USA MOUNTAIN RUNNERS/RUNNING IN EUROPE
It's so easy to ignore the fact that dynamite can also come in petite packages/cases,but such was the case of ",le petite equipe americain" in Switzerland this past summer,consisting of Rickey Gates and Brandy Erholtz. Both Rickey and Brandy pulled off an impressive 4th and 5th place finish, respectively. This year's 36 edition of Sierre-Zinal once again proved to be a very competitive,international field,yet both USA runners staggered in with prior,successful summer races leading up to the prestigious Sierre-Zinal 31k mountain race in Val d'Anniviers in the canton of Valais. So,they didn't exactly come in as fresh and focused as they could have, yet they managed to do some SERIOUS INTERNATIONAL ASS KICKING.....Furthermore,take into account all the stress of travel, time zones,language barriers,etc...Bravo le petite equipe americain!!!!!
ALSO,and in all fairness,a special BRAVO and RECOGNITION goes to non other than to the original pioneer/vagabond/legend of european mountain running/racing:Chuck Smead. Thanks to his '70s racing endeavors/success in europe that other future USA mountain runners would later follow. To name a few:Rick Trujillo,John Esquibel,Jay Johnson,Matt Carpenter,Simon Gutierrez,Paul and Kelley Lowe,Jeremy Wright,Pablo Vigil,etc....
Chuck Smead's '70s seed planting in european mountain racing certainly paid off for generations to come. They certainly paid off for me. Chuck literally dragged me along into the european mountain racing scene in 1979,and I can never thank him enough. His inspiration and ripple effect continues to pay off years later...and will continue as long as mountains are around. The USA certainly has an abundance of great mountains,altitude,and talented men/women mountain runners that are very capable of competing with the best in the world on any given day... As they say in French,"On verras!!"..."We shall see!!".......Personally,I don't see why not!!!