So, Dec. 1 has passed. Applications are now closed, though if any trickled in, I’ll still accept those ones. But that’s old news. So I owe an update. I received 134 applications. Some of these may be redundant (people sending in additional info). Some may be obvious non-starters, “Hi, I reli nede an biek cuz am poor. Plez halp. Thx.” But I expect most of them will be great, deserving stories that will amaze me just as they do every year that I’ve done this.
It will take some time to organize them into a format I can work with. From there, I weed out the “Plez halp” ones. And then i bring in the same folks who have helped me every year to narrow it down further. I expect that will take until the end of the year.
But the big news is not that. It’s that I am not just giving away one bike. I am giving away three. I am giving away all of my Dimond bikes. The OG. The Troy Lee Designs bike. The Shooting Star. All of them.
This fall, I had an opportunity come my way that I felt, as a professional athlete, engineer, and husband/father, was unquestionably the right one for me. I will share more of that story in the future, but for now, I want to focus on what it has meant to me to be a part of the Dimond team for the past two years.
I could not ask for a better group of engineers and visionaries to have worked with. I’ve been proud to represent them and to race on a bike that has a strong history and a remarkably bright future. There is no question that amazing things are coming out of the Dimond Mine in Des Moines, IA.
When I joined Dimond, I was coming off a couple tough years of racing. In my first year on a Dimond, I returned to the top of the Ironman podium in Mont-Tremblant, breaking the bike course record while keeping it within the Dimond family. This past year, while I had a lot of ups and downs, I also managed to put together a remarkable stretch of racing before finally running out of gas in Kona. I didn’t know whether or not I still had that sort of racing in me. But TJ and the team at Dimond believed in me at a time when I wasn’t so sure I believed in myself.
I am proud to have played some small role in helping this company grow. And were it not for the support that they gave me and the fantastic bikes they put under me, I would not have this other opportunity to step into. It’s never easy to part ways with a group of people who are more than sponsors and supporters, but who are also peers and friends, and I find myself struggling to find the words I want.
I admire TJ Tollakson more every year. As a professional. As an athlete. As a husband. As an entrepreneur. As an engineer. As a father. As a person. It was a great experience to work with him over the past two years, and his company continues to have a great captain at the helm. I look forward to seeing the successes I have no doubt will come their way. Dimond helped me regain confidence in myself, and they also instilled in me a great confidence in them
When I thought about the best “thank you” that I could give to honor the history of our partnership, the best thing I could think of was to give other folks that chance to experience a Dimond for themselves. I may be leaving, but I hope through this gesture that Dimond will gain three new passionate evangelists in the sport of triathlon.
So thank you TJ and everyone else at Team Dimond. It’s been a pleasure to work with you. And it brings me great pleasure to know that, for the first time, I will not need to choose only one person at the end of this whole affair. To be able to put three folks aboard a Dimond is a remarkable opportunity. And I am grateful to have the opportunity to do so.
With thanks and sincerity,
PS: I didn’t actually read this (when I wrote it) as an indication that I’m retiring, but a number of people have read it that way. So… I’m not retiring. This is an opportunity with another bike company, but it’s something that involves more than just being an athlete. It may eventually transition to something that takes me away from full-time racing. But that is not the case for right now. This is a both athlete-and-engineer opportunity.
Just want to nip that in the bud before people start saying really nice things about me…