Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013's notable people in the outdoors

Staff writersDecember 29, 2013 Updated 11 hours ago

Conor Collins, upcoming cyclist from Puyallup talks about his sport. THE NEWS TRIBUNE — Lui Kit Wong         

Here’s a look back at some of those adventures enjoyed by South Sound residents in 2013:


Conor Collins, a Rogers High junior, entered his first bike race in August 2012 and within a year it was obvious he was born to ride.

He quickly ascended from a Category 5 classification (the first of five levels) to Cat 3. He won the 71-mile Baker City Classic in 2013 by dominating the hills.

He entered July’s Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, a non-race ride that takes two days for 80 percent of the 10,000 participants to finish. He needed less than 10 hours of bike time.

He biked as high as the roads would go on Mount Haleakala, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa during a trip to Hawaii.

And when he entered the grueling 149-mile Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day in July, he reached the top of Cayuse Pass (about the 110-mile mark) before the food station opened for the event.

“At first they didn’t believe we were in the ride,” Collins said. “We had to show them our (bib) numbers to prove it.”

Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the summer for the 16-year-old was entering a brutal two-day stage race in Bishop, Calif. The Everest Challenge climbs roughly 29,035 feet, the summit elevation of Mount Everest.

“Everybody is going to bonk in a race like that, you just hope you’re the last one,” Collins said.

Even as a 16-year-old competing against older and more experience racers, Collins more than held his own. He finished the 159-mile ride in 12 hours, 7 minutes, 45 seconds to finish eighth in the Cat 4 race. His time would have been good enough for seventh in the Cat 1-2 race and fourth in the Cat 3 race.

Collins, 5-foot-11, 142 pounds, is built to climb and hopes to pursue racing in college and beyond.

But, for now, he’s focusing on academics (he has a 3.9 GPA and hopes to study biochemistry at Stanford) and racing with the Rogers swim team.

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