People often wonder what it is I do for work. The short answer is that my job, literally, revolves around two wheels. I split my time between working for Bike Monkey Magazine as their Brand Ambassador, and GU Energy Labs as their Product Specialist. But that still doesn’t answer the question of what it is I actually do for work? Now, that is a bit harder to explain, but let me try.
In a past life I spent twelve years as an elementary school teacher,warping (not really) young minds and loving every moment of it. Having summers off meant that I had the time to pursue my other passion at that time, which happened to be racing a bike. My first “official” indoctrination into the bike industry came at Interbike in 1997, when the show was still being held in Anaheim, and I was there as a guest of a friend starting a clothing company. To make a very long story short, I was hooked by the energy, the vibe, whatever you want to call it, and left Anaheim with names of potential sponsors, even though I was just a sport racer at the time, energized and excited to see how far I could take this whole racing/sponsor thing. Speaking of sponsors, GU Energy Labs happened to be one of the names on my list and, lo and behold, they decided to support the team [Salsa] I was riding for at the time. I became that racer with his hand out for free product.
Fast forward ten years and I was still working as an elementary school teacher, still racing, but now as a pro, having earned my upgrade through a few solo 24 hour victories. In that time I’d developed solid, long lasting relationships with many of my sponsors, many of whom I am still with today, the most significant and obviously relevant to my current job being GU Energy Labs. My relationship with GU went from being racer to promoter and tester of new nutrition products. In 2010, I decided to step out of the classroom and into the bike industry full-time. I went to work for Bike Monkey, an event production company, that had just started a creative, cycling magazine.
The synergistic relation between Bike Monkey and GU Energy Labs began the moment I started writing for the magazine, as GU became the primary nutrition sponsor for our seven race season. The first time I tested proto type nutrition was on a Mt. Tam night ride with CEO, Brian Vaughn, and a few other friends. Before we pedaled off into the inky darkness, Brian pulled a Ziplock baggy of orange orbs out of his pocket. Those orange orbs were an early iteration of what would eventually become GU’s Chomps. And so my career as a product tester “officially” began.
On Thursday, I’m embarking on a 600 mile, six-stage road ride with Specialized and some of their dealers, from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas, that sees me riding as GU’s Product Specialist. Now it is my turn to pull out some yet to be released product in the form of electrolyte capsules, capsules I began testing earlier this year at the Trans Andes Challenge, a six day stage race in Southern Chile. Along the way to Interbike, I will, if the opportunity presents itself, discuss our products, not in a “hard sale” kind of way, but rather the more natural setting of the bicycle. Speaking of setting’s, south western Utah won’t be such a bad office for the next six days. So, check back in, follow our adventure, if you want to get a peek behind the curtain of our journey through the desert to Interbike.