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.
Learn more at Pelotonia.org.
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).
On top of acquiring partners and planning for the event, I took on additional responsibilities:
- Recruitment of Riders from the OSU Medical Center (great help from Mike Caligiuri and the OSUMC staff).
- Develop analytical tools to track rider signups with Andy Hutter
- Build upon our website to incorporate a social-layer and dynamic content with @ahut, Matt Pazaras Abigail Flynn and Peter Feigin of MGXLab.
- Build an ecommerce website, and procure goods to keep the gear-flowing at our seasonal web-store pelotoniastore.com.
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.
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.
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…
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…
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.