In this summer’s Tour de France and Olympics, we frequently found ourselves picking our “horse in the race,” cheering for our favorite athletes. Even an athlete who was previously unknown can endear herself to us by her performance, positive attitude, great sportsmanship or even a genuine smile. At Higher Gear, we have had the pleasure to get to know such a world-class athlete who has certainly endeared herself to us. Once you get to know her, we believe you’ll be cheering her on too.
Claire Geiger is a local athlete who graduated from ETHS and went on to go to the University of Wisconsin, where she was a coxswain for the Badgers’ rowing team. She registered for the 2010 Ironman Wisconsin more to check it off her bucket list – and to “prove that coxswains are athletes too!” In Claire’s words:
Along the way, I realized not only how much I love racing, but how much I love training. I found that I could endure the long training days, overcome the mental and physical challenges and I enjoyed figuring out how to put together a successful race.
Claire finished first in her age group (18-24) at Madison and again in the 2011 Memorial Hermann Ironman in Texas. Her performance in her first two Ironman distance triathlons earned her a spot to compete against the best triathletes in the world. In October of 2011, Claire competed in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawai’i. There she placed ninth in her division. An impressive accomplishment for a Midwestern girl who only began her Ironman career a year earlier.
One of Claire’s favorite parts about triathlon is training and racing with her brother Will, who is also a strong Ironman competitor. Claire is proud to say her family are her biggest supporters and have traveled around the world to watch and cheer for both her and her brother. Claire also enjoys cooking, baking, skiing, and her new favorite sport, ultimate Frisbee.
Recently, Claire sought to take her racing beyond herself, beyond her individual success, and to bring greater meaning to the work she invests in her triathlons.
This winter, I struggled to put meaning behind my training and passion behind my racing. Medals and trophies mean little to me. It wasn’t until I found World Bicycle Relief that I found an organization that resonated with me on all levels. WBR is an organization that provides access to independence and livelihood through The Power of Bicycles, with a personal fundraiser. The money raised helps to provide robust bicycles to students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs in rural Africa; connecting them with education, healthcare and economic opportunities. I feel privileged to be joining a group of talented and passionate athletes including Robbie Ventura, Jordan Rapp, and 2010 Kona Champion Miranda Carfrae in supporting World Bicycle Relief.
In addition to being a member of Team World Bicycle Relief (WBR), Claire is also supported by Scott Bikes and Higher Gear. As one of the most gracious of competitors, she believes that the support around her is a necessary part of her success. But don’t take her lightly. She is a fierce competitor with infectious confidence. Local athletes who train with her often comment, “I rode with Claire. Well, not exactly. I rode behind Claire.”
Her new Scott Plasma, built up by Higher Gear, is sure to give her added advantage in her next race. After her first ride on the new bike, Claire commented that it made her feel alive. She stated, “The bike is perfect. I train to race. I train to beat the boys, and I train to win. Thank you to Higher Gear for helping me make this happen.”
In a couple of weeks, Claire will be taking on the heat of the Louisville Ironman along with her brother Will. Next on her list is the 2013 Ironman Brazil where Claire hopes to once again qualify for the Ironman World Championship. You can keep up with her training progress and travel stories by following her blog.
We wish Claire all the best in her future competitions. We will continue to cheer her on and hope, now that you know her, you will too.