Chalk up another team victory for the Garmin-Cervélo pro-cycling team! No, this wasn't through the wine country in the Tour of California, it wasn't within the French country-side during the Tour de France, nor was it in the Rockies during last week's USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado -- this was in our own backyard, Olathe, KS.
Yesterday, Garmin employees, guests and VIPs totaling nearly 300 strong came out to our World Headquarters to ride with members of the Garmin-Cervélo pro cycling team to honor their success, and to raise funds and awareness towards Bike MS. As the three o'clock hour approached, the clouds parted, the sun began to shine and smiling faces were a plenty. It was a true showing of the "Garmination", as riders were covered in argyle and team apparel from head to toe."What an amazing opportunity and event," said Dan Hughes, owner of Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop in Lawrence, KS. "To be given the chance to ride with guys of this caliber -- who we have all watched on TV all year -- is simply priceless and something I will remember for years to come."
Groups consisting of 75 cyclists (and countless Edge and Forerunner devices) set out in waves each led by two Garmin-Cervélo pros, and formed their own pelotons as they rolled south through the streets of Olathe. One rider, local resident David Conrad, who still competes at the national and worlds level in the masters-cyclocross, made sure to get into Christian Vande Velde's (VDV) group as he used to race with VDV's father and even raced with the father and uncle of Garmin's Peter Stetina who was also in attendance.
Riders of all abilities and ages took turns spinning their wheels next to pros Ryder Hesjedal, Tom Danielson, the fan favorite and part-time super hero Dave Zabriskie, Dan Lloyd, Tom Peterson, and youngster Danny "Summy" Summerhill asking questions about training, nutrition and anything else they could spit out while huffing and puffing trying to keep up. Team founder, Director Sportif and former world-class cyclist Jonathan Vaughters could also be found in team kit and chatting it up with the riders around him during this 20-mile ride.
At the "finish line" participants mingled with the team and enjoyed generous giveaways from Slipstream Sports, Clif Bar, and local companies Spin Pizza and Boulevard Brewing Company (a cold beverage waiting at the line will make anyone ride 2-3 mph faster, any day!) After the camera flashes stopped and stories were exchanged, it was time for the team bus to roll out and let the boys in argyle head to their respective homes for a week of R&R before continuing their epic season. While at home, these guys, along with the cyclists in attendance, will keep a close eye on teammate Dan Martin and the other team members competing in the Vuelta a España.
Here is a toast to knowing that there are world-class professional athletes who are down to earth, caring, and never lose touch of the passion and excitement that cycling brings fans all across the globe -- and we are proud to embrace them as part of the Garmin family!