Boulder, Sponsor Style

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So last time I wrote, I told you I’d talk about the tri-specific stuff (aside from meeting people) that we did in Boulder. It’s odd; I never thought I would be a sponsored athlete of any sort (although I suppose you could say that growing up, most of the time I was sponsored by my parents). But aside from hanging out with the Normatec people at almost every Rev3 event last year, I hadn’t really spent any time with any of my sponsors. So it was a real treat to hear from them.

First up was SBR Sports, the makers of TriSlide, Foggle, and TriSwim. While the amount of time I spend in the pool could best be described as minimal or lacking, I’ve loved these products when I’ve used them: the TriSwim stuff is fantastic, and last year I never had a problem extracting myself from my wetsuit like I had in years past. We learned quite a bit about why the product was created and that TriSlide was for external use only (seriously, this stuff is ridiculously slick to the point that it makes dry tile into a veritable sheet of ice… TriSlide hockey/broomball anyone?).

Next up was a new sponsor, Compex. I’m really interested to try out E-Stim. A few years ago I got to play with some e-stim stuff in a professional PT environment, and I’m curious to see what effect it can have.

Later in the afternoon, we headed out to the Pearl Izumi US HQ. We were taken on a tour to see some of the past ad campaigns (some of which were deemed to be too racy to release to the public), meet the custom kit creators, meet the President (of Pearl US), and see where the pros’ kits are made. Cool thing that Pearl does for their pros? Each kit is custom built to a pro’s specific build. So it’s not a Medium, it’s a Jesse Thomas. We also heard from Tim DeBoom about how awesome Pearl is to work with (he’s helped design some of the graphics for the shoes). We then heard about the upcoming run and triathlon lines from Pearl, and the complete relaunch of their running shoes (which are currently being launched). This was quite the treat, and I look forward to getting to try them out.

That evening, we drank.

The next day was more sponsors. First up was Biotta. We got to try the beet juice and the nutritionists on the team went way into depth about how fantastic beet juice is for you, so I’ll have to acquire the taste. I was able to drink the whole sample I had, so I’m assuming I’ll be able to acquire it. There were some worrisome moments later in the day, as beet juice is very red and looks a bit like blood in certain situations.

Next we had Reynolds wheels. So cool to hear about how they make their race wheels (I love load testing stuff, when things are pushed to their breaking point). And um, if anyone wants my SRAM S80s, I’m willing to give you a good price so I can get me some Reynolds.

Quintana Roo was up next, and we heard about their bike lines. The biggest concern is that you don’t always fit on a bike, so if I’m not on a QR, that’s the only reason why. The bikes are slick and sweet. But we’re going to try and fit me on one (sorry wallet!).

Last up was Powerbar. I had the same pre/misconception last year as I think everyone does about Powerbar: it tastes like crap. Well, it did back in the late 80s/early 90s, but I can say they’ve definitely remedied that problem. They’re releasing blends this year that are the consistency of pureed fruit, which should be pretty interesting and probably more conducive to ingesting during longer (10+ hour) efforts.

While it was really cool to be out in Boulder, the key takeaway that I got from hearing all of the sponsors was how invested they are in creating the best product possible. It’s one thing to just receive stuff from sponsors; it’s quite another thing to have them come in, explain their philosophy, explain how much you (as a customer and sponsored athlete) mean to them, and display their enthusiasm. And I know that this can all sound very arrogant; I don’t mean for it to be. I’m truly humbled by all of this.

Want to try some of the gear that I’ll be getting[1]? Let me know. I’ll see what I can do.

  1. The compex, Normatec, Biotta, SBR and PowerBar stuff is probably the easiest to share. You cannot ride my race wheels. You cannot ride my race bike.