Also, Yuri Hauswald, the Cycling: Marketing Manager for GU Energy Labs, recently noted an impressive sequence of memories.
Phase One: Stage 4 - Pismo Beach to Avila Beach.
For me, it all began in my new backyard, as a current student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
While I surely possess a prominent sense of bias, I do believe it is fair to claim that this particular stage route was one of the more impressive, beautiful, and interesting. With a rolling start on the Pismo Beach Pier and an extended southern loop, Stage 4 marked a combination of flatlands, canopied climbs, sketchy highway pedaling, and beachside sprint finishes.
|Pismo Beach Pier. Photo credit: Yuri Hauswald.|
|Headed south. Sean Bird (left) and my pops, Lee Bird (right).|
Also, the GU support team were amazing. Three individuals who managed to always produce a smile, while selflessly supporting physically exhausted and needy cyclists.
|The sun was out at the end of Stage 4. Lee Bird (left) and Sean Bird (right).|
Phase Two: Stage 7 - Ontario to Mt. Baldy.
Boom. Boom. Boom.
#MoreKidsOnBikes was a weekly theme and I was fortunate to cruise with the GU "Core Six" and a host of Team Rokform junior cyclists.
Stage 7 was no easy day, as it included three significant climbs near my hometown in Southern California.
It was amazing to spend the day surrounded by a host of gangly and eager juniors, while climbing with GU Co-Founder and CEO Brian Vaughan. He kept me honest, we shared some good tales, and I was able to view a glimpse of significant product and performance testing.
|Sean Bird (left) and Brian Vaughan (right). Photo credit: L'Etape.|
The running engine of a police cruiser kept us warm, before a chilly descent. At the base, we were able to shed cold weather clothing that had been used throughout a day of heated climbing and crisp descents.
We lived to fight another day.
Phase 3: Stage 8 - L.A. Live to Pasadena.
|Preparing to roll...|
Cycling has provided me with a plethora of opportunities. After essentially learning to ride a road bike at the Rose Bowl and completing countless three-mile circuits, the Rose Bowl had a renewed energy.
|Pedaling through Downtown L.A. with a road closure.|
... A Group of Friends and Memories.
After having the privilege of completing multiple stages with a focused group from GU Energy Labs, it is fair to say that GU is more than a company and more than a product. For me, GU represents a group of friends and positive memories.
While reaching for an energy gel, drinking from a GU branded water bottle, or wearing a GU branded piece of clothing, I partially consider the performance benefit, before indulging in positive thoughts, memories, and outrageous experiences.
Overall, the 2015 Amgen Tour of California was the experience of a lifetime. I am stoked to have done it alongside the GU "Core Six," the GU support team, and my fantastic parents. I cannot thank GU and my family enough for their outstanding generosity and assistance. I will forever be indebted.
Until next year, keep on moving.