My oldest brother Jeff was a bike junkie. He was obsessed with bikes, and our basement, which was constantly filled with Jeff’s bike projects, was the proof.
Every couple of weeks, Jeff would beg my mother to take him to the dump where he would scope out discarded treasures. Occasionally I would trail along (as that is what little sisters do), and it was on these trips that my bike education began. One bike had a great frame but a broken derailleur. Another had workable shifters. This bike needed only a new paint job. That one had terrific rims. According to Jeff, the frame was the soul of the bike and the parts were its beating heart. My brother would haul home his treasures, break the bikes down, and then reassemble the mishmash into workable riding machines. He built road bikes, mountain bikes, and even a “ski bike” made by attaching a frame, seat, and handle bars to an old set of skis. Today, in our barn, we still have a mountain bike that Jeff refurbished some 25 years ago, and every summer we use it to travel dirt roads and grassy paths to remote fly fishing pools and streams in Maine’s back country.
After completing my first triathlon in 2009 (on a bike Jeff had purchased in France 15 years earlier, no less) I consulted with my brother and under his guidance splurged on my first NEW bike – a gorgeous Cervelo S1 road bike. I fell in love. When I decided to really give triathlon a serious go and decided to purchase a time trial bike, there was only one choice for me – a Cervelo P-3. And when it came to components, I chose two brands I knew and respected (and of course had the Jeff Piampiano stamp of approval) – Shimano and ISM saddles. I have since ridden on that bike with that seat and those components for the entirety of my triathlon career, including my top 5 finish at the Ironman World Championships this last year. I love it to pieces, and I know it has been a huge part of my success in the sport.
When I turned pro a few months ago, I got to work setting up sponsorships and partnering with brands for the 2012 season. I felt strongly about working only with companies whose brands I use, love, believe in, and can endorse emphatically.
The outcome? I am now sponsored by my cycling dream team. The soul of my bike is in the hands of the folks at Cervelo. The beating heart of my bike is in the hands of Shimano and ISM Saddles. In addition, I have partnered with CycleOps Power, which has been my source for all things power over the past few years. Brands I know. Brands I love. And brands I have believed in from the start of this incredible journey.
As I approach my first race of the season (which is now only 3 weeks away!) I look back and remember how far I have come, and look forward to all the lies ahead. All of these companies have worked so hard to come up with designs that permit athletes to excel. Now it is up to me to use the incredible tools I have been given to do them proud. I want to validate their confidence in me with superior performance to match their superior designs and technologies.
A HUGE thanks to my brother, Jeff. I love you so much. Thank you for your unconditional love, support, guidance, and teaching me about the heart and soul of cycling.
Until next time.
Don’t Dream It. Be It.