Madalyn Allred sits relaxed in her West Weber home, she seems like a normal well-rounded young lady -- she goes to Weber State University full-time and works at the Roy Complex as a swim teacher. She wants to be a prosecuting attorney, so is thinking of majoring in criminal justice.
Oh yes, and then there is that little thing she does called Xterra competitions. Allred will be competing at the World Xterra championships in Hawaii next week and trains 15 to 20 hours per week to master her sport. She is one of 800 amateurs world-wide ranging from ages 19 to 65 that will compete next week.
Allred found out the end of September she was invited to the World competition in an e-mail. She had finished second in the national competition earlier that month in Ogden, but didn't really know how the whole qualifying process worked.
"I was shocked and so thrilled," Allred said.
Allred has always loved to swim and run and did very well in high school, she even planned to swim in a collegiate level, but when those hopes didn't really pan out her senior year she was at a bit of a loss as to what to do next. It was soon after graduation that she was talking with her aunt, when the two decided she should try Xterra.
"She was already running and had swimming down," said her aunt Debbie Mortensen. Mortensen had kind of gotten out of the race scene herself, but decided to throw herself back in to help train Allred.
Everyone was surprised at how quickly Allred took to the mountain biking, but because of her self-motivating attitude, it came along well, both Mortensen and her mom Ann said. Mortensen is a part-owner of an outdoor shop in Eden called Diamond Peak and they worked with her to find the best bike for her train on last year.
Mortensen was impressed with how hard she worked to be ready for her first race last September. She continued to work and was able to get her own bike and then she really took ownership, Mortensen said.
Madalyn can't help but smile when she thinks of her bike. She even gave it a name - Jedidiah the Mountain Bike.
"You know, just like Jedidiah the Mountain Man," she said and both she and her mom laughed. "She loves that bike. He's too good to stay in the garage. He's right in her room with her. It's the last thing she sees before she goes to bed and the first thing she sees when she wakes up," Ann said.
Madalyn attributes some of her success to her great love of swimming.
"For most people, swimming is their weakest thing when they do triathlons. Because I have had so much experience there it really helped," she said.
She has traveled the country to compete in Xterra races and other triathlons and races since September 2012. Many of the races she competed with her aunt, which was a great, help to both of them. Mortensen soon came to realize that Madalyn didn't necessarily need her to succeed.
"She is self-motivated and didn't need me to be her guide. She is very passionate," Mortensen said.
Ann loves watching her daughter compete and travels to many of her races with her. Ann said she often gets teased that she gets more nervous than Madalyn for the races, but she does because she knows how much it means to her daughter and what Madalyn is capable of.
"She is an amazing person. She has an inner drive and motivation to do whatever she sets her mind to," Ann said.
She has watched Madalyn battle asthma and other setbacks to come back stronger than she was before.
"She wants to show people she can do it," she added. Ann is loving watching her hard work pay off.
Madalyn is motivated by a lot, but mostly she loves the way racing and training makes her feel.
"I love the high you get and I love my sport because you get to be outside looking at the beautiful earth," Madalyn said.
The idea of going pro in her sport hangs in the back of her mind, but she also promised herself and her parents that her education is top priority. At any rate, she knows she has picked a sport she can do her whole life.
"People who are 65 still compete," she said.
Because she is an amateur racer she doesn't have pro sponsors like the pro athletes have, so she has been working to pay for her trip on her own. The cost to send her bike is around $400 in and of itself. She has received a couple of sponsorships and has set up a donation account at America First Credit Union in her name. She is hoping to get some more sponsors so she can obtain more success in her sport.
"For the most part the costs are out of pocket," Madalyn said.
Several other Utahns -- Wanda Bamberger, Matthew Campbell, Taylor Dudley, Jo Garucchio, Carl Horton, Betsy Spiegel and Emily Whitman -- are also slate to compete in the Xterra Worlds.