I'm sure this is how many good ideas come about...while riding a bike or doing some other outdoor activity and some incident spurs a flood of ideas. Let me explain.
Last year, I was mountain biking with Scott Ellis and Todd Singiser. We had just joined onto the infamous Towers Road in Lohry State Park, CO from the Spring Creek, Herrington connector trail and were stopped for equipment adjustments. A guy came charging around the group shouting “On your left!!!” as though he was doing the time trial of his life up the service road. He seemed annoyed that we weren’t already aware of his superior riding skills. (Keep in mind we were on the side of the road in a relatively flat section of the climb.)
At first, we didn’t think much about it and chuckled. But, there was something irresistible about that rabbit ahead. Perhaps he could be caught? Before we got on our bikes and began riding, I offered Scott $20 if he could pass the guy before the top of the climb – still some 15 minutes away. The guy had a few minutes lead, but I thought it was doable for Scott. One caveat, the guy had to actually finish the climb.
Scott took off, with Todd and I doing Phil Ligget style commentary from behind. It wasn’t long before we recognized that Scott was reeling the guy in – in fact, we were all reeling him in. Shortly after that, Scott was passing the guy on one of the steeper sections of the climb, when the guy blew-up and had to dismount.
Next Todd spun past the suffering fellow and he responded a weak “hey” to Todd as the pass was made. (He apparently made the same greeting to Scott as well.) When I made my pass, the guy glanced at me with a combination of disappointment/embarrassment/anger/surprise.
This behavior didn’t go unnoticed by Scott and Todd.
When the three of us made it to the top of the climb, we waited for the fellow to show. We waited quite a long time. Unfortunately for Scott, since the $20 was contingent upon the guy actually making to the top of the climb, I claimed that no payout would be made.
We were all discussing the fine-print language of the wager, which lead to recapping the entire incident. Scott and Todd were chatting and one of them commented, “You should have said, ‘Girl, on your left.’” They surely must have thought that the comment would have encouraged the guy to ride a little further up the hill, rather than dismounting so soon.
Initially we got a good chuckle out of it, but then we began thinking that it would be fun to have jerseys that said “On Your Left” on them. Last winter we brainstormed all kinds of beginnings to the “…on your left” phrase, along with multiple applications. We thought we could become the “On Your Left” gang and would invite others to join us.
Fast forward the story to last week, when I got a wild hair to try to get the first “On Your Left” jersey produced so I could wear it for the Leadville 100. The story and the phrase just makes me smile. I’ll need all the smiling I can muster at several points during the upcoming race because that’s just how long-distance racing goes.
The jersey did get produced thanks to several people. A huge thanks goes to Steve Marshall at Peloton Cycles for working with the Pearl Izumi rep. to get me a jersey on very short notice. (The PI is taped out because it’s reflective and ruins the photo.) More kudos to SAI Team Sports North for doing such a fast turnaround, high quality job on a single item. Every other screener I talked to wanted a minimum of six pieces. While we will likely produce more jerseys, I needed just one prototype and I needed it fast.
The final thanks goes to Del, who wholeheartedly supports all of my grand adventures. He is also the one that came up with the phrase on the left pocket of the first jersey; and that’s another story…