• Trading the suit for the sneakers: one fixed income manager’s need for speed

    by Badgley Phelps | Apr 24, 2024

    It turns out you can know a lot about bonds and bikes at the same time. By day, Cal Spranger is one of the firm’s fixed income professionals focused on private and institutional clients. By night and weekend, Cal is an extreme sports enthusiast who’s running, cycling, and accelerating himself right through his bucket list. We spoke recently with Cal about his high-speed hobbies, what he’s learned personally and professionally from them, and what could possibly be next for this adventurous wealth manager.  

    Where it all began 

    Cal says he’s been a cyclist for most of his life. “I did some racing and adventures as a teenager, then took a break and got back into it in my 30s. It started out just as a healthy habit of commuting to work.”  

    Cal commutes from Sammamish to downtown Seattle. But last fall, the dark and wet Pacific Northwest winter looming in the distance, Cal needed a change. He says, “I did not want to ride my bike through the dark nights and rain again. So, I focused my attention on running.” But he didn’t just run casually—his competitive nature kicked in and challenged him to train for a marathon. “I picked one in March since it was early enough in the year that I could switch back to cycling as the weather turned nicer.” 

    Completing his first marathon 

    Despite suffering an injury four weeks before his marathon event, Cal achieved his goal and finished The Deception Pass Half Marathon and Full Marathon in four hours and 53 minutes.  

    Cal was happy with his time—and to be able to participate since, four weeks prior, he had felt a “pop” in his Achilles tendon during a 12-mile training run.  “Immediately, your thoughts are, ‘I put in 3-4 months of work for nothing.’ Then you think that you are going to need surgery (like every professional athlete on TV) and will not be able to do anything for six months. In the end, it hurt for 3-4 days, gradually got better, and within about 1-1.5 weeks, I was easing back into the final weeks of training and was able to compete in the event.” 

    His family cheered him on as he finished 20th out of 85 finishers in the full marathon distance and third out of eight finishers in the 50-59 age group. 

    Revving up his motorcycle 

    Some might slow down after completing a marathon, but not Cal; he set his sights on a motorcycle race next.  “I had a street motorcycle in my early 20s but just sort of fell out of it after a few years. My younger son, Joe, who is 17 years old, got into riding off-road motorcycles (dirt bikes) a few years ago on his own. Realizing that he would be going away to college soon, I got a motorcycle of my own to spend time with him doing what he enjoys. I grew to love it myself and enjoy trying to master a new skill.” 

    Cal showed off his skills by participating in the 52nd Annual Stumpjumpers Desert 100 in Odessa, Washington, earlier this month.  

    A family affair 

    A devoted husband and father, Cal loves that his whole family participates in many of the same activities he enjoys. His oldest son, Jack, is a world-class cyclist in the under-23 category who’s traveled the nation and world competing in and winning championships; his younger son, Joe, is a skilled dirt bike motorcycle rider, cyclist on the velodrome, downhill skier, and lacrosse player; and his wife, Kristina, is a fitness advocate who has also done triathlons, marathons, and mountain bike races. 

    Cal says the only trouble with all this activity is scheduling. “The biggest challenge is trying to coordinate all of our practices and training schedules to have dinner together once in a while.” 

    Benefits of extreme sports personally and professionally  

    Beyond family bonding and physical and mental health benefits, Cal says his activities benefit him personally and professionally.  “I’ve learned how to put myself ‘out there’ and make myself vulnerable, knowing I may fail or not meet expectations, and that’s okay.” His activities also have helped him gain confidence in doing hard things, develop a plan and work toward a goal, and master new skills—lessons that are transferable to life on and off the clock.  

    Cal says he also enjoys traveling and meeting new people—as well as not sitting at a desk in front of computers. While he likes the mechanical side—how to maintain the equipment, for example—the “low tech” element is a huge draw. “I don’t really geek out on the data,” he says. “I do love the simplicity of running. There’s very little gear, and you can do it from anywhere.” 

    Whether running or cycling though, he has his tunes, often listening to Chris Stapleton’s blend of country, classic rock, and Southern soul. Or, in situations where he needs to get pumped up, Cal goes old school and cranks up Guns N’ Roses or AC/DC. 

    A process-driven person at work and at home, Cal enjoys the process of training for the events he does. “I typically work with a coach and follow a training plan,” he shares. “He tells me how long to ride or run each day, how fast, what intervals, and when to rest. I don’t need to think about it or plan what I am going to do when.”  

    What’s next? 

    Cal strives to find a balance between cycling and running and says he hopes to participate in 2-3 running events per year.  “I’m already eyeing a 50k trail marathon in October, some mountain bike races, and maybe some more motorcycle races.” 

    Most importantly, though, he’s focused on maximizing family time—especially this summer as he prepares to become an empty nester. “With one son already in college and another starting college in the fall, this summer is going to be all about them.” 

    Cal says, thankfully, everyone enjoys mountain biking or dirt biking, but “I haven’t converted them into runners…yet.” 


    To read more about our team, click here.  

    Originally published on April 19, 2024 




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