Cycling talent in the Fox Valley

Published9/14/2008 12:04 AM

The Fox Valley area is really getting a reputation for developing some of the best young cycling talent in the country.

At last month's national triathlon championships in Colorado Springs, Colo., four locals really shined. In the Girls' aged 9-10 championship, 10-year-old Alexandra Lorenz from Dundee claimed first place. Geneva's 16-year-old Benjamin Kanute took first in the Junior Elite Men's division, and 14-year-old Joshua Kanute took second place in the Youth Elite Men division. Rounding out the quartet, 15-year-old Jenn Howland from Elburn took first in the Youth Elite Women group.


Let's take a quick peek at the youngest of these talented champions, Alexandra. Her father, John Lorenz shared some details with me about his inspirational daughter. She attends Elgin Academy and started doing triathlons when she was just seven years old. Alexandra has grown up around triathlons all of her life -her mom and dad have alternated doing Ironman triathlons every year since 1999. In addition to her national championship, Alexandra has competed and won a number of other events this year including the prestigious Hyvee triathlon in Des Moines-with over 500 kids participating!

During her peak triathlon season, April to August, Alex trains 5-6 times a week. Since her mom and dad both work full-time, she developed the drive to do a significant portion of her training on her own this summer.

For the past two years she has trained with the Multisport Madness triathlon team out of Geneva. This national powerhouse team had more than 46 athletes travel to Colorado to participate in Nationals, including the other three youth mentioned above, and the team was crowned overall national team champions.

For additional swimming work, Alex also is a year-round member of the Dundee Dolphins swim team. Next year will certainly bring even more success for this young superstar.

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I checked in last week with Elginite Jim Andresen, who recently returned home from crossing our beautiful country by bicycle this summer. Jim rode as a member of the American Lung Association's Big Ride Across America. In a column earlier this year, I shared with you his expectations before the ride. What did he actually think of the experience afterward?

"The scenery was spectacular and the small towns were friendly and open to these strange people in spandex, but what really left a lasting impression was the relationships that developed. I've been in contact with many of the riders since we left D.C.-in fact two of them are in town this week, on business, and we will be getting together. In part to relive the ride but, more importantly, to strengthen the bond that was forged over 3,464 miles on bicycle."

"My dream was realized. Hopefully the money we raised for the American Lung Association will allow someone else to realize a dream of their own."

Curious to learn more about his trip? Read Jim's wonderfully written ride blog at

Todd Underwood covers cycling in the Chicagoland area. To contact him, email to or write to c/o Daily Herald, 385 Airport Road, Suite A, Elgin, IL 60123.


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