Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Lady and her Lady Bike

Every so often an object ends up far surpassing it’s sole
utility.  It can mean so much more.  When I was a kid, I had high hopes for my
downhill ski-racing career.  A crucial
moment in ski racing is when an athlete becomes good enough to get
sponsored.  When a company says, you are

fast enough that we want you on our equipment. 
All of the Rossignol sponsored athletes wore special coats that

Rossignol gave to them.  This was much
more than a coat.  This was a significant
reward for all of the hard work I put into ski racing.  My sister and I did mid body strength
routines every single day in hopes of improving. We spent almost every daylight
hour of every day there was snow on the ground running gates and training.   When I was handed my first Rossignol ski
coat in the Smuggler’s notch parking lot, this was one of the first times I

almost broke down with tears of joy. 
This signified that hard work pays off. 
Obviously, this was much more than a coat.

Last week, I had a very similar experience.  I first laid eyes on the S-Build Vogue Amira,
or what I endearingly call the ‘lady bike’, this fall.  My friend and Specialized USA sports
marketing manager, Emily Watts, scored herself one of the twenty-five Amira
Vogues in the country.  This was a
limited edition bike at its best, and I immediately started drooling.  The design is hand drawn and inspired by the
Hunger Games.  At first glance, everyone
has a different opinion of what this paint job actaually is.  I’ve heard mountains, smoke, and a Native
American design.  But, when everyone
takes a closer look, they realize that it’s the profile of female faces.  It’s a true piece of art.  When I witnessed it in person this spring on
bike rides with Watts, it became even more stunning.  I wanted one, but, unfortunately, that’s the
thing with limited edition.  There were
none left.  So, I decided that I would
admire from afar and continue to be amazed out how beautiful a bike really
could be. 

Meanwhile, my friend and Specialized Racing mechanic, Brad,
was trying to get me a new road bike for the season.  He had me convinced that all the could come
up with was the same bike that I had last season with the same paint job which
I was okay with.  The S-Works Amira is

the best road bike I have ever owned. 
But, behind the scenes, Brad thought if he had to try this hard to get

me the same bike, why not just go all the way and get me the bike I really
wanted.  He called in all of the favors
that he has built up in his one year working at Specialized, pulled in a
Specialized army, at one point had three different bikes on order, and, of

course, called on Watts to help the operation. 
Somehow the stars aligned, Jupiter must have been in retrograde, and

Brad is a wizard because he actually got me the limited edition S-Build Vogue
Amira.  Brad got me my own Lady
Bike.  I had no idea.

Both Brad and Watts wanted to be there to surprise me with
the Lady Bike so Watts called me in for a very important meeting with the new
head of women’s marketing.  I didn’t know
if I could make the meeting at eleven because I had a five hour ride to do so
Watts ‘wrote a couple of emails’ and got the meeting pushed back to two.  It worked logistically because I wanted to
ride Mt. Hamilton, an amazing one and a half hour climb, that’s located closer
to Specialized.  The only hitch was I had
to wake up at five thirty in the morning to make it happen.  This meeting sounded really important so I
made it happen.  I was riding my bike by
eight thirty in the morning (this is a feat for me), had an amazing climb, and

rushed back to the Specialized headquarters. 
I got lunch, and Watts assured me that the meeting had been pushed back fifteen

minutes so I had time.   We were closing
in on the meeting, and I wanted to put my best foot forward and be on
time.  I asked Brad and Watts if there
was a to go container I could put my stir-fry in, and they said it was fine to
bring it.  It’s casual.  I didn’t really want to lead with stir-fry as
my first impression, which is why I asked again to leave it on Watts’
desk.  She insisted I bring it to the
meeting because, I later learned, her lady bike was leaning up against her
desk. She didn’t want me to see it.  I
very reluctantly stepped into the meeting room with Brad, Watts, and a bowl of stir-fry.

I had no idea.  I
walked past my lady bike and assumed it was Watts’.  Her bike seemed like the perfect start to
this meeting.  I didn’t see my nametag on
the bike.  Brad, Watts, and I ended up

sitting there awkwardly in silence for a bit. 
I was wondering why Brad was in the women’s marketing meeting, but I was

glad to have him there.  I was also wondering
where everyone else was.  They were just
waiting for me to realize that this was my bike.  My ‘Davison’ nametag did eventually catch my
eye and I said, “you guys, if this is a joke, this is a really cruel
joke.”  I had thought they put my nametag
on Watts’ bike.  It took me some time to
actually believe that this was my bike.  I
choked up.  There is literally a lot of
blood, sweat, and tears that go into a race season.  To have my friends recognize all of the hard
work that goes into bike racing for Specialized and to value this hard work
means the world.  Brad and the Specialized
Racing staff already goes above and beyond for our races.  But to have Brad not only go the extra mile but
also a marathon for this bike left me speechless.  This is more than just a road bike.  This is a piece of art.  This is the coolest bike I have ever
seen.  This is the best thank you I could
have ever recieved. 

 Watts and I with both the Lady Bikes

The Lady Bike in the Wild

Thank you Brad, Emily, and the army behind the scenes that
it took to make this happen.  Gratitude,
extra stoke, and more motivation is the best way to kick off a big season.  I am grateful beyond words.