There is a common thread that all Democracy of Sweat Featured Athletes share. It’s a mindset. The mindset that has each of them setting personal goals and then following through until those goals are reached. Our newest Featured Athlete, Phil Stern of Winchester, MA, is no different. Well, in some ways he’s not different and in other ways, he is very different.
Phil is what we at the Democracy of Sweat would call the Grand Poobah of goal setters. Setting and reaching goals is a way of life for Phil. He finds as much satisfaction in planning, training for and mapping out the logistics it takes to achieve his next goal (or as he calls it….his “next adventure”) as he does in ultimately achieving the goal. And based on Phil’s adventures, it’s a good thing.
What sets Phil apart? It’s his endless pursuit to find the next adventure and the creativity in which he approaches each challenge. Adventures like:
50 Adventures in my 50th year. To celebrate the milestone birthday, Phil did winter hikes in the White Mountains, did multiple cross country ski explorations, climbed the Classic Whitney Gilman Ridge (even though he has a fear of heights), spent a week trekking in the Grand Tetons, biked 150 miles to a lobster shack in Maine, rode camels in India and finished off his 50th year by taking a Zumba class with his wonderful wife Julie on New Year’s Eve. In all, Phil checked off 50 adventures in his 50th year….And Dos Equis thought they had the most interesting man in the world.
Single Season Summer 48 4000-footers (SSS48). There are 48 mountains in New Hampshire that are at least 4000 feet above sea level. Beginning on June 21, 2014, Phil started up the Flume Slide Trail and on September 7, 2014, Phil’s 18th day of hiking, he completed the New Hampshire Four Thousand Footers by summiting Mt. Moosilauke with his wife, daughter and a couple friends. The feat was capped off by celebrating with cans of 4000 Footer IPA; of course it was. While the challenge of hiking the 48 mountains energized Phil, he found as much joy figuring out all the logistics….which peaks to string together, what loops are best, which hikes required a bike shuttle, where to camp, what to pack and the list goes on and on. Just another summer outing for Phil.
Rippers Overland Beer Safari. What better way to enjoy the 2015 4th of July holiday than to roll through Vermont with some of his Ripper (The local bike club he is a member of) teammates for 3 days. This beer safari covered 99.8 miles of almost unrideable class 4 roads and scenic dirt roads and a 4.6 mile hike up to the summit of Mt. Mansfield. Along the way, it was stops at local breweries and pubs where in 3 days the team tasted 42 of New England’s finest Pilsners, IPAs, Stouts and Ales. As Phil so aptly put it…”Beer tastes best after you have sweat for many hours.”
Phil’s list of adventures and challenges goes on and on. He is 55 and there really is no end in sight. He embraces the solitude of doing many of his long rides and hikes (those that exceed 12 hours) alone but only as much as those times when he is riding or hiking with teammates and friends. In all instances, he loves pushing himself to his limits and appreciates all others that do the same…whether it’s more or less of what he can do. And all this so he can stay healthy, stay competitive and keep up with his 3 children Alexa, Michael and Nicholas for at least another 20 years. Our money is on Phil.
We asked Phil what the words Democracy of Sweat meant to him. He said…“It means the first guy up the hill, setting a KOM (King of the Mountain) and the last guy grinding up minutes later. It’s sharing the same agony and ecstasy of doing something really hard. This shared experience binds them into a "Democracy of Sweat.” Phil, we couldn’t have said it better!
In case you are wondering, one of Phil’s next adventures is the Single Season Winter 48 4000-footers (SSW48)...conquering the 48 in the summer was just the warm-up.
If you would like to read more about Phil’s adventures visit: