John Russell's sports column appears Mondays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs You only have to visit with Bill Meyers for a few minutes to realize that he doesn’t act his age.
He is 76 this year, but he still spends most of his summer days on the back of his bike and stays active downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
He is competitive on his road bike, taking part in more than a dozen races in the summer, and he still is motivated to get faster.
This year, Bill topped his age division at the USA Cycling Masters Road Nationals, which took place in Oregon in September. He also brought home several titles at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah, in October.
But while the titles are impressive, they are not the reason I admire Bill and his many accomplishments. The fact that he continued to compete at a high level and win at his age is awesome. But once again, that’s not the only reason to cheer for Bill.
As a reporter, I’ve had the opportunity to meet all kinds of athletes during my career, ranging from 10-year-old baseball players who dream of making it to the Major Leagues to Olympic and World champions like Bill Demong, Todd Lodwick and Johnny Spillane.
I admire them all for what they have accomplished in the realm of competition. Each of their stories are examples of what makes sports in our country so great.
Bill is a champion because he displays all the qualities we should demand from top-level athletes. He is motivated, he is dedicated, and he is talented.
I like him because he is modest, he is polite, and he is driven for all the right reasons.
There is no question that he races to win. But Bill didn’t start racing for the titles. He did it because he loves the feeling he has when he is on the back of his bike. He loves the feeling he gets when he is pushed to the limits by other top athletes in a bike race. I get the feeling that competition fuels Bill's desire to ride his bike, but my guess is that he wouldn’t be sitting in his recliner anyway.
Bill doesn’t have to use words to convey his love for the sport of cycling. You can see it when you look into his eyes, and you can feel it as he describes the races he has won.
Cycling has become a lifestyle choice for Bill. He shares the love of the sport with his friends, he plans his summers around race schedules, and he has no plans to stop anytime soon.
Bill hopes to keep racing well into his 80s if possible, and he says the only thing that will keep him off his bike is an injury or illness.
In other words, Bill has no plans to start acting his age anytime soon.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966