Epic marathon racer Sonya Looney loves belt buckles. I snapped this photo of her during Interbike 2010 sporting the Breck Epic winners “Bad Ass Motherfucker” buckle. Why is it called that? Because its written on the back! Looking to add another “notch to her belt” if you will, she recently went after the sub 9 hour Leadville 100 time, that would assure her another piece of waist jewelry to add to her collection.
Sonya races for the Topeak Ergon USA Team and competes in some of the toughest races the planet has to offer. Her and I have become good friends over the years and usually the word “animal” or “hardcore” comes out of my mouth when we chat. I am constantly impressed by the limits she is able to push her body both physically and mentally. Not only did she finish in 6th place among the women at Leadville this year, she did it with a broken wrist. Yes, you read that right. That would be an excuse for most of us to sit on the couch, drink beer and eat pizza. Or maybe thats just me. Sonya ‘womaned’ up and kicked butt as per usual bringing home another buckle. Hey Sonya, make sure you wear it this year for another pic! Her full race report is located HERE. Checkout this post race interview video below.
You are probably wondering what cliff she jumped off of or what shark she tried to wrestle to suffer a broken wrist. The wrist incident happened during the 7 stage BC Bike Race in British Columbia on the last day. The BC race proved a tough one for Sonya. She ended up with a very respectable 4th place finish after suffering not only a broken wrist but also getting lost one day and needing an IV another day. She also was riding her 26-inch hardtail bike which she swore after the race was a big mistake. Imagine all that happening and still pushing your way to the finish. Most would give up where she continued on. Oh, she also got another belt buckle from the BC race!
I hate to throw a jab at professional bike racers but one thing I cannot stand is arrogance. Sadly, many suffer from this. When they turn “Pro”, they get all “Pro” on you. Stop it. That is one thing Sonya is not! I haven’t yet had the pleasure of racing side-by-side with her but I would bet anyone who has would say her personality outshines her performance on the bike. Her efforts on the bike are just as loud off the bike when she’s not racing. Cheering on racers of all levels, offering motivational words of encouragement and even lending a hand when needed. Oh, and when it comes time to select a fine adult beverage post race, she would probably put most guys to shame with her knowledge of good beer. When you ride this much, you really need a cold one every now and then.
I was very happy to see her article in the most recent issue #5 of Switchback Magazine talking about her experience racing the Yak Attack. The Yak Attack is often regarded as one of the toughest mountain bike races on the planet. Not because of the amount of miles you ride or even how much elevation you gain. It earns its lofty title because of the extreme challenge your body goes through suffering at 17,000 feet above sea level! That’s just crazy talk. I’m not going to ruin it and tell you about her article and everything she had to overcome to get through the Yak. Go out and pick up a copy for yourself. Not only did she finish the race, she is the first woman to ever finish the Yak. Yup, hardcore.
Sadly, I don’t get a chance to hang with her very often. Interbike is only a month away and I can’t wait to hear more about all her races directly from her. When she isn’t behind a set of mountain bike bars, she is slinging parts for Topeak Ergon. Be sure to stop by the booth and say hello. That new SM3 saddle is looking like it may need to find its way home with me! Sonya unfortunately suffered from a near fatal website crash recently so her website is a little low on content right now. If you are a web guru and can offer a hand she just posted up about needing to figure out a good way to rescue her old content. Maybe you can lend a hand? Sonyalooney.com
Thank you for being a good friend and a great female ambassador for female cyclists! See you soon and can’t wait to see you flying around the Cross Vegas course with your cape on!