Business Faculty Athletes Make Their Mark

Several Department of Marketing faculty members have been devoting their spare time to athletic endeavors, even taking it upon themselves to take part in some friendly competition. Here are a handful of their recent accomplishments.

Joe Cannon: A Goal Accomplished

“Author Jim Collins coined the term ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal,’ or BHAG” notes Professor Joe Cannon. “There’s a really good feeling about achieving a BHAG. My latest involved completing a thousand-mile bike ride.”

Joe Cannon hoists his bike in the air in DeForest, WisconsinCannon aimed to ride from Fort Collins to DeForest, Wisconsin this past summer for a family reunion. He left in early August, and his wife Chris followed him in a car a week later. She caught up to him in Iowa, with the plan that if he was behind pace – or sick of riding — she’d drive him the rest of the way.

Cannon started training intensively for the long-distance ride in April 2017 – eventually riding 200-250 miles per week and using an interval training program through the Strava app. He had begun road biking just three years before, after hip replacement surgery took him off the basketball court for good.

Smooth Riding
Cannon set out for Wisconsin on August 5 with a ride of 106 miles to Sterling, Colorado. He continued through Nebraska and Iowa. A few days into his ride, it was clear that he wouldn’t need the lift from his wife. He was feeling strong, and was on track to make it to the reunion, typically covering about 100 miles a day.

“My longest day was 143 miles,” Cannon says, quickly adding, “and that day I learned that 143 miles was too long for one day.”

On that day, he had booked two hotel rooms, with the first one being 90 miles from his morning starting point. After 75 miles, he was feeling so good during a phone call with his wife and daughter that he decided to continue on to the further destination. At 110 miles his feet began swelling and he found himself stopping every 8-10 miles to massage them to relieve the pain.

For the most part, though, Cannon’s ride went off relatively smoothly. He had more flat tires than expected — something he now attributes at least in part to under-inflating. But the weather was good: never hotter than 90 degrees, highs mostly in the 70s, and only a few brief hours of light drizzle.

“The ride was a test of several hypotheses,” Cannon says. “Could I ride this long by myself? Use a road bike instead of a touring bike? Stay in hotels? Average 80-90 miles a day? I discovered the answers were all ‘yes.’”

Cannon passed the time with a little bit of soul searching, and a lot of listening — to several audio books and podcasts, and to the nature that surrounded him. He had a few surprises along the way, too. “Nebraska was flatter and Iowa was hillier than I expected,” he laughs. “Oh, and you can’t always follow Google Maps advice – they steered me onto some unpleasant gravel roads.”

In the end, Cannon made it the whole way — a solo ride of 1,017 miles in 12 days with a rest stop in Dyersville, Iowa to visit his mother’s gravesite. He says the hardest part of the ride was the mental challenge, but support from fellow cyclists on Strava, and daily conversations and texts with family members helped him through.

Gina Mohr: Pulling More than Her Weight

For Professor Gina Mohr, strength training has come naturally. She started working out with barbells just a year and a half ago, and progressed so quickly that she soon had people suggesting she consider powerlifting.

In the market for a focused hobby that would also be good for her, Mohr decided to go for it. “I found a trainer, and started working with him in January 2017,” she says. Just 12 weeks before the Rocky Mountain State Games, she also began working with a powerlifting coach, who wrote a training program to prepare her for competition. Against three other competitors in her 114-pound weight class, Mohr was the winner.

The Competition
The powerlifting competition is built around three lifts: the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Competitors are given three attempts at each, and their best weight in each counts toward a combined final score.

Gina Mohr dons her powerlifting medal from the Rocky Mountain State Games“I was nervous because I hadn’t competed in anything in so long,” Mohr says. “This was the first time I ever had to make weight — I used the water-cutting method to do it. And I actually ended up missing a couple of my lifts, but still had one good one in each.”

Mohr’s next competition is coming up in February. She says her goals now are to qualify for nationals, and to deadlift 300 pounds. The latter is one she’s already almost reached.

“I love it so much that I’ve never missed a workout,” Mohr says. “Now I lift four days a week, with my typical training session being about an hour and a half long.” She says she sees improvements in her strength on a weekly basis — something that drives her to continue.

Dave Gilliland: Masters Track Athlete

Department Chair and Professor of Marketing Dave Gilliland competed this past summer in a long jump competition at the 5280 Challenge Games in Denver.

Masters Track is for athletes age 40 and older. “I won my age division, but I was the only one in the division!” Gilliland says, laughing. “But I was out there doing it. It’s a lot of fun just to see how well you can do.”

His distance was 3 meters 50 centimeters (just over 11 feet). It was Gilliland’s first competition since his college years, 40 years ago. For several years, he’s suffered with a knee injury — but once he rehabbed it, he felt the urge to compete again.

“It’s super-fun,” Gilliland says of taking on the challenge to continually improve. “It’s really focused, and it draws me away from the everyday world.” He now plans to stay in the competitive arena, with the indoor season approaching. To get ready, he says, he’s now working out up to four days a week, including sprints, running, and weightlifting.