Mike Caviston

Birthdate: 12 May 1961

What is your occupation? Promoting physical fitness in the military.

What/when was your first climb? 2010: Stair Climb to the Top, Los Angeles.

How many climbs have you completed? 50, give or take.

Why/how did you start? Looking for a new challenge. I used to specialize in one sport (rowing), but decided it was time to diversify. Now I fit stair climbs into a busy competition schedule that includes lot of road and trail runs, and the odd triathlon, snowshoe, kayak, or rowing (erg) race.

Do you have a favorite climb? Why? I liked Scale the Strat a lot when it was a two-day event. Now, I'm not sure which is my favorite. I like that most climbs are unique and hard to compare.

Least favorite climb? Why? Willis Tower, only because I've never raced well there. It is actually a great climb.

Why do you climb? Because it's there; or, if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand.

Are there other sports you’re passionate about? Rowing and running.

Did you have injuries or issues you needed to overcome to climb? Not especially. As my knees get older and complain more, climbing is less stressful than other sports. I'm asthmatic, but I manage it pretty well.

How do you train? A variety of things - running (lots of hills), rowing (C2 erg), stair climbers, lots of cycling (I don't own a car), some weight lifting. I train 365 days a year, and therer are no "easy" days - just hard in different ways.

Do you have a special relationship with any of your step-siblings? They are all a great bunch of people who I don't see much between races but on race day we pick right up like we've known each other forever.

Who inspires you? Explorers, those who challenged the unknown, especially the polar regions. Trekking across Antarctica for months with no chance of rescue if you fail puts climbing a building for ten minutes into perspective. Same with stories of those who were lost at sea, were POWS, etc.

Do you have a good luck charm or any superstitions or pre-race rituals?  I'm not superstitious. I have a pre-race ritual or system - get up early, have a Cliff bar and a cup of coffee, visualize the race, and get a good warm-up. 

What's on your iPod during workouts/competitions? I don't use one in competition. If I listen when I work out, it's a lot of genres, but lots of oldies and classic rock.

Do you have a website or blog for those interested in learning more about you? No. I don't use Facebook and barely comprehend the Internet (or cell phones, so don't bother calling, either).

If we had numbers on our jerseys, what would your number be? 40. That was my number when I played basketball in high school.

What would you like to tell others about yourself and your experience with stair climbing that might inspire them in their lives? Climbing is a good metaphore for all of life's challenges and problems. Even if you're going to climb the tallest building in the world, just take it one step at a time and don't stop till you reach the top. (Okay, I literally climb two stairs at a time, but it's still one step…).

Additional Comments I like to read, and eat. I like to eat while reading.