Sean McElroy is something special! For the past five years he has accomplished more than most athletes will ever do in an entire career. The funny part is that he hasn’t even reached the starting line. Sean is the most focused, driven and gifted cyclist that I have ever seen. Pair that with a father that would (and does) put absolutely everything on the line for you and you have the perfect specimen. Norm, Sean’s father, is a racer from the heart. Coming from an early seventies motocross background where the sport was just finding technologies to balance horsepower and handling Norm was injured early in what should have been a storied career. High school kids know no limits and I think Norm is being allowed a second chance at what should have been. This time through the legs of his kid! But don’t think for a second that this is not an earned destination. Sean has worked harder than any other 10, 11, 12 ,13, 14 and now 15 year old kid has or is willing to. That is what separates him form the field and that is what has brought in the local, state, national and now international titles.
Sean is currently in Belgium for a 3 week USA Cycling sponsored Jr Development camp. Sean and 5 other American kids were selected to represent the US in the 15-16 age class. Sean is the youngest of the group. Sunday Norms dreams came true as Sean won his first international race!
Sean hasn’t even reached the starting line! By definition this means his goals are so much bigger than his results. At 12 years old, on the 4th of July we were finishing a 100 mile ride in 100 degrees where Sean was first up every climb. I asked him directly what his goals were. The first (which sunk in hard as the maturity he said it with was so sincere) was to Win Paris – Roubaix. The other was to Win the Tour de France. He didn’t mention one single local or current goal. He didn’t talk about the build up or what would lead to those goals he just quite simply and directly said he was going to win the two biggest cycling races on the planet. Fast forward 4 years and the picture tells the story. Here is a kid from Antelope Valley, in Belgium, the youth cycling mecca of the world winning a race his freshman visit! Amazing! Is Sean surprised? Here is the text I received early Sunday morning: “1st Place dog”. That about sums it up. I am flying to Belgium, I am going to kick ass, and I will come home and go back to school where no one even knows that I race bikes!
I think that is one of the parts that I love most about this kid. He is a human being. He has the same issues, desires, girl trouble, homework and chores that every other kid in his high school has. The difference is he spends a few hours on his bicycle every day, he flies to foreign lands, he mingles with strangers- looks them in the eyes and has conversations, he does interviews like an all star for newspapers, radio and TV, he wins titles, and best of all he lives here in town and is our humble friend (unless you challenge him – then, not so humble…).
This is the first of many and will not be the last inspiring tale from Sean McElroy. He will continue to pay his dad back with results for all of the time and finances that Norm has invested in him. Sean will increase his fan base to a level, in my opinion that we haven’t seen since Lance in 2005. But for now he can walk around Von’s, or even QHHS for that matter with 99% of the people only knowing Sean McElroy the person and not Sean McElroy Cycling Phenom!!!