I got my very first road bike in 2001, a Specialized Allez Elite. I still have the green machine in my garage, converted to a fixed gear for commuting and winter training. The bike was a gift from my parents, specifically my dad, who helped locate the bike and get me started on it. Initially, I got it for doing some weeklong bicycle tours in the high country of Colorado, and would ride it for fun in the summers. After moving to Missoula for college, I joined the triathlon club team and got some clip-on aerobars. Fast forward to last week, when I got to come full-circle and visit Specialized headquarters in Morgan Hill, California.
I was invited to join the other sponsored triathletes, Melanie McQuaid, Conrad "Caveman" Stoltz, Chris "Macca" McCormack, Phillip "The Shiv" Graves, Desiree Ficker, Rasmus Henning, Jordan "Rappstar" Rapp, Kristen Peterson, and Jimmy Archer, as part of an effort to better educate us on the product line, meet the masterminds in all areas of the company, train a little bit, and socialize. Coming straight off Ironman, I was in rough shape when I showed up, but the first day was mostly about sitting and listening. We were led through a comprehensive rundown of product by Chris Riekert, called SBCU, or Specialized Bicycle Components University. I have to say that I was pretty impressed. I know Specialized makes the best stuff, but to see how and why is pretty amazing.
After our back to school day, the crew went to dinner. Many of the athletes had just raced Alcatraz or Wildflower, so we all chowed down. In fact, Macca and I hit the In and Out burger right next door for our first dinner before going out for round two. There was much talk of racing, and plenty of Bryan Rhodes stories. The second day was more product talk, but with more hands on, and input from the athletes about what we want for the future. Keep an eye out... there are going to be some great triathlon specific developments coming soon. I didn't participate in the lunch ride, but I heard it was quite the gun show, and the ageless Ned Overend put most of the riders to shame, yet again.
To meet with everyone and gain a new perspective on just how committed Specialized is to developing a culture of winning was amazing. I feel blessed to be part of this community and energy moving forward, to participate and grow within the framework of such a devoted company. I. Am. Specialized.