My startup story: Pelotonia

Pelotonia has a special place in my heart (as it does for many). During 2009, I was part of a dedicated team, working day-and-night to create the inaugural Pelotonia ride. Fueled by the passion and the support of an entire community, Pelotonia 09 raised $4.5MM for cancer research @thejamesosu.

I can honestly say that being part of Pelotonia was, and still is the greatest thing that I have ever done with my life.

Pelotonia 09 opening ceremonies

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Pelotonia 09

Pelotonia 09 Lance Armstrong

For me, the year 2009 meant a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of white-boards, a lot of phone calls, a lot of discussions with vendors, a lot of pitching this new-concept to everyone I met, a lot of keeping a moleskine on my bed-side table for those ‘ah-ha’ moments that come to you in the middle of the night.

That year, I was charged with the task of identifying and procuring everything and anything that was needed to pull off a major, multi-faceted event.  This 3-day event turned out to host 2,265 Riders and total attendance was over 10,000 people (spread throughout 180-miles of Ohio’s country side).  Catering for major meals, ice at rest-stops (each one about 15-20 miles apart), crisply-branded signage, infrastructure for chutes and trusses, audio-production for 3-concerts (opening ceremonies hosted by Jesse Itzler, featuring a speech by honorary Pelotonia Rider Lance Armstrong, @presidentgee, and musical guests Matt Nathanson and Michelle Branch).

Pelotonia 09 Lance Armstrong

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On top of acquiring partners and planning for the event, I took on additional responsibilities:

  1. Recruitment of Riders from the OSU Medical Center (great help from Mike Caligiuri and the OSUMC staff).
  2. Develop analytical tools to track rider signups with Andy Hutter
  3. Build upon our website to incorporate a social-layer and dynamic content with @ahut, Matt Pazaras Abigail Flynn and Peter Feigin of MGXLab.
  4. Build an ecommerce website, and procure goods to keep the gear-flowing at our seasonal web-store

What is Pelotonia? Pelotonia 09 opening ceremonies

Thank god for amazing partners like Stuart Hunter of roll, who made our ecommerce possible; Kaity Kwock at Slover and Company, who collaborated for countless hours on brand-design for everything from hats, socks, jerseys, marketing materials, and Tees; Pete Scantland and Nathan Lemle of Orange Barrel Media, who collaborated on mass amounts of outdoor signage, trusses, chouttes, and opening ceremonies signage.

Pelotonia 09 chuette graphics Pelotonia 09 Marketing

I worked 80 to 100+ hours/week and never felt the pain (or I was just numb from the fatigue).  When the event was over, when Riders had finished, when we had packed everything up into trucks and finally went home - I found myself in awe of what just happened, of what we had just accomplished, as a team, as a community, a society fighting against the epidemic of our time.

What is Pelotonia? Pelotonia 09 chuette graphics

To sum it up: the role of Pelotonia Director of Procurement was something of a task to behold; the challenge of a lifetime - _and so worth it. _ So how do you motivate yourself to pull something like this off?  Just watch…

Pelotonia 10

Pelotonia 2010

I road 103-miles, from Columbus to Athens, that day. Until the morning of Pelotonia 10, my longest ride to-date was 60-miles (a training ride from the previous year). I had been training for @Pelotonia all summer, along lake Michigan, fighting the winds that blow across the shores of Chicago, but only 30-miles at a time. I’m happy to say that I made the 100-miles with only a sore rear.

A familiar face and conversation kept me moving for the first 40-miles (even with a flat front tire from miles 30-40), but I wasn’t ready for what was ahead…

Pelotonia 2010

As I approached the big-hill at mile-53 (a 3/4-mile hill at a 5-6% grade) I started remembering driving/scouting that section while we were planning the route and always claiming that it could be done - time to prove it.

Just at the moment when I thought I wouldn’t be able to get up the hill, I saw the first poster, hand-made by a volunteer. This was one of the very posters that were featured in the opening-video the night before… a surge of energy/emotion/adrenalin came over me and I passed poster-after-poster, I made it up the hill that afternoon without stopping once.

I can’t find the words to describe how I felt when I crossed the finish-line that afternoon, but I can say that I had finally finished something that I had been dreaming about for 2-years.


What is Pelotonia? What is Pelotonia?

Pelotonia 09 Marketing Pelotonia 09 Marketing Pelotonia 09 Marketing

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