Well, the books have been closed on 2016 and…wow…what a year. For the next week or so, we’ll be in that “in between” phase where we simultaneously reflect on the year that was and look forward to the future.
As for “looking back”, it seems that negative news frequently gets more air time than it deserves. We suppose that’s human nature, but we’d prefer to focus on the positives. Sure there were some events that got us down, but there were many more that lifted us up.
Throughout the year, we had the privilege of watching almost every manner of endurance sports “first”. We got to see friends tackling their first sprint triathlon, their first century ride, their first marathon, their first Ironman distance race and their first trip to a World Championship.
Frequently, we’d find out about an upcoming "first race ever" during a customer's shopping process. The individual might mention something to the effect of “I’m doing my first triathlon and don’t know what to wear.” Then Ash, who is our fabulous leader for the customer experience, would simultaneously help them out and send out a note to everyone on the Coeur team asking us to cheer for them (which we gladly did).
We distinctly remember what it was like before that first big event and we can honestly say that having someone elect to wear Coeur for their big moment, just gives us goose bumps.
Kristi Gerath completing her first Ironman
Erin Klegstad finishing Kona for the first (but not last) time
In addition to “firsts”, we also got to witness quite a few “again” moments and trust us, they were equally incredible. We got to see some of you line up for iconic races like the Boston Marathon again and we watched proudly as many of you earned repeat visits to the Big Island for Ironman Hawaii.
Hailey Manning powered her way on the Podium Again in Kona
Wait...is this a "First" or an "Again"? Kate wins an Ultraman again, but for the first time it's the World Championships.
On the business front, Coeur had an unbelievably good year. We say this not to brag, but because it hopefully proves our thesis that a company based on inclusion, quality, and kindness can thrive in this industry. We’re growing, adding team members, and connecting with an increasing number of customers. Those are certainly things we hope to do again, again…and again!
So, let’s spend a few moments and chat about the future. We’ll try to not talk about Coeur specifically even though we do have some awesome new gear in the works! Rather, we’d love to share some thoughts that are a bit more global in nature.
Recently, an industry publication asked us to contribute some predictions on what changes might come to the endurance sports world. We wouldn’t say we’re expert prognosticators by any stretch, so this might be more of a wish list than a prediction, but here’s what we said:
1. Greater pressure on age group athletes to "race clean". Unlike pro sports, the average Jane (or Joe) can have an impact in the endurance sports market in the U.S. Some of the more socially prolific athletes have tremendous influence and they can and will make their voices heard. It’s clear that the people we follow want a clean and fair sport and they will force the issue. Combine that with the arrival of non-profit organizations like the Clean Sport Collective and we think the message is clear. Cheaters beware!
2. Made in the USA. Ok, yes..this is a bit self-serving, but thanks to the shorter supply chains and high quality, we hope/expect to see an increase in products produced in the USA. The days of enormous product runs in China may be gone as we move to a more "Just in time" production process where exceptionally high quality products are produced in smaller batches.
3. Pros and Brands collaborate. We’ve frequently opined on the issue of pay for professionals in endurance sports. We try to do our little part by including guaranteed cash in all of our deals, but, in the grand scheme of things, we’re tiny and know that something systemic will have to change. We’re hopeful that the new Collins Cup will help, but it’s still too early to tell. One thing that we do think will happen is that brands and pros will begin to deepen their collaboration. After all, their goals are not mutually exclusive. Pros want to have the financial freedom to train and race full time while making a decent living and brands want to align with like-minded individuals who help them sell more product.
In the future, we hope/expect that pros will work more closely with their sponsors to engage customers and draw new participants (who ultimately need gear and services) into the sport. Being fast won't be enough. The pro of the future will be fast and engaging! Case and point...Ultraman World Champion Kate Bevilaqua. If you have a moment, check out this great video she and Guy put together at the end of the season for her sponsors.
Ok, so those are a few of our predictions. We may be off base, but day in and day out, we see how transformative endurance sports can be, so we’re positive about 2017 and we’re looking forward to a great year.
Happy Training and Racing Everyone!
Your Friends at Coeur
Hey..why are you still reading? The blog is over. Go on...get some training in or something. You’re a busy person.
Ok…you’re still here. Here’s one more for you. This is a quote from Author C. Clarke that we wanted to use, but just couldn’t fit into the blog. “The only thing that we can be sure of the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic.” Pretty good huh.