Daniel Dill

Do you go by a nickname? Ha, I wish. Although come to think of it I still get “Dan The Man” from a few of my Step-Sibs. I will take it. It has a great ring to it.     

Birthdate: 25 February 1973    

What is your occupation?  Partner and COO of Trinity Fitness, also known as X Gym in Seattle, WA    

What/when was your first climb? LLS Big D Climb in Dallas Texas, January 2012. Back when it was in the Fountain Place building.     

How many climbs have you completed? Oh Lord, I never kept count. I’m weird like that. I don’t track stats or times or how many climbs. Probably the same reason I do not collect baseball cards or stamps either.

I would guess about 30 since I do around 8 climbs per year on average. My last 2 years have been near double digits.     

Why/how did you start? Interesting story behind this, or maybe not. Depends on who is reading. I was walking out of the 24 Hr Fitness near my place in Dallas when I spotted a flyer at the front desk. At the time I was doing volunteer work at The Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. I was itching to do something more challenging on a personal level. Something that would also be fun. Viola! It hit me. Go climb some stairs. It’ll be easy and fun.

Easy and fun it was not. When I look back at the pictures of the event I remember how I thought I was going to die. Literally, I thought I was going to die right there in the stairwell. I think I alctually prayed for the Good Lord to take me so I wouldn’t have to finish. There’s a picture of me Tebowing. That picture was actually of me praying that it would end. I finished however. And from there the rest is history. A long journey from that day to where I am now.     

Do you have a favorite climb? Why? I would say that after doing the Towerathon last year it quickly became my favorite multi-climb race. My favorite solo race is US Bank.

The Towerathon is a fun event and well run. Plus it’s San Diego. Can’t go wrong with that. I am also becoming more interested in the multi-climb formats. Mostly because it levels the playing field a bit for us bigger guys. The speed factor that favors the shorter, lighter guys begins to go away in a race like the Towerathon. I also enjoy the mental test of slogging through 2 hours of hiking a stairwell.

US Bank is a superb event. On a Friday to boot. With a big ass block party that goes on all day in a city like Los Angeles. Sure I would love to spend the extra money to go do Willis or WTC1, but since I live in Seattle it is way better to head to sunny L.A. to hang with the pretty people. We crave vitamin D up here in Seattle and L.A. has plenty of it. Oh, and the US Bank building is pretty freaking cool too.     

Least favorite climb? Why?  I don’t really have a least favorite climb. At least not at this point.

I would say that my least favorite issue occuring more frequently now is the lack of focus on best practices between climb directors. This is driving a level of inconsistency that I believe is not necessarily the best business practices. Most times the answer to inquiries is veiled as, “we are focused primarily on our donors, and are constantly looking for ways to attract more money”. While this makes sense, it also would make sense to standardize events so they are not re-inventing the wheel every few years when a new director comes on board.

From an Elite perspective, we deserve and demand a few formalities. Race bib #’s indicating our placing in the previous year’s event or our current ranking, preferred start times, and a good awards ceremony with quality awards. Not much to ask. Instead we are seeing a proliferation of more money, less reward. Other than US Bank and the Father Joe’s Villages Towerathon I would say that the events I attend are moving backwards.

Why do you climb?  I started climbing because it was something that I could do that fit my workout ADD. Short, hard, and done! It was something that I could focus on that also fit my go hard or go home personality. Unfortunately when I started I was 250 pounds and had not gone hard in a long time. It hurt me, bad, real bad.

I now climb because my life would not be the same without it. I would not be the person I am today without stair climb racing, and I cannot imagine my life without the clarity of focus that training brings me.    

Are there other sports you’re passionate about?  Disc Golf and bowling. I was a Professional Disc Golf Association touring pro for 10 years. Didn’t earn a dime doing it however, but I had a blast traveling the country and meeting awesome people. I still play local events like random draw doubles and weekend singles.

I have bowled since I was like 6 years old. At one point in my life I held a 225 average, and bowled in 4 leagues per week. Fitness and life has pushed bowling to the backseat, but that is not a bad thing at all. Some day I will get back to it. Once the X Gym’s are super famous.  

Did you have injuries or issues you needed to overcome to climb? I have severe childhood asthma. The wonderful thing about hardcore climbing is that my cardio-vascular performance has increased 100 fold. I breathe better now then ever before.

As I mentioned above I was 250 pounds and 24% body fat when I started climbing. As of today I am 200 pounds and 12% body fat. I train hard like an athlete now, and I feel like an athlete. It really has been a life altering journey.   

How do you train?  My training conists of a 5-day regimine of X Gym strength training and cardio. I teach indoor cycling so I use that as a training option. Fortunately we have access to big buildings in Seattle. My climb training varies between short duration intervals, standard building climbs, and long session training.

Our X Gym system, The Glassey Method, of time under tension to complete muscle fatigue builds super muscle endurance. This has made a difference in my climbing. Anyone who knows PJ Glassey knows what the X Gym methods can do for stair racing.    

Do you have a special relationship with any of your step-siblings? I call PJ Glassey my Sensei. We don’t hang out together on a personal level, but he is my stair mentor. Without him I would not be the climber I am today. Guaranteed!    

Who inspires you? I do not have any one individual or even individuals who inspire me. What does inspire me is the challenge to wake up every day and kick ass. People who wake up and kick ass regardless of what stands in their way are awesome. I have fought through years of low wages, being poor, living with roommates, and so on in order to become well educated and to hone my professional craft. I have had to wake up every day, look in the mirror and say to myself, “get the f&%k to it man, you got work to do”.     

Do you have a good luck charm or any superstitions or pre-race rituals? I carry a 4-leaf clover in a glass stone inside a small pouch I wear.

As far as rituals go, hmm, you know, I still have not found any one ritual that works for me. Partly because pre-race warmup is such a muddled affair. Between socializing, warm-up, and waiting in line for undefined periods of time, the pre-race routines are always hit or miss. I am trying to be more like Sproule Love and get my heart rate up higher just before climbing. Still have not figured the whole routine out yet. Practice. Practice.       

What's on your iPod during workouts/competitions? My music selection varies based on the type of climb. Sometimes I choose songs based on length. Sometimes feel. Sometimes both. It can vary between EDM, jam band rock, dance pop, and heavy metal. I would say that my favorite right now are Drum and Basses mixes. Hard driving bass heavy toons that are continuous mixes. This will certainly be on my IPod for the Towerathon.      

Do you have a website or blog for those interested in learning more about you? People can follow me on FB at Cycle Dan and Instagram at cycle_dan.      

If we had numbers on our jerseys, what would your number be?  I would like my number to be whatever U.S. ranking I start the year out with. Regardless of what that is, it is what I earned and rightfully deserve.   

What would you like to tell others about yourself and your experience with stair climbing that might inspire them in their lives?  Stair climbing is certainly a life altering experience. Like most fitness routines, stairs are not for everyone. There is one truth though about stairs, barring any major physical limitations, everyone can do stairs.

I honestly cannot understand why anyone would want to exercise in a manner that is less effective and/or more negatively impactful on the human body. Stairs take no training. Stairs take no real skill. Stairs take no money. All you have to do is Take The Stairs!