#SUFSTORIES - The Leuendorffs
ANJA & STEPHAN LEUENDORFF: THE CHAMPIONS
"When will I get to recover? Why do I feel like I'm going to puke? Is this ever going to end?"
That may sound like the internal monologue of a Sufferlandrian deep into the second half of The Downward Spiral, but it's not. It's parenthood, the only thing harder than a Sufferlandrian Knighthood. But, as Grunter von Agony always says, "the family who suffers together, stays together." No two people know this better than Anja and Stephan Leuendorff.
ONCE UPON A TIME
A few years ago, Stephan and Anja were elite athletes racing at the highest level in their native Germany and across Europe. Stephan was an IT professional and multi-sport phenom whose walls were papered with the shredded chamois of his vanquished competitors — not just in cycling, but in speed skating, duathlon and triathlon. Anja, who was highly competitive in the duathlon, met Stephan while out on a bike ride. Instantly they saw in each other that special something: that ineffable capacity for suffering that defines a true Sufferlandrian. Love was in the air.
THEN IT ALL CHANGED
Baby Luis came along. Raising a young human being is no small feat. It is a constant series of hard efforts punctuated by brief moments of joyous respite. Imagine doing Revolver and Violator on a constant loop for years and you begin to see the challenge. Your time is no longer your own. Four-hour road rides on the weekend? Forget about it. Two hours of hill repeats after work? Those days are over.
FROM BIRTH TO WORLD CHAMPION
For Stephan and Anja, still determined to compete at the highest level, The Sufferfest represented a huge change from their previous high-volume training approach, but it was the perfect solution. Their training had to be focused, intense and result-oriented. Get in, get punished and then get back to changing nappies in a hurry.
Angels, Blender, Downward Spiral and Rubber Glove became staples in the Leuendorff household. The driving soundtracks, pistol shots and commentary were all as familiar as lullabies to baby Luis. Now, two years into parenthood, the results speak for themselves. Both Anja and Stephan have won National Championships in the duathlon, with Anja also clinching the National Championship in the long course triathlon. Just recently, Stephan made the podium (in a Sufferfest kit, no less) in the gruelling Alpe d'Huez Duathlon.
But the crowning glory of this most Sufferlandrian of families? Anja became World Champion in the Duathlon Long Course. Yes. WORLD CHAMPION.
What does the future hold for Stephan, Anja and Luis? Time will tell. But when you harness the collective power of two Sufferlandrians, anything is possible. Young Luis has already shown a love of both the bike and of the red, black and white that is his birthright. Blood may be thicker than water, but nothing is more powerful than Sufferlandrian holy water.