DEAR TENSPEED HEROS,
It’s been one of those rides. You think you know the way, you think you can see the turns and the hills ahead and then you are suddenly on the ride of your life and you realize you have no idea where you’re headed, it’s beautiful.
Our story began at a bike race, naturally. We camped next to each other by luck, laughed, shared a few drinks. Perhaps it was the most serendipitous moment of my life, because less than a year later I would sign my first pro contract with the Specialized x Tenspeed Hero Cyclocross team, the beginning of great things. I thought I knew, but I had no idea just how wonderful it would be.
My time with the people who make up Tenspeed Hero was uniquely special and nothing like whatever you imagine a cycling brand to be. It was like attending an art history class where you ate great food, learned about famous architects, photographers, designers while walking around a city and then got covered in mud. I’ve shared so many memories with these wonderfully creative and kind people, the brand, the band, the team, the collection, the family and now I’ll share some of those with you.
A NOTABLE FEELING
There aren’t many moments in one’s life where things seem to just collide perfectly together. So I’d like to note this moment. It was getting to race cyclocross professionally, while adorned in a female artist’s beautiful artwork. A New York Artist, Leah Guadagnoli, created the colorful geometric pattern that was carringly placed on our bikes, shoes, helmets and kits. It was truly a dream team for me. Everything I loved had come together in the most perfect way. Paired with the feisty, Ruby West (a name that I’m still convinced could be that of a top selling brand, or a famous actress, or hey a famous bike racer?!). That team holds so many fond and challenging memories for me, the challenging parts would be learning how to be a pro cross racer in a season. I have one word for you, “doublebikebag” yeah, it’s one word. 2018 was the beginning of it all, I saw the inner workings of the small brand life, mainly that the people who worked for and with TSH are TSH. That means designers, artists, students, photographers, bike racers, and the partners and families of all of those roles, all of us. We create this idea of a brand, but really it’s just a band, a band of loud and soft instruments who come together to make things and show things that make people so very happy.
With most things I often find that the enjoyable parts revolve around relationships. You might think that racing bikes is about bikes, winning, traveling, crashing, what you’re wearing, finishing. But it’s not. It’s pretty much all about shared experiences and relationships, at least for me it is. Sure, I really enjoy a lot of other components, seeing amazing places, pushing myself physically, mentally and winning a few things along the way doesn’t feel bad. But I’ll tell you, there is nothing like giving someone a huge hug at the end of a race, taking in a beautiful view with your friends, sharing a perfectly arranged charcuterie plate and laughing together after you almost kill your friends on a ride. Or even the low moments of having a meltdown of anxiety, fear and the culmination of stupid mistakes before a big bike race in another country. Finding solace in the friends around you is really what makes those moments extra memorable and meaningful. This isn’t anything new. If you’ve ever had a challenge that you’ve overcome (so all of us) the best part aside from knowing you did something hard is sharing that glorious moment with people.
ENTER BIKE RACING
I race from pure emotion. Yes, I am one of those. Maybe that’s why after 3 years of racing with TSH I’ve gained friends for a lifetime. During my first season racing UCI cyclocross I relied on the TSH crew around me to show me how it’s done. I learned from Ruby, Maghalie, Laurel, Dani and Luke that an acceptable travel set up includes bringing no fewer than 5 changes of clothes for a pre-race lap, spare helmet, spare shoes, a trainer, traveling with multiple bikes, spare wheels, and enough gear to summit Everest…twice. Then comes the pinning of numbers. Then, my personal hell, of time management which means budgeting your day to get to the venue with enough time for your pre-ride laps, washing everything, changing into the right things again and then the actual race part. That was honestly the only thing I knew how to do! And I mean it, from the bottom of my heart, if it weren’t for those people and their kindness I never would’ve had any success. And when I won my first race at Nationals in 2018 it made it all the more special. It was the cherry atop a sundae that everyone was a part of….and sprinkles were definitely involved.
I’ve never liked saying goodbye. Be it leaving for a race, even vacation, goodbyes are not my style. I refuse to say goodbye to you, my Ten Speed Hero family, because it’s not. You don’t really say goodbye to friendship, it just evolves, those are the great ones. And my time with TSH has been in so many ways, so beautiful. It’s become a part of who I am as a bike racer, a designer, a person! Like any profound relationship, TSH has brought out my strongest qualities throughout our time together. I’ve been supported, built up, humbled and loved. What more can I say that I haven’t already (wipes tears off keyboard), I will miss everything but I cannot wait to see what more we do.
… and always get extra sprinkles.