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Chillicothe News - Chillicothe, MO
  • Cyclist credits self-built training grounds for international success

  • Success knows no age. In 2008, 78-year-old Dale Davis bowled a perfect game in Alta, Iowa. In September, 64-year-old Diana Niyad swam 110 miles from Havana, Cuba, to Key West, Fla., in just under 53 hours. In June, a 60-year-old Chillicothe man won his second mountain biking world championship.
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  • Success knows no age. In 2008, 78-year-old Dale Davis bowled a perfect game in Alta, Iowa. In September, 64-year-old Diana Niyad swam 110 miles from Havana, Cuba, to Key West, Fla., in just under 53 hours. In June, a 60-year-old Chillicothe man won his second mountain biking world championship.
    Doug Long fell in love with cycling in the early 1990s. The former Chillicothe High School wrestling coach said his involvement in the sport stemmed from his affinity for white water kayaking.
    “Some of those guys I was paddling with started mountain biking,” Long said. “Obviously, it’s easier for me to get to a trail than it is to get to a class four or five white water.”
    A competitor his entire life, Long entered his first mountain biking race in 1993 at the age of 40. He said from that point on, he was hooked. In the 20 years since his first race, Long has captured a laundry list of accomplishments. In 1998, he finished fourth in the world for Master’s Class Mountain Biking. Ten years later, in 2008, Long won his national championship. In February of this year, Long finished second in the world at the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships in Louisville, Ky. In June, he won his second Master's Class Mountain Biking world championship in Canada. Long is a member of the 360 Racing Team out of Kansas City, Mo. The team also includes local competitors James Shiflett and Denny Albertson. He was the first president of the United Federation of Dirt, a group of cycling enthusiasts that sanctions races in the Missouri and Kansas Region.
    Long credits much of his success to his intense training. When he’s not racing or traveling, the two-time world champion spends much of his free time riding trails at Poosey Conservation Area northwest of Chillicothe. Long calls Poosey his second home, as he and the Green Hills Trails Association have spent much of the past 13 years planning, building and riding the trails.
    “The GHTA formed because we were a group of mountain bikers and trail enthusiasts looking for a place to go,” Long explained. “We built one mile. We maintained that first mile four about three years. That was part of the agreement with the Missouri Department of Conservation. We would prove that we would maintain that trail. After we sat on that for three years, we finally got the go-ahead to expand our trail.”
    The GHTA’s network of trails now spans more than 10 miles. Built in phases, Long said nothing is done without the approval of conservationists. The GHTA proves it can maintain the trails they have and the MDC approves land to build new phases.
    The 10 miles of trail feature a diverse landscape that twists, turns, rises and falls as it wraps around Indian Creek Community Lake. Long said this provides the perfect training ground for a world champion cyclist.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The bottom sections we call ‘the steeps’ because it’s up and down,” Long said. “When I say ‘up and down,’ I don’t mean a little bump. You’re climbing, and it’s steep climbing. If you’re not fit, it’s a tough grunt. Then again, why do we have guys that come from, of all places, north Missouri and have the ability to win championships? That’s sort of the standing joke. When I run into people from other places, they want to know where we pick up our skill set. They have no idea what we have out here.”
    For more information on the trails at Poosey Conservation Area, visit www.GreenHillsTrails.org.

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