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.
April 2009 Athlete of the Month
"A pleasure to be around.A steady force ready to take on new challenges.Placed 3rd at Wildflower."
"Derrick has been a great and supportive team member for a number of years now, and has shown his ability to take it up a couple of notches and has become a force to be reckoned with in terms of his swim, bike, and run speed. Even though he's been working through some foot injuries, he is still a regular, solid, cheerful contributor to the Team Sheeper experience."
- Fellow Teammates.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
It definitely was not to be a lawyer! Funny how those things seem to work out. I remember in 4th grade that I wanted to be a teacher – just like Ms. Pack. Sometime over the next couple of years, that changed and I decided that I wanted to be a swim coach. Somewhere, in the dark recesses of my mind, I still harbor that dream.
Do you have a spouse or children or pets to tell us about?
I have a wonderful family comprised of my wife Anna (who thinks all of us triathletes are crazy), two daughters and our cat. Besides enduring my crazy work and workout schedule, Anna has spent the last three years as a college counselor for Eastside College Prep – a private school that provides a fully-funded, private education for 6th through 12th graders from East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park. She loves her job and hopes to continue to help her students take advantage of the opportunity to attend college. Anna and I have been married for 11 years (together for 16) and we have two beautiful young girls – Echo and Emiko.
Echo is 10 years old (going on 15) and only has one more week as a 5th grader at North Star Academy. She loves to read, plans to compete on American Idol when she is a bit older and swims for PASA year round at their Rinconada location. She has improved dramatically in her swimming during the past 6 months and her 50 free time is getting dangerously close to my own!
Emiko turns 7 on June 13th and just finished 1st grade at the Nativity School. She is the real singer in the family (but don’t tell Echo that), loves art, has a beautiful smile that always gets her what she wants and will be competing with the Menlo Mavericks swim team this summer as well as playing for the local soccer league!
The final member of our family is Timmy. Timmy joined our family approximately 2 years ago when my daughters found him as a stray kitten. We never thought of ourselves as cat lovers (we used to have two wonderful dogs), but he has found his way into our hearts and is great at keeping your lap warm when he feels like cuddling.
What other hobbies do you have?
Hmmm….is there time for hobbies? Well, I am a bit of a geek, so I love electronic gadgets (even though I am getting left behind by technology), I often find myself reading science fiction and fantasy novels in my spare time, and am addicted to Facebook. I also have a strange penchant for reading "How To" books. Unfortunately, despite reading these books, I am still not very good at "doing" the things I read about. Finally, I have to admit that I am a poker aficionado. I love to go to either Vegas or a local card room and play Texas Hold'Em. Unbelievably, I actually think I have won more money than I have lost at poker and actually finished in 7th place during a tournament held at the Stratosphere (small tournament, but I was in the money). While I like other games of chance as well (Blackjack, Pai Gow, Craps, etc.), I have been much less successful.
How did you become involved with Team Sheeper?
After spending 8 years at my desk working without exercising, I originally joined Menlo Masters sometime around 2001 as a means to reduce my expanding waist line. After swimming for 6 months or so, someone convinced me to get a bike and the next thing you knew I was on the team. I must admit that the initial goings were pretty tough! I remember people poking fun at me for my extra-wide, cushioned bicycle seat; reflectors on the front and rear wheels of my bike; and a rearview mirror that extended out of my handlebars. In addition, I used to fall all the time when I tried to clip in and out of my pedals!
What is your athletic background?
I started swimming at 7 and continued to do so through college. During high school and my freshman year of college I also dabbled in track and X-country running. However, despite this dabbling, there was never any doubt that I was a swimmer not a runner. Even more apparent was (and still is) my complete lack of coordination skills. With the sole exception of water polo, I have never been able to play any sport that involved a ball or required hand-eye coordination. It is ironic that my favorite sport is basketball.
What motivates/inspires you?
Well, this was the answer that I originally wrote:
"Although I realize that I can sometimes be a bit overly competitive (sorry everyone), I am not really motivated by racing. Rather, what motivates me is the goal of getting in better and better shape and staying healthy. After fighting with weight and health problems for years, I am just thankful that Tim’s program has really helped to improve my fitness and allowed me to embark on challenges that would have seemed crazy just a few years ago."
Unfortunately, when my wife read this response she shook her head, said that while my statement may have some elements of truth to it, it wasn’t exactly accurate. This is what she insisted I should have written:
"I want to be faster than you . . . Seriously.
What races are you planning for the remainder of this year, or the future, that you are gearing up for?
While my schedule is clear for the rest of the year (although I am considering Vineman Aquabike), I really want to compete in another Ironman after I turn 40 and, hopefully, significantly lower my previous best time. In addition, if I can ever get the finances to work out, I would really like to be a member of a 4 person RAAM team. I believe Doug has already said he will do it with me!
What is your favorite Tim Sheeper quote/story?
Now I don’t want to get myself in trouble, Tim is my neighbor after all! However, I think we are all painfully aware of Tim's penchant to think in Tim time and distance. When he says it is only a 3 to 3 ½ hour bike ride, I immediately add at least 1 hour. And if Tim says it is a 5 to 6 mile run, I usually prepare myself for 7 miles.
What is your favorite Team Sheeper workout or memorable moment?
I have two very different moments that stand out for me. The first moment was the very first time I climbed Page Mill. During the very steep switchback section (somewhere between gates 3 and 4) I was going so slow that I was not generating enough momentum to keep the bike moving forward. Unfortunately, with my limited skills I was also unable to unclip from my pedals. As a result, I came to a complete halt and fell onto the road. I would like to say I fell off of my bike, but my feet never clipped out and I was very much still connected to my bike. This was perhaps my most embarrassing moment on the bike as other riders passed by and offered assistance to help me get unclipped. Despite the embarrassment, it was also one of the most motivating things that could have ever happened to me and while Page Mill still intimidates me (especially that steep switchback), I love climbing hills and don’t ever want to let a hill get the best of me again!
The second moment was during the second day of the 2006 Wine Tour. Throughout my cycling career, and especially early on, I had a penchant for bonking during rides. Somehow everything came together on this day - I rode with Tim and Eric for most of the day, never bonked despite the distance and heat, and wasn’t passed by Julian, Pierre, Lennard and the gang until the last few miles (even though they left the hotel at least ½ an hour after us). For me this was perhaps the big breakthrough ride where I started to have more confidence in my cycling.
What would you choose as your last meal?
I am really not sure – probably sushi or veal parmesan. What I do know is that my last meal would NOT include margarita Cliff Blocks, a tube of chocolate Gu or electrolyte tablets washed down by a refreshingly warm glass of Grape Cytomax!
What scares you?
I have an irrational fear of sharks. Spiders and snakes are not my friends either, but I am so scared of sharks that I intentionally chose races that have their swims in fresh water lakes. With the exception of the lagoon over by San Mateo (and even that swim scared me to death), I think it has been more than a decade since I last swam in the ocean.