Do you go by a nickname? I've been given the nickname "The Schenectady Express" and "Calf Man".
Birthdate: 1 July 1976
What is your occupation? Engineer
What/when was your first climb? Albany Corning Tower
How many climbs have you completed? 30 and counting
Why/how did you start? A coworker climbed the Corning Tower in 2006 came in 2nd. It piqued my interest since it seemed like it would be something I'd be good at. But it wasn’t until 2011 until I found the time and courage to try it. My goal was to try and beat my coworker's time from 2006. At the end of the race, I came in 4th overall with a time of 5:23, which was just a few seconds slower than my coworker (5:18) but still really competitive. However, I was totally blown away by the 1st and 2nd place climbers; the winner, David Tromp, was nearly a minute ahead of me (4:30) and 2nd place Tim Van Orden wasn't too far behind (4:38). Afterward, I looked them both up online and found out they were two of the top climbers in the US. I also realized that I had gone to colleged with David at Clarkson University. I knew he looked familiar… only 70 pounds lighter - no joke!
At that moment, my stairclimbing quest had begun.
Do you have a favorite climb? Why? City Place in Hartford, CT. It is a short race (3+ minutes) which plays to my strengths. Plus, the stairwell is perfectly configured (11 step flights & double rails) which makes this a FAST race.
Least favorite climb? Why? The Empire State Building Run-up is the most difficult climb for me. It has a mass start (which screws up my rhythym), lots of flats with running (I'm not a runner), and is the 2nd tallest climb in the US (I'm a sprinter). Basically this race plays to all of my weaknesses.
Why do you climb? I'm super competitive. I want to be #1.
Are there other sports you’re passionate about? No sport compares with climbing stairs, although I have newfound respect for rowers.
Did you have injuries or issues you needed to overcome to climb? I have nerve damage in my foot (Morton's Neuroma) which prevents me from running long distances. Fortunately, climbing stairs doesn't agrevate it. I also have a pretty severe case of asthma. If I didn't take lung medication (Advair 250/50) I couldn't climb competitively.
How do you train? Lots of lunges & stairwell sprints. I also spend a lot of time on my stepper machine (Precor C776I). For cross training, I prefer rowing and cycling which both mimic certain aspects of stair climbing.On my rest days, I like using the elipical machine.
Do you have a special relationship with any of your step-siblings? Two Davids come to mind. The 1st David is David Tromp (who I already mentioned). We have a lot in common besides stairclimbing. Believe it or not when we run into each other we rarely even talk about racing! The 2nd David is David Hanley. He has great sense of humor and is passionate about stairclimbing. We get along quite well. Last but not least, I have to give a shout out to my Tower Masters teammates; we're the East Coast's preeminant stair climbing squad.
Who inspires you? Sproule Love. He is a climbing legend.
Do you have a good luck charm or any superstitions or pre-race rituals? Burpees. They are great way to warmup.
What's on your iPod during workouts/competitions? LOL. I prefer to listen to music in my leisure time where it can be enjoyed… there is nothing enjoyable about climbing stairs. No pain no gain, right?
Do you have a website or blog for those interested in learning more about you? www.alexclimbs.blogspot.com
If we had numbers on our jerseys, what would your number be? #1 (Race me for it)
What would you like to tell others about yourself and your experience with stair climbing that might inspire them in their lives? If a heavyset 38 year old asthmatic with bum feet can climb stairs competitively…so can you. I was just average at endurance sports when I started climbing competitively (at age 35).
Additional Comments: Mantra, "A steady pace wins the race".