Guaranteed Adventure

Here we are with Joe Cruz (the one in the blazer), the night he picked up his new Treeline SL from the shop. A philosophy professor during daylight hours, at all other times of year Joe is compulsive traveler and a committed back country cyclist. We wrapped this bike Tuesday night, and tomorrow Joe leaves for Alaska, where he’ll swap over to studded tires for a week of glacier exploration outside of Anchorage.

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We count ourselves lucky to be able to work with riders like Joe and Jeff Curtes and Daniel Sharp and Matt and Mo Bruno Roy, and of course countless others who use our bikes to find and share big adventures.

As kids, we remember pedaling away from home, disappearing for hours at a time, going wherever our wheels would take us, and the chance to recapture that sense of exploration and adventure now is really priceless.

Watch this space for more from Joe as well as the rest of Seven’s sponsored, encouraged, and inspired riders. The adventure is guaranteed.

New Bike Day

BradfordNewBikeDayNew bike day is a special day, even if you spend all day, every day building bikes. Our own Bradford Smith, Drifter extraordinaire, built himself a new bike a few weeks ago, and he’s got that little kid gleam in his eye ever since.

Never one to dream small dreams, Brad’s idea was to put together a machine he could race cross country on, and by “cross country” of course we mean literally across the country. The Trans-Am Bike Race leaves June 6th from Astoria, OR and ends in Yorktown, VA.

Here he is the night of final assembly in the MM Racing service course with good friend Matt Roy, master mechanic and cross-country racing accomplice.

And here is the bike below, ready for a shake out ride, packed for travel. Stay tuned for a lot more updates on this particular adventure.

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On Course at CX Nationals with Mo Bruno Roy

We finally got the chance to catch up with Mo Bruno Roy after her National Championship winning ride in the single-speed race last week in Austin. She got to Austin via the Resolution Cross Cup in Dallas, where she got on the podium one of the two days in the Women’s Elite category, so she was feeling good coming into Nationals.

She says, “Early in the week (Ed: before the course turned to a muddy bog and the racing was postponed), it was dry and fast, which doesn’t really suit my strengths, but there was an off-camber, twisty section and there were three run-ups, where I thought I could make some time.”

With nearly 40 women in the field, the single-speed race more than doubled in size from 2014, and the talent reflected that growth. Zilker Park in Austin was packed with racers from all over the country, and while things went a little awry later in the week, the single-speed races went off without a hitch on Wednesday.

Mo says, “The hardest part of the race was actually a block headwind of 20-30mph you had to fight through at the beginning of every lap. For the first three laps I had 10 seconds, and at that point one mistake can kill you. I don’t normally think about that, but the announcers are saying it over and over again, which isn’t all the way helpful. I mean, you hear them. They give you the gap, which is good information, but they can also plant the seed of doubt if you let them. So at that point, I just tried to focus on what I was doing. The ground was loose and slippery, so I couldn’t go fast through the off-camber section. I had to make my time on the run ups.”

CM1_4591In the end, she had 40 seconds on the nearest competition and was able to celebrate alone-in-photo. This was her ‘A’ race for the year, the goal she wrote down on paper before a single race had gone off, so winning validated her plan to shift focus to races that are more fun. It was a big departure from her previous World Cup campaigns.

She says, “I seem to enjoy single-speed events throughout, not just afterwards. World Cup racing is really stressful, and single-speed isn’t like that, so that’s been working for me. As defending champ, I felt pressure. I was supposed to win, so after this one I felt a little relief, a little happiness. Mostly I was glad not to have to ride into that headwind anymore.”

If it is possible to say how proud we are to work with Mo too many times, we hope we never get there. It’s hard to describe how good it is to see good people do good things on your bikes.

See more of Mo’s bike here, here, here and here. Connect with MM Racing here. Or watch a post-race interview with Mo here.

Photos by the talented Chris McIntosh.

 

Mo Bruno Roy – Single Speed CX National Champ AGAIN

We don’t like it when a big win, say a National Championship, gets billed as a title “defense” just because the rider won last year, too. Defense has negative connotations for us, whereas, winning a bike race, especially on a technical, cyclocross course is about attacking every corner, every rise, about riding your own race, rather than playing defense.

Here’s a great interview with two-time Single-Speed Cyclocross National champion Mo Bruno Roy, done by Cyclocross Magazine, just after the finish where she explains how she did it.

Check back next week, when we’ll have some pictures and an exclusive interview with Mo about her exploits in Austin.

Behind the Scenes with MM Racing

By now, you know Matt and Mo as two of our favorite sponsored-riders. We have written about their exploits recently here and here. What you might not know about Matt and Mo is that together, under the banner of MM Racing, they are two of the savviest riders/racers in the game.

Matt explains, “MM Racing is really about being our own title sponsor, our own sports marketing company. In 2008, when we teamed up with Seven Cycles and secured product sponsorship for bikes and clothing, we still found ourselves without a title sponsor. At that time, we realized that we were actually our own financial “sponsors” and created our own team name using our first initials. For the next two years, MM Racing served as a place holder or “Your Name Here” for potential title sponsors. In 2010, Bob’s Red Mill filled that spot for us. We remain our own team managers and organizers, now using the moniker MM Racing as more of our sports marketing vehicle via social media, website and e-newsletters.”

“As privateers, we do all of our own marketing,” he explains. “I think a lot of athletes at the elite level just want to focus on training and racing, and we get that, but if you’re not packaging and marketing what you do, it can be hard for sponsors to justify supporting an athlete. Historically, we pay attention to marketing trends and changing the way we approach potential sponsors year-to-year based on current trends and things like laying out ROI for our sponsors. We understand that sponsorship works on two levels. On the one hand, and most importantly, you have a relationship as people. You essentially become teammates with your sponsors, and then at the same time, it’s a professional business relationship, and both aspects have to work for the sponsorship to be successful.”

Mo says, “We have never approached companies for sponsorship we don’t personally appreciate in some way and believe in. The real benefit to our approach is that we get to develop genuine relationships that are part teammate, part professional business. Some athletes may be comfortable with anonymous sums of money from a sponsor, but that’s not what we’re about. We want to be part of a team and show off our teammates. Our approach is akin to our lifestyle. We don’t need a lot, we’re not interested in getting lots of “stuff” for free, we want to be connected to what our sponsors do and who they are on a personal level.”

Both Matt and Mo worked in pro-cycling, Mo as a soigneur  and Matt as a mechanic, before getting together, so they both knew what it took to run a tight ship, but all the work of running the team can be a big stress point in their relationship.

Mo says, “We both put so much time, energy and effort into all aspects of our team and our races that when it doesn’t go well for one of us, it doesn’t go well for both of us.”

MM Racing divides their season in interesting ways, too. August through February is Mo time, with cyclocross and mountain bike races dominating their days. March through September is Matt’s time to reel off randonneuring events and other long, meditative struggles against time and distance.

They are in a unique position of being life partners, teammates and running a sports marketing company together. During Mo’s cyclocross season and Matt’s summer Ultra Endurance season, their tasks read like a list of resume qualifications. Matt’s job includes Team Mechanic + Manager, Logistics Coordinator, Social Media/Newsletter/Website Designer + Curator, ultra endurance cyclist. Mo’s jobs include Sponsorship and Marketing liaison, Social Media + Newsletter Content Writer, Soigneur, cyclocross racer.

Mo says, “We work very differently at most tasks and our approach to training and racing but I think our strengths and weaknesses are complimentary. I admittedly can’t multitask very well and that is Matt’s specialty. Matt can juggle five balls and pick up three more without ever dropping one while remaining objective, linear and analytical. It’s essential to managing the mayhem that can come his way during a muddy cyclocross race or unplanned bumps in our travel plans.I can get a little wishy washy in the emotions of things and can do that fake juggling with only two balls. When it comes to my cyclocross racing, I often need time to process the emotions of the day (both good and bad) before I can objectively talk about or analyze a race. Matt can stay the course and compartmentalize tasks and emotions when needed to always be 100% on the job. However, when I am a soigneur my emotional empathy or intuition can end up being the difference between checking things off a list to make sure riders have what they need or just knowing that the thing that might boost their spirits at mile 120 in a 50º downpour is a surprise egg and cheese sandwich.”

Matt adds, “When it comes down to it, we’re really lucky we get to do all of this together.”