Powerlifter Cayer competes against himself
RUMFORD -- The idea of lifting weights might be intimidating to some. However, Al Cayer has come to realize that having all the physical skills will not be enough if an individual isn't in the right frame of mind.
Cayer, current assistant principal/athletic director at Mountain Valley, has held or broken numerous records on national or international stages, but remains quite humble in his approach to the elite levels of competition.
"I only care if I can beat my best totals," said Cayer. "I compete against myself. That is why I enjoy this sport. Me against the metal. Some days I win and some days the metal wins."
Cayer has been busy training for the WPC Power lifting Championships in Las Vegas in November. This is a world event with over 700 lifters over six days.
Cayer has continued to do extremely well and holds all the world records in his present age group 55-59; actually, all record in the 50's. Powerlifting consists of three lifts, the squat at 744 pounds, the bench at 430, and the dead lift at 644 for a total of 1818 pounds.
The amount of time and dedication required to train for an event far outweighs what the average person would understand what it takes in the gym. Cayer believes there is some key aspects that need to be followed. These include being consistent, not missing workouts, three days per week, proper nutrition, plenty of rest, and having the right mindset to tackle heavy weights.
"There are days that I would prefer to doing something else but if it is training day that takes precedence," said Cayer, who initially started training to gain some size and strength for coach Jerry Perkins and Rumford High School football. "My dad gave me a plastic Sears set of 110 pounds and when I could lift all the weight easily, he bought me a second set but refused to purchase a third. That's when Austin's Gym came into my life."
Dick Austin opened up a gym in the basement of his home in Smith Crossing and was Cayer's foundation for power lifting.
Austin, 82, also holds multiple national/world power lifting records interested and Cayer onto the stage.
Cayer has had a lot of people assist him along the way, including his wife, Brenda (Porter, standout cross-country runner for Dirigo in the late 70's and early 80's). Her support has been unwavering, her understanding of the hours that it takes to be the best has made this lifting career possible.
Russ Barlow, a principal in the Auburn School Dept. has been instrumental as a lifting partner. The tandem have trained hard since summer for Las Vegas.
"Our goals are simple compete at the highest level with dignity and sportsmanship," said Cayer, who overcame adversity, heavy weights comes inherit risks of injury. Both shoulders surgically repaired (ACL's, rotator cuff, clavicles) and the most recent surgery was a detached triceps which is considered a major surgery on the powerlifting field. Wear and tear and heavy weight is the cause.
Cayer would like the student-athletes at Mountain Valley to understand what it takes to compete at a high level. "It takes dedication and commitment and the perseverance to overcome obstacles, in my case injuries. At the high school level, it may be obstacles on a different level but with family, school, and community support anything is possible.
"I am at the top of my game and still do not know if I have peaked yet," said Cayer, regarding his mind set. "As I get older, I lift smarter and the equipment is better. Giving up is not in my vocabulary."