Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A weekend of Bonding

My arms and back aren't sore anymore!

This weekend was the first meet and greet of the 2012 season for the HB Elite team. It was an opportunity to reunite with the teammates from last year and a chance to get to know the new guys before we are forced to go through airport security together at 4:50 am- a time of the day and a situation where you really get to see the true personality of a man.

Friday for me started out pretty normal. I was sitting in my car waiting for David, when this creature stared at me from across the road. It proceeded to stare into my eyes, through my cornea and into my iris, sliding right through my retina and directly past my cerebellum into my cerebral cortex and just grazing past my medulla oblongata. It walked across the street, pounced onto my car, and stood there, staring into the depths of my potential as a human. A direct sign of trust, and a haunting foreshadowing of the trust exercises to come.

Fast forward to downtown Seattle, where all 13 of us (on Friday the 13th #scary) got to spend some quality time inside the offices of Hagens Berman, AKA the penthouse suite of Seattle. After a 1/8th of a second elevator ride that took us 33 floors into the building, we sat down in a conference room, greeted by several pitchers of water that were chilled by ice cubes that were created as a result of the Titanic running into the iceberg, chipping off large chunks of ice that made their way into our pitchers. Or perhaps even if someone filled a plastic bucket with water, then froze that. Ice cold. We did some general team meetings, individual rider meetings, sponsor presentations, and video interviews.

Reps from Blue bikes/Cole Wheels and Shimano came to give us some knowledge on product that we will be using this season. It's pretty great to have utmost confidence in the product that we'll be racing on this year, and it was awesome that the Shimano reps brought in the shoe ovens to fit our new R315 kicks. We'll be using those shoes, Shimano pedals, Blue Axino SL frames, and a pretty wide range of Cole wheels. I'll usually be on the T-50s or the C-38s, but I'm looking forward to doing some racing on the super-light Ventoux wheelset also.

Alex and Mercedes from Shimano set Cody up with his shoes
Where we sat for awhile. Optimal

Here is a quick teaser of what is to come with our video interviews- The goal is to have footage throughout the season and use these as fillers as videos we do for sponsors. And by we I mean WingerStudios.Com, who is responsible for the video. Also, all pictures I'm using are from WingerStudios.Com, unless I took them with my cellphone. Or also there are pictures that Winger took with his cellphone, so that technically does mean that some of the cellphone pictures are WingerStudios, but if there is no studio does that mean that Winger didn't take the picture?


I'm not really sure how Kennett got onto that subject, since the questions were all about things like "what type of rider are you?" and "what's your favorite race?".

After our meeting at the firm was over, we had a slim amount of time to change into fancy clothes and get to a restaurant for dinner with Steve Berman, our title sponsor. Naturally, we decided to change in the parking garage, do up our ties in the reflective windows, and steam iron our shirts with our breath.

Problem. We get to the van in the parking garage and notice that it has a flat tire. Since we are late, we decide to walk to dinner, to deal with the flat later. So we all change. Then someone has the bright idea to check to see when the parking garage gets locked up, and that time is troubling. That time means that now the flat tire must be changed BEFORE dinner, which means now 13 guys with little to no experience wearing fancy clothes must change a tire WITHOUT getting clothes dirty. We all succeeded except Kennett, and his clothes were definitely not dirty before starting the changing process. And by we all, I mean that three or four people changed the flat.

Now you might be asking "Ian, who was the most stylish, as well as most properly dressed for this occasion, besides you?" That is a good question since clearly I pulled off the fancy dinner clothes look the best, but I'd have to say that Cody was the next stylish. And I chose that because he wore the exact same color combinations as I did.

After dinner we went back to our hotel for the night. Before going to sleep, us locals (David, Colin, Steve, Winger and I) decided we should show the out-of-towners the Space Needle and Seattle Center. So we walked there and checked it out. It was quite majestic in the evening light.

Saturday morning we headed to Gravitec, who are one of our sponsors. We all were quite excited for the fun that was to be had. Kennett unfortunately caught some sort of 12hr bug (seafood?) so he didn't sleep well but he still was raring to go.

Gravitec is a company who specializes in fall protection for people who work at heights. They also do corporate team building activities- and we were able to participate in both of those throughout the course of the day. Here are some things that we did-
  • Human chain
  • Four way Tug-a-war (in which Jesse, Chris, and Myself were clearly superior to the other teams but lost due to ... weather)
  • Eight people standing on one milk crate (in the snow- Picture a movie where the protagonist finally accomplishes something they've been looking to do for their whole lives and as the rain falls in slow motion and fireworks explode into the air the characters throw up a fist pump in excitement and pound their chest in a slow-motion, excitement-filled frenzy)
  • Trust activities
  • Trust falls
  • Harness related repels
  • Rope climbing
  • Ping pong ball moving team exercise
  • Floating pvc pipes
  • Burritos
  • Leadership stuff
These activities were set up so the task gradually got more and more difficult throughout the day, and we were able to see our progression as a team. We all took something out of this experience, and it was cool to see some peoples inner-leader come out.

Here are some of those fancy Winger Studios pictures I was talking about-

Human Chain- My legs are currently a... tunnel for Colin....

David falls into our soft, supple & trusting arms

Schmitz gets his 100 ft of rope climb on

Rescue simulation

4-way Tug-o-War

Cody, David, Myself, and Jesse manipulate the elastic to try and grab the paint can

Pictures say a thousand words, so this blog post was 13,000 + words in length. So Kennett may have posted first, but well, yeah. These exercises proved A) how competitive we are and B) how well we work as a team.

I give my advanced apologies for every soul we crush this year in Bike Racing tournaments.

1 comment:

  1. it was a close toss up: do I wait for the pictures to come out so people will read my blog? or do I vomit up some words real fast to get the news out first before Ian? seeing these fancy wingerstudios.com photographs makes me wish I'd been more patient.