This DoubleShot sponsored athlete is the principal clarinetist for the Tulsa Symphony and the Tulsa Opera Orchestra, and an adjunct professor of music at the University of Tulsa. His wife, Angela Brenton Carter, also plays in the Symphony—and the same instrument. “Yeah, I married a clarinet player. That was the pool.”
Carter is a native of Norfolk, Nebraska, home of Tonight Show legend Johnny Carson and Thurl Ravenscroft, longtime voice of Tony the Tiger, he of Frosted Flakes flame. From a family of runners, he’s been running since the age of 6. Four years ago, he switched to the triathlon, a move that had been in the back of his mind. “It’s a path that’s difficult for a lot of people, especially those who’ve only run most of their lives, like me.”
So when Tulsa made the shortlist for the Ironman competition, he told his friends to hold him to it. His 10:28.44 was good for a 14th-place finish in his age group (and 143rd overall). He also qualified for the world championship in Kona, which was canceled, but will likely use it as “a carrot” for next year’s race.
“I take it seriously and I enjoy it,” Carter said, “but I’m not trying to be a pro. I’m 46 now. But I’m still getting faster in all three disciplines. Running is my strongest of the three (his PRs are 2:56.32 in marathon and 1:23 in the half). Most of the miles in my legs are there."
In music as with fitness, Carter doesn’t box himself in. He played guitar in garage bands growing up, and will still gig on sax when the opportunity arises.
“Music and sports, I can’t separate the two. It definitely affects my teaching. There’s muscle control refinement. The training is similar. Athletes dig to depths you have to reach to make great art. It adds a layer of empathy.”
Carter once heard and now believes that fitness training should occur at an easy pace. Defining “easy” may take some doing. “They say you need to go harder than you think, and you need to go easier than you think.”
A longtime fan of the DoubleShot, his palate is gravitating toward fruity these days. He enjoys trying new varieties, and lately that’s the Worka Sakaro, an Ethiopian natural. “It’s taken over my pourovers at home. Very rarely do I not take the first drink and go, ‘Whoa.’ ”
Naturally, when we started looking for an athlete to sponsor, David rang all the bells.
“Coffee is part of my existence,” he said. “Not as fuel during races, but we should talk.”
His fitness career began in earnest when he pulled his hamstring at a pro football combine after his senior season at Monmouth College.
Between stations in life, he rode his mountain bike 180 miles without a map from his hometown of Galesburg, Illinois—home of Carl Sandburg—to Shelbyville, Illinois—home of Josephine Cochran, inventor of the automatic dishwasher—to work with his dad on a job site.
He’s run 100 miles twice: 29:30 (hustling to beat the 30-hour cutoff) and 23:50 (because finishing under 24 hours earned you a better belt buckle). Thrice more, he literally ran out of gas driving home from Utah/Arizona the day after a long race and was forced to run down the highway to the nearest town to buy a gas can, and run back.
He’s run some ten marathons, many Tulsa Triathlons and finished Ironman Tulsa.
Won his age group at a half-marathon in his hometown, where, as an eighth-grader, everyone made fun of the way he ran.
Ultra-marathons include Zion 100k, Bryce Canyon 50mile, Grand Canyon 50mi, Leadville 50mi, San Juan Solstice 50mi, Post Oak 50k, Turkey N Taturs 50k, Rocky Raccoon 100mi, Costa Rica 50mi at Arenal, Antelope Canyon 50mi, Jemez Mountain 50K (where he was supposed to do the 50mi, a course so difficult officials gave two opportunities to drop down and he resisted both, only to double-back when he realized he probably wasn’t going to make it beyond 37 miles or so) and, most recently, the Pumpkin Holler 100k.
He placed either first or second in a CAT2 mountain bike race in Telluride, he can’t remember.
Competed in the Tour de Dirt races for several years, winning at Turkey Mountain and placing second at Roman Nose. Completed the Ouachita Challenge (60-mile mountain bike race) the year only 12 riders finished, and completed the Ozark Challenge 36-hour adventure race multiple times.
Finished the USARA 36 hour adventure racing national championship but was disqualified because one of his teammates dropped out in the middle of the race. (They finished without him.)
Earned second at a Cat 5 crit one Tulsa Tough and should have placed second on a rainy course the following day but he sprinted early and ran out of juice.
Lost his first and only Big Wheel race because he didn’t understand the command to GO and everyone took off ahead of him.
DNF’d the Leadville 100 (run) seven times
DNF’d the Route 66 100-mile at Depew.
DNF’d the Dirty Kanza 200-mile gravel race (on his Trek 9.8 mountain bike) in 2006, around mile 160, after getting lost at least twice then lying down on a bridge to take a nap.
DNF’d the Roman Nose 24-hour mountain bike race, the result of which he claims spurred him further in his pursuit to open the DoubleShot.