In case you missed it, we’re on a mission here at inGamba HQ. The lovable Jim Merithew suffered some health woes this spring and now needs to be whipped back into shape. At the same time, I’m queued up to share some of my experience as a World Tour professional to help Jim and you all become better, fitter, more focused cyclists. You can catch up on our earlier instalments here and here, or dive right in with one of the most important training tools out there.
The scene is the inGamba office in Sausalito on a balmy summer’s morning. The protagonists: Ted King, the recently retired World Tour rider, and his portly apprentice, aka Jim Merithew, our Creative Director and resident funny man. Jim has decided he wants to get fit … and Ted has decided he needs a challenge. So he’s going to use his lifetime’s experience as an elite athlete to counteract Jim’s lifetime experience as a prolific consumer of ice-cream and pastries.
“Hey Jim, you want one of these cookies?” says Ted King. “One is chocolate chip and the other is one of those fruit, nut, and chocolate things.”
What Ted doesn’t know this morning, as he tries to ply me with his cookie bounty, is sometime in the next hour he will go from being Ted King, my famous former cycling pro deskmate, gravel-grinding superstar, product tester, and all around good guy, to “Coach Ted” — explaining what I need to know about my diet, questioning my level of commitment, and describing VO2 max.
I’m about to ask him to be my coach because … I need help.
We’ve all had those moments, mid-ride, when we annoyed at our bike or our kit not working quite right and think: “there has to be a better way.” Most of us never get past the complaining phase of that thought process, but Stan Day isn’t like most people. Frustrated at having to reach for downtube shifters, he did something about it and with a group of friends and family, he set about revolutionizing the bicycle industry. The Grip Shift was born in 1987 and 29 years later, SRAM is still at the cutting edge of cycling technology.
We’re lucky to have worked with some great photographers over the years, so we thought it was time to shine the spotlight on some of them and ask them to select and explain some of their favourite images. First up is Paolo Ciaberta, native of Turin and a firm friend of inGamba. You probably know his work from magazines such as Rouleur, Peloton and ProCycling, but just in case we’ve asked a pal to introduce him. We hope you enjoy!
InGamba came to life in the verdant Tuscan countryside, but the story really began decades beforehand in Portugal, where our founder João Correia was born and where he first fell in love with cycling. We also count a number of Portuguese mechanics, soigneurs and guides among our staff – two of whom were National Champions – so a trip to Europe’s most western shores always feels like a homecoming.
My eyes flutter open. I hear birds chirping outside; a hazy beam of golden light shines across my bed, illuminating enough for me to discern the position of the clock’s hands. 9:30!
Have I forgotten how to read these things? A quick check of my phone confirms it. Trying to remember the last time I slept so deeply and blissfully, I open the blinds, and the Tuscan sunshine now overflows into the room. The rolling hills of Chianti, covered in vineyards, orchards, trees vibrant in their springtime glamour, and ancient properties unfold below me, and I feel it.