(Jim Caple) I'm scrambling up a long, very steep old cable car path that leads virtually straight up a Colorado mountainside, and I would be feeling pretty good about my progress if it wasn't for one thing: I'm getting my butt kicked by a teenage girl, a teenage boy with asthma and a guy with a bad back.
In my defense, the three are exceptional athletes. Agnes Zawadzki, 17, recently took the bronze medal at the U.S. figure skating championships. Josh Farris, 17, won a silver medal at the world junior figure skating championships. Brian Hansen, 21, won silver in speedskating at the 2010 Olympics. Even so, it doesn't make me feel any better when I finally catch up to the three and Farris tells me he is taking it easy because he left his inhaler at home, Hansen is taking it easy because he might need surgery for a bulging disk and Zawadzki, well, she is so relaxed and refreshed she is sitting on a rock texting a friend.
Will meet u when this old sportswriter finally finishes. Could be a while. He is like sooooo old, he probably still uses cell phones to call people.
You might wonder why I was on this steep course near the U.S. Olympic training center in Colorado Springs. In fact, it's a question I asked myself once or twice on this expedition. The answer: I'm trying to experience what is almost a rite of passage for athletes at the training center.