Physics. Talk about getting your ass kicked. One of our routine workouts was 10 one mile repeats under 4:50/mile! I got into tri's back then and diversified my athletics to swimming and biking. My running career probably peaked with a 2:36 marathon at Stockholm just after Kelly was born. The baby was ported all around drizzly Stockholm by Katy in a little backpack as my sister and Katy moved all around the city trying to watch my race. The things you put your first child through. I also climbed King's Mt Road with Kelly in a bike seat. What was I thinking?

What is it you like most about triathlons?

Actually, I like the training the most. It is great to diversify and do something different every day. I have never felt better than when I am training for a triathlon. Competitions are fun too, and as I have gotten older I have learned to pace myself according to my age and ability. I really like negative splitting a race!

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

Right now, after the Catalina Swim, I'm back to catching up with my research. Slowly however, the seeds of the next adventure get sown. What would it be like to run 100 miles???

What are your Triathlon, or personal goals / aspirations?

I just like to stay fit and enjoy my family and friends. I'm 50 now… what a great decade to be an Athlete!

What is your favorite Team Sheeper workout or memorable moment?

Wow, there are many. I guess I would have to say that I really remember those times when I was really hurting and along came a teammate to lift my spirits and help me finish a big race. Kirsten at the Cal International a couple of years back came blasting by me at mile 17. She inspired me to stick with her pace and she led me all the rest of the way in. Kevin at Coeur d'Alene caught me at the end of the bike leg when I was really, really, really hurting. We started working together on the run, just getting from one mile to the next, and lo, we finished the thing in good form!

Is there anything else we should know about you?

That I have been secretly coveting this award for YEARS! Seriously, that I really enjoy my Team Sheeper and Menlo Masters teammates and love the fact that even though I drop out of the mix for a few months each year to coach soccer, or actually do my job or something, I'm always welcomed back like a good friend and teammate. Thank you TEAM SHEEPER!