Motherhood a complement to Glenwood adventurist’s athletic drive |

Motherhood a complement to Glenwood adventurist’s athletic drive

Dan Campbell photo courtesy Sari Anderson

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” Approaching 30 years of age, accomplished Glenwood Springs endurance athlete Sari Anderson found herself at a crossroads in her athletic pursuits. And in life.

With support and encouragement from husband Ian, she chose the path of motherhood, giving birth to daughter Juniper two years ago.

But it didn’t take long for Anderson’s life path to merge back onto the trail toward resuming her adventure racing.

It’s a discipline that involves multiple sports in a team competition, usually mountain biking, trail running and paddling, with rappelling and other mountaineering skills often in the mix, plus skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

In other words, little room for slack when it comes to training.

Anderson’s ability to juggle motherly duties and responsibilities, be a wife, work a job as a business manager for a plumbing company, all while maintaining a rigorous training and racing schedule, is an adventure all its own.

It’s one that earned her a spot among an elite group of women on the Sunday Mother’s Day panel, “A Women’s Wilderness: Forging Paths and Pushing Limits,” as part of this weekend’s 5Point Film Festival in Carbondale.

The panel discussion takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday at the main festival venue, the Carbondale Recreation and Community Center.

Joining Anderson will be Amanda Boxtel, a co-founder of Challenge Aspen who was paralyzed in a skiing accident when she was 24, but is now learning to walk again thanks to stem cell treatments in India; Kelly Perkins, mountain climber and heart transplant recipient; Irene Beardsley, a climber of many first ascents including Irene’s Arete in 1957; Lynn Hill, World Cup climbing champion and first-ever woman to climb 5.14; and Tara Sheahan, former U.S. Ski Team member and a proponent of the Oneness University.

Anderson admits she’s humbled to even be considered in the same league as the other women on the panel.

On a recent weekday morning at a Glenwood Springs coffee shop, she arrives for an interview with little Juniper in tow. Never mind the cute pink girlie backpack, Juniper proceeds to dump a collection of toy cars and trucks onto the table, while mom talks to a reporter.

“I was at a point with my racing that I felt like I was ready to have a baby,” Sari said of Ian’s and her decision after being married four years. “It was do it now, or later, and I figured I was still young enough to get back into shape easily afterwards.”

She took a summer off to have her baby, but soon began training again with an eye toward competition.

“I had Juniper in a jogging stroller right away, but sometimes it was just hard to even get out of the house,” she said. “It was sometimes the hardest thing to get home in time to get her to bed, or down for a nap.”

Less than five months later, though, she was back to racing form. Her team finished second in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge, and she has since won the Xterra World Championship and U.S. Mountain Bike Marathon National Championship.

“There are definitely days when it just doesn’t happen for whatever reason, and I’ve learned that that’s OK. It’s what I have to live with. She comes first,” Anderson said of her daughter.

“But I still race just about every weekend. That’s where I’m able to get my intensity in,” she said.

It’s that kind of can-do attitude that prompted 5Point Film Festival founding director Julie Kennedy to invite Anderson to be on the panel.

The panel itself actually grew out of an idea Kennedy had for a film documentary profiling women from different generations, and the various decisions they have to make in life.

“There are so many changes that happen in a woman’s life,” she said. “I find it very interesting to hear from a high-caliber athlete like these women, and how they deal with having babies and being a mother, and still trying to be at the same level athletically.

“There are just so many things that pull on you as a female athlete,” Kennedy said. “We just figured this would be a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day with your family.”

The second 5Point Film Festival opened Thursday night and continues today, Saturday and Sunday at the Carbondale Rec Center.

Other highlights of the weekend include:

– Friday, 7 p.m., Comedy/Films ” film premieres and a theatrical performance by legendary climber/comedian Timmy O’Neill and his partner-in-crime, Jeb Berrier.

– Saturday, 1 p.m. All Age Adventure Series ” Timmy O’Neill and local ripper Chapin Newhard hosts an afternoon of short films featuring animation, climbing canines, unicycling; a variety of shorts that entertain and educate.

– Saturday, 3:30 p.m., panel discussion, “Celebrating our Common Spirit: Turning Desire into Mission” ” Brad Ludden, Dr. Kevin Hand, Jenni Lowe-Anker and Conrad Anker, Dr. Geoff Tabin, Mark Godley, and Mike Cerre discuss how they’ve journeyed beyond themselves to positively affect their local communities, the country and the world.

– Saturday, 7 p.m., Keynote/Films ” A special presentation by Jenni Lowe-Anker and Conrad Anker, sharing their incredible life stories of triumph and tragedy in the mountains

– Sunday, 3:45 p.m., “World Community, Culture and Connection: Tales of Mountain Life” ” Following the Mother’s Day panel discussion, the festival concludes with an exploration of the risk and reward of mountain life across the world. Emcee: Alison Osius.

For a full schedule and ticket information, visit

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