Although we’re based in Los Angeles, a few of us at Coeur have roots in the South. Georgia to be precise. Now, while there are certainly things about the south that aren’t perfect (have you seen what humidity can do to your hair?), there are some traditions that warm our hearts.
For one thing, people generally say hello when passing on the sidewalk (and many times on the bike). Try that in LA, and you’re likely to be put on a watch list. We know it's just a courtesy, but there’s something that feels good about being acknowledged (even superficially) and encouraged, to have a good day.
Another Southern practice is known as “visiting”. In the more rural areas, it is not uncommon to grab a couple of small gifts (frequently fresh fruit or vegetables), and head over to a neighbor’s house to “visit”. Sometimes these sessions are preceded with a call to notify the recipient of the visit, but on occasion, the guests just show up with a paper bag of whatever fresh food is being harvested at the time in hand.
They are always greeted warmly and invited in so that friends can catch up. There’s rarely a formal reason for the meeting and the conversation will often just meander around randomly on its own accord.
That’s sort of what we were thinking as we wrote this blog. So many of you have supported us along the way at Coeur and we don't want to lose touch. It’s been a very busy couple of months and now that the year is closing in on the end, let's "visit".
So, where do we start? I've got it. How about a brief chat about the 2017 line that made a debut Interbike.
2017 Line: We’re very excited about the 2017 line. We've got some great new designs and new products coming out soon. We're fortunate to have an amazing team of ambassadors who provide suggestions and ideas on new items and enhancements to the existing line. Thanks to the proximity to our Los Angeles factory, we can test these ideas quickly and roll them into new items where it makes sense. We showed the new gear at the biggest bike show in North America (Interbike) this year and the reception was fantastic. Now, we're in production and seem to be making daily trips to the factory to make sure everything is perfect.
The team at Interbike with some of the 2017 Line in the background
While Interbike is a lot of hard work, it's also fun and it provides a unique opportunity to catch up with our peers and chat about the industry.
Endurance Sports: Speaking of "The Industry" (in this case, Biking and Triathlon), there was a degree of hand wringing going on at Interbike this year. Many industry veterans sensed that things were slowing down and everyone seemed to be asking for someone to "Do Something". Throughout the show, we were frequently asked by other exhibitors "how the show was going for us". While we felt a tiny bit uncomfortable since the show was our best one ever, we still left wondering if there was anything that we could do to get people off their sofa and out to the pool, road, or trail.
Now clearly, there are some macro issues in play such as the economy and demographic changes, but we hope that, even as a small company, we can "move the needle" so to speak. It seems to us that two things might help. First, we hope that all the experienced cyclists, triathletes, and runners remember what it's like to be a "newbie" and take a minute to say hello to the person next to them in transition, on the road, or on the trail. We know that sounds trivial, but we honestly think it will go a long way in having triathlon, cycling, and running make a great first impression on the new entrants and that can be really important.
Second, we think something needs to be done about cycling safety. Especially here in the U.S. Much more to come on that topic, but we'd love to hear from anyone reading this blog about what you think can be done to help.
Not long after Interbike, we headed over to Kona.
Ironman Hawaii: We always look forward to spending a week of October in Kailua/Kona and this year did not disappoint. We’ve always said that there are actually three different ways to see Ironman Hawaii. As an athlete, as a spectator, and as someone in the industry.
While clearly, the athletes are the stars of the show, the industry side is quite interesting. The days are a pleasant blur of events, meetings with potential athletes, partnership discussions with other brands, and of course plenty of time in the booth at the expo.
Erin Klegstad stopped by the booth in Kona before heading out on a practice ride
On Tuesday of race week, we had a team photo shoot with Jay Prashun. The team looked fantastic as they posed for a few group shots and modeled some of the new 2017 line.
Then, we spent Thursday in our underwear at the annual Underpants Run.
The Coeur Team with Mike Wien from Atlanta
Of course the big show is the race and starting Friday, the atmosphere changes as all eyes turn toward the athletes. After bike check, the town that was buzzing goes quiet and everyone takes a deep breath in preparation for the day of racing and spectating.
Then on Saturday morning, before dawn, the show begins.
Andrea puts in "Race Day Braids" as Hailey eats a bit of breakfast before the sun comes up on race day.
We were so happy to cheer all day and eventually see everyone come across the finish line.
There really is something magical about the Big Island and we're already counting the days until Kona 2017.
Not Done Yet: Once upon a time, we viewed Ironman Hawaii as a ceremonial end to the endurance sports season. Now, we’re glad to note that the season doesn’t really ever end (please don’t say “just like this blog post!). The very next day we got to follow the results at Ironman Louisville where Barbara Perkins punched her ticket to Kona 2017.
After a short pause we got to cheer for Kara LaPoint at Xterra Worlds.
Xterra Worlds is incredibly tough. Fortunately, Kara is as well.
Now we’re getting ready to cheer for everyone in Florida, then head over to Tempe for Ironman Arizona!
The Ambassador Program: We launched our Call for Athletes not long before Kona and have carved out time to review each of the almost 1,300 applications that we received. We’re finishing up the review process and will make the announcement by the end of this week. We know that we tend to have quite a few repeat Ambassadors, so this year we are adding about 50 additional spots so we're sure to get some great new members on the team. Plus, we're trying to pay particular attention to people who have applied in the past.
We continue to structure the program so that the ambassadors get everything (their race kit, hat, t-shirts etc.) for free with no obligation to purchase anything.
Now this isn’t entirely altruistic. Instead, we do this, because we believe it gives us the ability to ask the ambassadors to not only promote endurance sports, but to also insist that they are “nice people”. Maybe we’re over thinking it, but we think that if they had to buy their gear (even at a discount), we lose a bit of the moral high ground that allows us to insist that they promote the lifestyle of health and fitness and that they do their best to encourage others to take up endurance sports.
Our belief is that if our ambassadors can draw new women into endurance sports, we’ll get our fair share of customers thanks to the quality of our clothing. Sure, some of the new entrants may go to some of the other fantastic brands in the industry, but that’s ok because, inevitably, “a rising tide lifts all boats”.
In any event, if you applied, please hang on. We'll be announcing the team soon. Also, we know that there will inevitably be people we'd love to bring on to the team, but couldn't this year because of cost reasons. We'd ask that you please apply again in the future and please continue to be great representatives for endurance sports.
Of course, even if you didn't apply and even if you never wear a single Coeur garment, we hope you'll do your best to encourage others to live a lifestyle of health and fitness.
Ok, I suppose, we’ve taken enough of your time. Thank you so much for supporting Coeur and thank you for letting us drop in. We thoroughly enjoyed our “Visit”.
Happy Training & Racing!
Your friends at Coeur