LYNDEN - William Scott embodies the Olympic ideal, and not just because the 59-year-old Lynden cyclist has found time to work out in more than 100 countries.
Scott, known as Blair to his many friends in the local cycling and triathlon community, has been a devoted cyclist since he was 30 and working as a journalist in Europe.
Though he has never achieved athletic fame, the affable businessman is tied for one world record of sorts: He has never failed to finish any of the dozens of events in which he has competed.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Scott, who looks much younger than his years, simply loves to cycle and run. Swimming is another story, he says with a hearty laugh and sweet smile.
Though he says he is "probably the weakest competitive cyclist" on the Shuksan Velo Club team (sponsored by Fanatik Bike Co.), he's pretty good, especially for his age. After all, how many 59-year-old cyclists could finish in the top 20 percent of a 140K race like the recent Tour de Victoria (he was 257th overall among about 1,700 entrants).
He knows he won't get an official place in the seventh annual Tour de Whatcom on Saturday, July 28, but that's fine with him as he awaits his fifth time in the event. The charity race, which has become a treasured local tradition in the cycling community, offers rides of 105, 50 and 25 miles.
"My goal will be to finish (the 105-mile race) in 5 to 51/2 hours," said Scott. "I always want to average about 20 miles per hour. But the Tour de Whatcom doesn't record places."
Instead, the Tour de Whatcom -- a huge loop that starts and ends in Fairhaven -- features some spectacular scenery.
Scott knows all about scenery, having visited well over 100 nations on business trips. He has worked out in pretty much all of them. Scott not only always finishes his races, he also insists on working out on a regular schedule no matter where he has been.
"I worked as a journalist for a little over 20 years (while based in three European countries)," he said. "I was responsible for publications in 32 languages (while working with a staff) when I worked for a businessmen's association."
Using the technical knowledge he picked up during that time, he has emerged as a busy corporate president for International Graphics & Design since he and his wife, Gayle, moved to Lynden in 1997.
Scott's love of cycling and running serves as a stress reliever, since he often puts in more than 50 hours a week with his firm, which he describes as "a one-stop shop for anything to do with the Internet."
A conversation with Scott can be fascinating, since he loves to tell stories about his many adventures and misadventures while finding ways to work out wherever he has found himself.
"In Sweden, I got lost when I was out running on a day when the landscape was snow-covered and the temperature was well below zero," he said. "I knew I couldn't stop moving, so I just ran and ran until I found my way back."
He astonished one hotel clerk in Israel after he returned from a workout. The clerk asked, "'You ran Where?'" Scott said. The clerk was concerned for his safety when Scott told him where he had been.
He and Gayle -- "I'm the cheerleader and support staff, though I do go to a gym," she said, explaining her own fit figure -- are proud to have inspired their children Jared, 33, Tammy, 31, Owen, 28, and Michael, 26, to levels of fitness many young adults fail to reach.
"They inspire each other," Gayle said of Blair and their children.
The Scotts are especially gratified to see the way Jared has dropped more than 100 pounds while developing into a fine 180-pound triathlon athlete capable of competing well in the 2011 Penticton Ironman.
"Six years ago, Jared weighed 305 pounds," said Blair. "Now we ride together. He's done the Tour de Whatcom twice."
Blair never imagined he would grow up to become such an enthusiastic cyclist, though he was a solid distance runner in high school near Victoria, B.C.
"I grew up on a gentleman's farm," he said with a loud laugh. "My father was the gentleman, and I was the farmer. I didn't have to work hard at being fit. It was just part of life."
However, the former mountain climber eventually realized "you really have to work at being fit once you're in your 30s."
He began to achieve such fitness while doing centuries -- races of more than 100 kilometers (and/or miles) -- while continuing his journalism career in Germany in the 1980s.
Scott, who earned a degree from the London School of Journalism, is a tough guy to discourage.
"I took a trip to Egypt, and I found I had forgotten my runners (running shoes)," he said. "So I decided to run barefoot on a treadmill at the hotel. The trainer came over to me and said, 'Are you nuts?' I had gotten into my zone (while working out), and I found I didn't have skin left on the bottom of my feet. I jumped into the swimming pool and the water turned red."
Scott laughs when he talks of the pain of finishing one of his many half-iron man triathlons.
"I've never finished a race and said, 'That was easy.' I tell myself I'll never do that again -- until I find myself doing another race two weeks later."
He'll need that type of spirit in the next few days.
Following the Tour de Whatcom, he and his three sons will take a three-day hike on Vancouver Island's Juan de Fuca trail Wednesday through Friday, Aug. 1-3. Then Scott will compete on Sunday, Aug. 5, in the Victoria Triathlon.
As tough as that nine-day stretch will be, it's not as tough as getting lost in sub-zero weather or working out bare-footed until your feet bleed.
"It's all a quality of life thing," said Scott, who plans to continue cycling, running and swimming as long as he can.