Last weekend, Liam and I headed up to hallowed cycling ground in Belgium and Northern France for the Fan Club ride and launch of the Trek Factory Racing professional cycling team. Trek Factory is a new American team based in Belgium that is made up of riders from 17 different nationalities. As Trek VP Joe Vadeboncoeur told us, “that is 17 different languages spoken on the team bus!” If you take out Jens Voigt, who is one of the oldest and most experienced riders in professional cycling, the new team will have the youngest average age in the peloton. Trek is a very exciting international brand and this is reflected in the young, dynamic, exciting team they have assembled.
As part of the new team, Trek Factory has formed a new Fan Club. The concept is much like how the fan club of a rock band functions. Members will have access to special events, greater access to the riders, team gear, a newsletter, etc… All these things are really great, but the true benefit of the club is that it allows fans to feel like they are truly part of the team.
|Liam with the Team Bus in Oudenaarde|
Liam and I love riding in Belgium, especially on the Flanders course. Throw in the chance to do this with some riders from the new Trek Factory team, a Fan Club meet and greet with the riders in the afternoon, and a team launch in the famous Velodrome in Roubaix the same evening; and it became an opportunity that we couldn’t let slip away. We would take our chances with the weather.
The Ride Report:
Friday January 10, 2014 dawned clear and fairly warm with highs in the low 50’s. Liam, I and 200 other lucky Trek Factory Racing fans got to spend the morning hitting the famous cobble climbs of Flanders with several of the team’s professional riders. The ride was broken up into three groups that left 15 minutes apart. Two or three Trek Factory riders served as guides for each group for the cobbled 68k course. We decided to go in the third group because it would be a little warmer and more time for the cobbles to dry out a before gave them a go. There were perhaps 50 or 60 riders in our group. We were assembled in the main square in Oudenaarde ready to roll. To everyone’s surprise and pleasure up rolled Fabian Cancellara with Jens Voigt on his wheel – our “guides” for the day. I believe that everyone in our group got to ride and chat with the legends at some point during the two and half hour ride. It was awesome. Liam was in his element. He was on the cobbles riding with Spartacus and the Jensie (Mr. “Shut up Legs” himself).
|Liam and the Jensie - top of the Paterberg|
|We even had our own Team Car|
|Refreshments out on course - Belgian waffles -- naturally|
|Ladies and Gentleman - Trek Factory Racing 2014|
It is going to be a good year. It is already up and rolling and off to a great start.
Live Strong, Train Safe, and Live Well!
This is Bill and Liam out.
Bonus Video - Liam's first media event Interviews!