Whilst American middle-distance star Sam Long addressed a number of important issues in his most recent YouTube video, such as his IRONMAN 70.3 St George win and coaching changes, he also shared the heartfelt reason for his affinity to Snow Canyon in Utah.
Snow Canyon and Snow Canyon State Park have been an integral part of the bike course at triathlon events in St George over the past few years, most notably at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, but for Long the spot also has another significance.
Along with partner Lara Gruden, the “Big Unit” will be welcoming his first child this year, with Snow Canyon having played an integral part in making that happen.
Having gone into the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in St George as one of the favourites, Long had his race controversially upended by a penalty on the bike course.
However, despite redemption on the course where things went so wrong six months ago being on his mind in St George, the American added there was another incentive to go full gas out on the bike course.
“Without getting into the details of last October at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, where I had my penalty, there’s a whole other story to this.
“Shortly thereafter, my girlfriend got pregnant and when you get pregnant they tell you the conception date of the baby.
“For us, the conception date was the night before 70.3 Worlds in October and at that time we happened to be staying at the base of Snow Canyon.”
“My baby was quite literally conceived at Snow Canyon and going into the race I literally said I am riding Snow Canyon for my baby boy.
2023 win had added meaning
For Long, his win at the IRONMAN 70.3 North American Championships in St George was symbolic for a lot of reasons, following his penalty at worlds and a rough start to 2023, but most importantly because it marked the place where his family grew from two to three!