Cervélo team-building event takes in Ironman racing
Cervélo once again led the bike count at the Ironman World Championship with over 400 of the 2,200 competitors riding one of the aerodynamic machines at triathlon’s most prestigious long-distance event. Cervélo has always had a strong connection with the triathlon community – founders Phil White and Gerard Vroomen found allies in the multisport community as they refined their quest to develop the fastest bike on the planet.
Ever eager to find the latest speedy innovation, it was the triathlon community that really embraced White and Vroomen’s then radical designs that included teardropshaped tubes and curved seat posts. Those of us who were involved in the sport 20 years ago can remember a time when the aerodynamic frames Cervélo produced were considered revolutionary.
Cervélo has become a major player in the bike industry these days, not just the triathlon world, but the sport remains close to the heart of the folks who work for the Toronto-based company. To celebrate that long-standing relationship and to give some of the people who work in the company a feel for the world of Ironman, a large contingent of Cervélo employees went to Ironman MontTremblant this year for a team-building experience. Six of them competed in the event, while another 30 took the opportunity to experience the triathlon.
The racing crew from Cervélo call themselves the Aero Pirates and the company has embraced the opportunity to support their employees in their fitness endeavours. One of the founders of the Aero Pirates, Glen Innes, was one of the Cervélo crew who did the race and couldn’t believe the support his co-workers provided.
“They were set up on one of the hills along the course and every time you went by there they were as loud as the finish line,” he said after the race. “It was almost a pain in the butt – you had to run up the hill with all the noise they were making. It meant so much to have all the guys here to watch.”
The company’s support goes beyond just race day, though. The company refunds employee’s entry fees, provides pool time and has recently built a gym at the office. In the Toronto office up to 30 employees have routinely joined lunchtime spin sessions, too. It wasn’t just Ironman competitors who got into the spirit of the racing – over 20 of the crew competed in a Recharge With Milk Triathlon Series event this summer, too. One, Ting Gong even learned to swim this summer so she could take part in her first triathlon.
While the crew enjoyed the party-like atmosphere of Ironman Mont-tremblant, it wasn’t all fun and games. Innes says that he couldn’t help but notice how watching thousands of athletes of all fitness levels and body types work their way through the 180 km bike course was an eye-opener for the Cervélo engineers.
“The chance to watch all the bikes go by and the positions that people are in was a fantastic opportunity for the guys,” he says. “It gives them an idea of the importance of usability and comfort. It’s not a 40 km full-out effort and then a trip to the team bus.”
The day couldn’t have gone much better for everyone from Cervélo. Mary Beth Ellis, a Cervélo-sponsored athlete, led pretty much from start to finish to take the overall women’s title, while Jacob Macel led the Cervélo crew from the Toronto office with a 9:49:48 clocking, putting him 11th in his age group. All of the Aero Pirates made it to the finish line on what was an extremely tough day, cheered on by their co-workers, who took in the atmosphere of an Ironman.
That experience is going to help Cervélo stay at the top of that Kona bike count list for a while to come.
Glen Innes one of the Aero Pirates founders, runs by his Cervélo colleagues at Ironman Mont-tremblant
Bevilaqua competing in Ironman Louisville which she would go on to win