August 2018 - ATHLETE PROFILE
Occupation: Mechanical Engineer
Family: Carl, 57; Daughters, Greta, 31 (Joaquin), and Leslie, 29 (Matthew); Grandson, Joaquin, 2
Home: East Greenbush
By Skip Holmes
How is it that someone trained as an engineer, who understands that perpetual motion is not possible, can in fact be an example of perpetual motion! Inge was raised in East Greenbush by parents who were runners – Wade and Anny Stockman (Athlete Profile, Sept. 2004) – and still run while now in their 80s. In fact, Inge’s Mom, affectionately called Oma, just set the national record in her age group for the 5, 8 10 and 15K events! Inge ran track at Columbia High School. Then continued to run track while attending Union College and studying to become a mechanical engineer, graduating in 1984. She absolutely loved to run and was able to consistently to do sub-five-minute miles. During the early years of her running career she set many personal records and won numerous races.
After college, Inge moved to Connecticut to work at Electric Boat, and then moved to Idaho for another position. Running was still her only sport after college and while working. In 1986, she married Carl Aiken whom she met while at Union College. They moved to the Albany area, where their first daughter Greta was born. Inge continued to run after Greta was born and Oma agreed to babysit Greta while Inge was running. So Inge just kept on running, it’s starting to sound like a Forest Gump movie.
Shortly before a major race Inge developed an intestinal ailment and was forced to stop running for a while. One of her friends suggested that she should try to do something else and loaned Inge a bike. Well that started a whole new chapter in her life. Inge went out for a ride and discovered how much faster she could go on a bike versus running. Not long after that fateful bike ride Inge watched her first bike race, the Collar City Criterion in Troy, which launched her bike racing career. Soon afterwards, she entered the Killington Circuit race, and she was absolutely hooked on bike racing. She joined the Bruegger’s Bagels Cycling team in 1994 and quickly went from a Category 4 to Cat 1, and was racing the pro 1/2 races all over the United States. In 1996 she attempted to make the US Olympic road bike racing trials.
Her favorite bike race was the 11-day stage race known as the Idaho Woman’s Challenge. Eleven days of racing in an area of the country that hardly has a flat stretch of road. Inge bike raced most of the cycling season, except when the kids were out of school, so that she could be home with her family. The family had grown with a second daughter, Leslie. While all this road cycling was occurring, Inge was also riding a mountain bike to train in the winter. That led to competing in mountain bike races, where Inge was very successful and had many first place finishes.
Inge made a decision to retire from road bike racing in 2000 so that she could spend more time with her family. Inge’s husband, Carl, was a downhill ski racer and also a ski instructor so he got Inge and the kids started on downhill skiing. The perpetual motion lady was now downhill skiing with her family at Jiminy Peak and other nearby mountains in the winter. They usually skied three nights a week and at least one day on the weekends.
Inge continued to enjoy road and mountain biking on a recreational level. While cycling with a friend who complained that he could not keep up with her, she learned that he had been hiking in the High Peaks the previous day. She asked if she could tag along on his next hiking trip. They arranged a trip to hike Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge. For those who have hiked this trail you know it is not one of the easier hikes in the High Peaks. And by now you might guess that Inge was off on another outdoor adventure. She says that she fell in love with being in the mountains. Now consider this: A woman who loves to trail run, loves to cycle up mountains such as the Whiteface Memorial Highway, has discovered the beauty of being on top of mountains!
This started a set of most remarkable achievements. Inge has 1,300 Adirondack High Peak summits in her rucksack, yielding 22 rounds of the ADK 46, and has hiked all of the Catskill Mountain 3500. Inge is the first and only woman to complete the ADK 100 peaks in the winter. Many of these mountains have no established trails and require serious navigation skills. She has also done 10 rounds of the ADK 46 High Peaks in the winter. Her husband, Carl, has also completed the ADK 46 in both summer and winter. Since she enjoyed spending so much time in the mountains, Inge took the time to become a NYS licensed outdoor guide. She described that program as being beneficial to her when spending so much time in the wilderness. This is truly a person in perpetual motion!
So what does someone like Inge do next? Well she hooked up with one of her cycling and running friends to do some trail running across the Northeastern states. They have run or mountain biked across all of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They are planning to mountain bike across New Hampshire in the future. Inge attempted to ride solo across New York last summer, starting in Buffalo, but after two days of rain decided to try again in 2019.
Last year she was out for an open water swim and someone commented on her swimming technique. Inge was not putting her head in the water, and as she described it to me, she was swimming like someone who was about to drown. She took some advice and started swimming lessons. After a winter of lessons in the pool she entered an open water swim across Lake Champlain. She laughed as she told me it was only the narrow part of the lake. When her girls were younger and they went to a beach, Inge did not like to swim, so she took up wind surfing so she would not have to just sit on the beach. Recently we were discussing early season open water swims and water temperature. Her comment to me was that she forgot to measure the water temperature and if she had done so she might not have gone in.
I have known Inge for many years, and her response about it only being the narrow part of the lake, is a remarkable characteristic of her down-to-earth personality. She is incredibly unassuming, even though she has had so many remarkable achievements. Years ago Inge would occasionally show up at my MHCC “Terrible Tuesday” road bike rides in Albany County. One evening we had a route that was going to take us up and over Cass Hill, which is a rather difficult climb with a maximum grade approaching 18 percent, and is over a mile long. There was a large group of guys jockeying for position at the base of the climb. Inge looked at all the guys, shifted up a gear while staying seated, and promptly rode away from all of them. When the pack got to the top gasping for air, she was circling around patiently waiting for all of us to arrive at the top of the climb.
Inge and Carl decided to build a house in the Adirondacks since they spent so much time up there hiking, biking and downhill skiing. She described that project as one where she honed her masonry skills. I think it was more about building up her core strength lifting all those rocks. Their home in the Adirondacks provides them with a base camp, from which they can enjoy the serenity of the Adirondacks, and spend less time driving back and forth on the Northway. Recently their grandson, Joaquin, who lives in California, visited them. They took him up Whiteface Mountain, and their young grandson walked from the castle to the summit of Whiteface, his first High Peak!
Many readers of this magazine engage in a number of outdoor activities: road cycling, mountain biking, hiking, trail running, downhill skiing, snowboarding, windsurfing, kayaking and swimming. You are likely to encounter Inge out there and you will quickly know who she is by her positive attitude, genuine smile, and ability to make you laugh.
Skip Holmes (email@example.com) of Delmar teaches Sustainable Design at RPI. He is a member of Mohawk-Hudson Cycling Club and Capital Bicycle Racing Club. He can be found road and mountain biking, kayaking, hiking or Nordic skiing.