Tren Long to compete in 2016 Rio Olympics
Story and Photos by Nicole Christensen Pettinger
Passionate intensity is how Tren Long approaches all aspects of his life. Whether you are watching him compete and run in the NWSC Northwest Submission Challenge, which is the largest Jiu Jitsu tournament statewide, paddle in preparation for the 2016 Rio Slalom Olympics, orchestrate and run tours down the Payette River 4-5 hours daily for his family’s business, Cascade Raft and Kayak, or make acai berry refreshments for guests, he embodies precision, focus, and an overall balanced spirit. This man is a man of faith, family, and competition.
“I lead by example,” Tren says. “I don’t mix up my self-image with success. Before one can be a decent winner one has to be a fantastic loser.”
I asked Tren what 5 character traits he believed were of utmost significance and reflective of him. His answers were: perseverance, commitment, embracing new experiences, sportsmanship, and leading by example.
“Whether I am in competition in Podunk, Washington, or at the National WorldCup, I enjoy the challenge just as much. Of course my goal is to win, I do this because I love to compete.” Tren is the youngest of three brothers who will be competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The older brothers, Kenneth and Chad, will race in the 2-man kayak, and Tren will race slalom.
“I am not afraid to go by myself, and they’re just not strong enough,” he laughs. The brotherly ribbing is constant amongst them, on and off the river. “We had this opportunity before, but our cycle was off. We took seven years retired, because we were tired of the nomadic life, and started families. Watching the 2012 contemporaries, Chad’s wife jested, ‘I would be happy to come to Rio in 2016.’ We looked at one another, knowing we weren’t washed up yet, and started training the day after Christmas. What I love about the sport is it is man vs. self, man vs. nature, smash the river. Training is cause and effect, be on your game conditioning, which is huge, and five times per week we paddle an hour each, plus there are two days with two workouts within, and an additional day where training is all out.”
The time spent training and on the river is simply an extension of who Tren is.
“Since I was 10 years old, I have been working the 25 year old family business, Cascade Raft on Kayak. From now till the 15th of September we will be running 7 days a week, with typically 9 departures per day. We cater to group adventures, rescue training, kayak training and will see 600-700 guests on one weekend day. What I like best is sharing the outdoors. I know I am incredibly blessed,” Tren adds. “I thank my wife Linzie, as I think she’s paid more of a price in this endeavor. When I am training, she is taking care of the kids.”
I asked Tren if I could speak with Linzie for a moment. He called for her, and when entering the house says back to me, “My chance to do the dishes.” Linzie beams when speaking of her husband, “It is rare to see someone be 100% invested in what they do, and that is what Tren exemplifies.” I’ve seen this to be true; from paddle to dishes, he’s all in.