Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fall 2010 technical t-shirt graphics preview - part II

Wow, everyone, thanks for the comments! We definitely see a trend on the women's side for v-necks. Please note that this has been "noted", along with the requests for tank tops/singlets.

We're glad that everyone seems to like the graphics. But we also realize that not everyone will like everything, so we'll try our hardest to cover as many style bases as we can.

We got a lot of comments about darker colors and heat. This is noted too. I'll be working on a new set of graphics with lighter garment styles in mind over the weekend. Also, when we get to the point where we start choosing the final designs, expect multiple color ways and/or men's and women's sizing in most cases.

Anyway, here are two more. Since these are simpler "verbage" designs, the color ways are wide open. Well, except for "I Am An Endurance Athlete" needs to stay on lighter colors so you can use the marker that'll come with it to write your name.

We see these two designs as possibilities for men's and women's. What do you think?

Please keep the input coming, it's super helpful!

- Patrick

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fall 2010 technical t-shirt graphics preview - part I

As you can imagine, we are busy working on our 2011 cut and sew products. But we didn't want to wait too long to put some stuff out, so we will be launching a line of technical t-shirts in October.

Since there is so much stuff already available that essentially consists of a garment and a branded logo, we figured we'd take a left turn into a more art/graphic approach. Personally, my favorite t-shirts are the ones I randomly find while I'm traveling and/or not necessarily "shopping". I've got a great "Havana, Cuba" shirt I picked up in Key West a few years ago. I've got a "Runners High" shirt from a running store I was walking by a few towns away from where I live. When I saw the tee in the window, I knew I had to have it. And I'd give almost anything to get my hands on one of those 1970's style color gradient t-shirts with a sunset and palm tree graphic that says "Hawaii '78" or something like that. Love those.

By making a "left turn", we quickly realized that there (somewhat ironically) are so many directions we could go in. Over the last week, we've come up with about 15 designs, and we'll post a bunch of them over the next few days. We'd love to know what you think, so don't be shy.

As you will see, the tee's will come in an assortment of colors and sleeve lengths. Some of the graphics will be specific to men or women, while some graphics will be universal.

The garments themselves will be constructed from a high quality technical polyester wicking fabric. And they will fit awesome.

So here are the first 2 (click the image to make larger):

"Buddha" women's technical tee. This style will include an Endurance Athlete Project logo printed on the center back.

"Endurance Revolution" men's technical tee.

We look forward to hearing from you guys. And please tell your other endurance sport friends, we'd love their opinions too.

- Patrick

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What fuels you?

Train, recover, compete, repeat. This is the cycle we all follow to keep crossing the line, hopefully each time a little faster and perhaps hurting a little less. How do we do this? There is an endless succession of choices, a multitude of training programs at our fingertips in every magazine and on every triathlon web site.

Personally, I just do what I can when I can - I'm not good with schedules. As a triathlete it's even harder with three sports to conquer simultaneously. Then there's race day. Is this the big one, the one you've been gunning for? Or is it another race in a long season where you hope to finish well and gain strength and experience for the next?

To break down the choices we make on a daily basis from training through competition is overwhelming. Each one is important, at least to us. Gear selection and utilization in endurance sports is enough to overload any seasoned athlete. Volumes are filled with the analysis of weight, wind resistance and performance. Like everything, these choices are individual. And the choices are in the thousands.

Then there is nutrition.

Nutrition was something I was already passionate about before coming into multi-sport. Though there may be some lucky athletes who perform well on hamburgers and pizza, I'm not one of those.

I try to be pretty strict in my diet, limiting sugars and non-essential foods. Fortunately, I love vegetables and lean meat. But I miss donuts. When I see a donut shop it tries to pull me in. But when I remember the effort required to undo the indulgence, I move on. I look to find strength and confidence in what I eat. With each meal I try to guarantee my performance, actually hoping that somehow my fitness improves with each bite. Nobody is perfect, least of all me. I can start each day right and easily falter as the day goes on. But I start fresh every day.

My breakfast, though it took some time getting used to, has become a powerful fuel to energize my morning. It's a recipe suggested by a friend that I've modified somewhat.
- 3/4 cup egg whites
- 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal
- vanilla extract, stevia powder, cocoa, coconut, espresso, nuts etc. to taste

In a microwave safe container, cook for 2 minutes at (1) one minute and (2) thirty second intervals to allow for settling.

Together with some coffee and a glass of water, I'm set up good. Though I eat 6 meals a day, I feel this is the most important. There's enough protein and complex carbohydrates to give me my early day energy. When I do events out of town, this is something I can mix up the day before and cook in the hotel microwave - in fact it usually tastes better after it's been soaking for a day!

I'm sure there are other meal options that could work, but I know this works for me because it gives me confidence that I have been fueled up for the first part of my day.

What works for you? What's your formula for success? Is there a meal or snack that you can't do without?

- Riley

Riley is playing the part of Endurance Athlete Project's foreign correspondent this week, reporting in from India where he is traveling with his wife.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meet Kat Callaway

As I was watching the Tour last night, I was also surfing around the blogs. I don't remember exactly how I found Kat's blog, except that it was a link from a link from somewhere else. But when I saw the title - "This Is Why I Ride - LIVESTRONG 2010" - I had to check it out. After all, Lance was in the breakaway and I was rooting for him to get a stage win.

I read a couple posts and left a few comments, with one comment being a question about training. As a result, we were going back and forth on e-mail this morning. Once you see Kat's blog, it's immediately obvious she's on a mission with respect to her participation in endurance sports (in her case, Cycling). So I asked her about it, and she answered with this.

I got involved with the LIVESTRONG Challenge in 2008. Elianna, one of my students, was diagnosed with leukemia (AML) in June of that year. I did some research into the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which is where I discovered the Challenge. I got the family some support materials from the LAF and decided to get involved with Team Livestrong and participate in the 45 mile cycling challenge, riding in Elianna's honor.

I've been training for the 2010 ride and plan to hit the fund-raising trail pretty hard in the next month or so. This year, I will be riding in honor of both Elianna and a colleague of mine named Joyce, who was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. I'm riding to honor the strength and courage it has taken for them to become survivors.

Basically, I'm just a 43 yr. old teacher who is trying to get my creaky self in fighting shape to conquer this ride. This year, I've been training and really working hard to do what I can to be prepared for this ride. I really want to honor Elianna and Joyce by riding and finishing strong to show them how much their strength has inspired me. They are truly my heroes.
Stories like this are awesome. This is a triple win - Unbelievably special relationships are being forged between Kat, Elianna, Joyce, and their families, Kat is committed to raising money for a worthy cause, and Kat is doing something good for herself by riding her bike. I love it.

So thanks to Kat for sharing her story and thanks to everyone for reading it.


Kat Callaway's blog "This Is Why I Ride 0 LIVESTRONG 2010" can be found here. Check it out.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Athlete Support System

We all learn quickly that triathlon shows us who we are. This enlightenment doesn’t always agree with the vision we have of ourselves. It usually involves good news and bad news. An unexpected second wind can give us just enough to drop cyclists on a hill. We may not have the stamina we thought we trained for, but we make it across the line. For most age group athletes, that’s the reward. After that, we think about faster. We obsess about the precious seconds we can gain or lose from last minute tactical decisions. Late nights are spent laboring over training plans, gear selection, and strategy.

Through each course of a race we find ourselves. Alone, behind the pack in an ocean swim. Passing them on the bike. Trying to catch our breath in transition. All of these moments add up when we cross the finish, and tell us what we have inside. While we all have different reasons for trying (Tri•Ing!), the benefits we gain are equally diverse. Health, confidence, and inner strength are just a few of our rewards. An unexpected benefit, and perhaps the most satisfying, is what the experience says about the people around us - the non-competitors that are a part of our daily lives.

Through all the training and competition, my wife is there. In my daily progress, she prepares healthy meals she doesn’t have an interest in eating, helps me buy gear, and understands when I take off alone on my bike on a beautiful Saturday. I just completed (survived?), two weekends of sprint triathlons. These where my second and third events ever. She got up early on a rare day she’d get to sleep in, carried my food and beverage bag all day, and took pictures of me throughout the race. Hers was the lone voice I heard through the crowd in transitions and at the finish. Then, a fantastic and satisfying event was capped by friends showing up at our house with a barbeque feast and a full cooler. While I sat and recovered, they prepared a meal to celebrate my victory of finishing.

My next event was out of town. Instead of picking my wife up at the airport on the way, I traveled alone while she sat in the airport lounge in Heathrow, having been bumped from her return flight on a business trip. Being only a couple of hours from home, I had friends in the town the event was held. While having dinner out, they told the restaurant owner of my event the next day. Water glasses kept appearing at my side, as the owner urged me to hydrate for the big day. Waking at 4:30 a.m., an uncommon hour for me, I rushed bleary eyed to my car to find a note on the door. “Best Of Luck!!” it said. I grinned widely as I pictured my friends sneaking through the lot in the middle of the night to send me off to race with their confidence. I could have gone home at that point and considered my experience worthwhile. Instead I met up with another friend on the beach before the swim wave, who came to cheer and take pictures. He stayed through the finish, enduring ninety-degree heat in the early hours of his Sunday off.

After a well-earned nap, I woke to the neighbors, one of which helps me with strength training, preparing a cookout on my grill. The event itself faded as I marveled at the enormous support network I found myself amidst.

While triathlon can seem a selfish indulgence, it’s influence carries over to our friends, family, and even strangers. From a friend paddling along in a canoe to back us up on an open water swim to the mail carrier who marvels at our training and competition, we become part of something much bigger than the sport. A sport that is much bigger than the athletes. How has being an Endurance Athlete connected you to the world? Who is part of your team? How far will you go, and who’s coming along for the ride?

- Riley

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tour de France & thanks to everyone

Andy Schleck (left) and Alberto Contador (right)

I don't know about you, but I think the Tour de France is the one of the most epic examples of sport in the world. The race has over 100 years of history pitting man against the elements. It's past contains more than it's share of the good, bad and ugly. But despite all this (and perhaps because of this), the Tour encapsulates so much of the human spirit.

If you are a mechanical geek (like me), or a fan of human endurance (also like me), it's very easy to get sucked in. I like watching sports on television. But with the Tour, the 3-4 hours of daily coverage always leaves me wanting more. As I watch, I suffer from serious bike envy, and I really think that Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen are some of the best sports commentators out there. I'm watching it "quasi-live" right now, thanks to my DVR and a strict avoidance of all sports related news sources during the day. I'm looking forward to see how today ends, because there is a battle on the go. Andy Schleck is 41 seconds ahead of Alberto Contador in the general classification. I think one of these guys will win the Tour, but I'm not yet sure which one it will be. And today's mountain top finish may be advantage Contador, allowing him to take the yellow jersey. I'll know what happens (or actually happened this morning) in 70 kilometers. By the way, both of these guys ride Specialized. Riley and I like that.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the support and emails we've received since we've launched Endurance Athlete Project. It's been really motivating and equally as inspiring. We are thrilled to have received so many offers for product testers, and as we have said this is going to be key to getting our products right. If you emailed on this, thank you, and we've got you on a list. Once we get closer to actually having product to test, we will launch our testing/incentive program and start reaching out to you.

In the meantime, I'm working on building the community and Riley has started discussions with various potential manufacturing partners. In the next week or two, we'll release an online questionnaire asking all sorts of questions covering everything from color ways and prints to the all important fit questions. Hopefully you'll have a second to participate.

That's it for now. I hope everyone has a great weekend. If any of you are racing, make sure you post a photo on our Facebook page, we love the ones we've got so far.

- Patrick

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Launch of Endurance Athlete Project

Dear fellow endurance athletes,

Welcome to the launch of Endurance Athlete Project!

As you can read in our Mission Statement, we are a new company that will manufacture technical apparel for endurance athletes. However, we are not going to sit around and try to guess what our customers want. Instead, we are opening the doors from the very beginning and asking for input. We want to make you part of the design process. This process starts today.

Our initial "release board" is as follows (all in men's and women's):

- one piece triathlon suits

- two piece triathlon suits

- training/running tops and bottoms

- cycling jerseys

- cycling bibs/shorts

- swim suits/jammers

- performance accessories

- casual wear

click image for a larger view

As some of you may know, apparel design starts with visual illustrations using templates similar to the ones pictured above. Concurrently, we create patterns, scale them for sizing, and start sourcing potential fabrics and trims.

Once the design and sourcing phases are complete, we'll start making samples and then put them through some very serious performance testing. Once we are satisfied with the samples, we'll go into production

We 110% want and welcome your input with respect to our products - fit, fabrics, color ways/prints, and fit. Yes, we mentioned “fit” twice on purpose. We recognize that endurance athletes come in all shapes and sizes, and we are going to work very hard to accommodate bodies of all types.

If you would like to participate in the "brainstorming", please click here to read how we would like to get communication from you. We expect the design phase to run through September.

We will also be looking for product testers. If you are interested in working with us testing our products, please e-mail us.

We are aiming for a Spring 2011 ship date, though we do have a few pieces in mind for a fall release. We've been lucky enough to line up a few retailers to carry the line, but we also intend to focus heavily on online sales.

So we've got quite a bit of work to do. In the meantime, keep coming back to our blog as we'll be posting as much cool stuff as we can think of. Also, please "like" of us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. With respect to Facebook, the first thing we'd like everyone to do is upload one of your race photos and tell us the story about how you where feeling when the photo was taken. We've put up a couple of examples.

We'd really appreciate your help in spreading the word. If you could mention us in your blogs, that would be amazing. If you'd like to show the "love", there are some logos located here for your use.

Thanks in advance for your support. In all honesty, we're going to need it. But we are convinced that with your input we can create a new paradigm in performance athletic wear. And then everyone will win.

Thanks and speak to you soon,

Riley & Patrick

Founders - Endurance Athlete Project