While I feel lighter after getting all of my feelings out in my last post, I do feel the need to balance it by expressing thanks to the people/companies who helped me during the years that I bike raced out of Memphis.
Like I said- there are definitely a handful of people who weren’t bullies or jerks, and those people are still sticking around reading and watching my adventures to this day. Y’all know who you are. I do, too. I really appreciate your kindness. No, really… Those last few years in Memphis, I was having a hard time with depression, anxiety, and PTSD from getting hit by a car at Rouge Roubaix, and seeing a wave on the road/trail or having a friendly face in the bike shop sometimes felt like all that was keeping me going.
I had some really good local sponsors, too.
Outdoors Inc. stuck with me while I was trying to hustle sponsors from all over to support my endurance and cyclocross racing campaigns, and they support other local athletes as well. They’re a good employer and one of Memphis’ only outdoor-knowledgeable places to shop.
Nimblewear Clothing is another excellent company. I’ve worn my kits from them until they’ve become embarrassingly thin in the shorts. Not only are their clothes and designs awesome, but they were willing to flow me a couple of special one-ofs, like the short sleeve Interbike CX-Vegas skinsuit. I still wear that one on occasion.
Urban Fitness Kickboxing is also one, not necessarily cycling-related. I’ve explained my past curiosity of MMA here before, and Jon Trent at UFK was willing to take me under his wing and show me how to fight. Sure, it ended up with me having an extra broken nose, but, well, you don’t always win. I learned that long before I ever tried fighting off of two wheels. When he sold the gym to new owner Eric Ingram, Eric was happy to let me keep coming in to train Jiu Jitsu with him. When I got to The Training Camp in Denver, the comment I got from the first roll with an instructor was, “someone put a lot of time in to you.” Jon and Eric are good people. Coaching someone takes so much mental and physical energy that I don’t know if I can ever do enough to repay them for their help.
Moving on to the regional level, I want to shoutout to Industry Nine and Cysco Cycles. While they weren’t in Memphis, they were close enough to have a local-regional feel to them. I still love I9 hubs more than other hubs. Way more. I just can’t always afford to build wheels with them when a stock bike comes with something that’s “OK enough” to not bother me. Cysco built me two amazing custom titanium bikes, but, now that I’ve searched the interwebs, I realize that they are not around anymore. Kinda sucky. The unicorn of a road bike was extra-amazing.
Finally, even though they aren’t at all regional to the South, I have to send one last extra shoutout to Gu Energy Labs. They have literally sponsored me, in some way, shape, or form, since the beginning… like, used to have to fill out a paper order form and fax it in beginning. I’ve gone to races I wouldn’t have been able to go to with their help. This year is no different- I’m in the 2018 Salty’s Squad, which gives me some extra stoke to train for my upcoming adventures.
Thanks to everyone who has helped me. I appreciate each and every one of you, whether it was through sponsorship or just the act of “being nice,” you’ve all helped me more than you probably realized.