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#Exercise.Induced.Thoughts

One of the things I always loved about Specialized Bicycles was the founder, Mike Sinyard’s, internal motto: Innovate or Die. While that sounds a bit harsh, it couldn’t be more relevant in today’s endurance sports industry. So many brands are well….dying. Maybe it’s a slow death but it’s not difficult to see from the outside.

A perfect example is Racermate, the company behind Computrainer. At one point in time, everyone of our top-flight athletes had (or wanted) a Computrainer. It was the leader in the ‘high tech’ bike trainer category. It came with ‘software’ and features such as spinscan (a pedaling stroke analysis tool). The brand was on top and it remained there for quite a ...

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Peter Abraham wrote this piece recently about one of my favorite Professional Cycling Teams, Cannondale Pro Cycling. I worked with this team personally from the start (2007-2015) when they were a development squad called TIAA-CREF. They've come a hell of a long way. Their leader is a smart, innovative man and most of all, a survivor. Lots of respect for JV. I have watched as he has had to do what he had to do to keep his program alive, which included merging with other teams over the years and brining on a committed partner who helped back the team when financials got tough. However, reading Mr. Abraham's Linked-In article reinforced what we, as sports sponsorship professionals here at HIG, have known for quite some time...and that is....brands need more than just licensing rights. In this day in age, 'branding' (or as the article refers to as impressions), is simply an appetizer benefit for sports sponsors. They need the meat, or the full meal for you uncarnivorous folks. And for the top partners, the wine and desert. For the brand who has an experienced sponsorship staff and more importantly, an activation budget, this might mean leveraging the storyline of the sponsored entity and letting them simply produce performance results and engaged fans. But in my experience, those sorts of sponsors are rare. Instead, sports figures/teams need to take the bull by the horns and craft a real ROI. Of course, the real question is....how do they do that while focusing on their reason for being (aka to perform, to win, to thrill fans and consumers with their extraordinary athletic skills)? This is where the in-house team sponsorship guru must deliver.

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(Boulder, CO) Human Interest Group (HIG) athlete client Tim Don set a new world record for the fastest time at an IRONMAN race during this weekend’s IRONMAN South American Championship. HIG congratulates Don for his record-smashing time of 7:40:23. Holy $*!%

Don’s performance in Florianopolis, Brazil was four minutes faster than the record time previously held by professional triathlete Lionel Sanders.

“Going into the race, I definitely felt the best prepared for any Ironman I have done, both physically and mentally,” said Don. “I gave everything to the line, and it was not till I turned around and saw 7:40:23 that I could believe I had done it.”

“It was a dream day that still makes me smile ear to ...

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In a race packed with a “who’s who” of triathlon’s top performers, three-time IRONMAN World Champion Craig “Crowie” Alexander (AUS) stayed strong and outran most of his competition to capture third place at IRONMAN 70.3 Vineman this weekend. Next gen star and last year’s winner Sam Appleton (AUS) took a close 4th place after fighting for the lead throughout the race.

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Two-time XTERRA world champ Lesley Paterson (GBR) was victorious this past weekend in her debut at XTERRA France. The win in Xonrupt, France is Paterson’s third win of the season after claiming the top podium spots at XTERRA Tahiti and XTERRA Laguna Beach.

“The Scottish rocket soars again,” said the Human Interest Group Director Michael Cardoza. “Congrats to Lesley for her accomplishment at XTERRA France.”

“Defeating two previous course champions on her first attempt at XTERRA France shows that Les is fit and racing well, despite a hectic calendar this time of year. We can’t wait to see her in action later this fall at the world championship on Maui.”

Paterson started her race conservatively: she had a 20:21 swim time and managed a steady pace on the first loop of the bike course. On the second loop, however, Paterson powered to the lead spot that she kept through the remainder of the bike (2:24:09) and onto the run (51:09). Her final time of 3:38:39 was about four minutes ahead of the second place finisher.

“I felt great all day and just so grateful to be able to compete against great gals and in one of the best XTERRAs I’ve ever experienced! Roll on the rest of the summer!” Paterson told XTERRA after her race.

With the XTERRA World Championships in Maui on her horizon, Paterson is planning a summer of focused training and selected races, including XTERRA Italy in a few weeks.

XTERRA France

Lesley Paterson (GBR) 3:38:30

Renata Bucher (SUI) 3:42:48

Helena Erbenova (CZE) 3:48:04

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Off-road triathlon phenom Mauricio Mendez (MEX) continued to rack up wins on the 2016 XTERRA circuit with a victory at XTERRA Sweden this weekend, and only one week after taking 2nd at IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship, Radka Vodičková (CZE) blazed through Challenge Iskander Puteri for a 2nd place finish.

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Six Human Interest Group (HIG) athlete clients stormed the podiums at four IRONMAN races held this past weekend.

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Heather Wurtele received another accolade for her stand-out 2016 season: Triathlon Magazine Canada and Triathlon Canada named Wurtele Canada’s Triathlete of the Year alongside fellow Canuck Lionel Sanders.

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This year’s XTERRA World Champion. The IRONMAN North American Champion. The top American male at Kona.

Mauricio Mendez, Heather Wurtele, and Ben Hoffman are examples of what the Human Interest Group clients achieved as they raced around the world in 2016.

Day after day, weekend after weekend, the crew enthused fans with hard work, professionalism, and an inspirational attitude that led to the podium. While individual achievements were impressive, the potential power of the whole HIG stable was undeniable this year too, as this holiday video shows.

Here’s how 2016 rewarded the work of these amazing influencers:

HIG athletes racked up more than 25 first place medals:
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Stiff competition and strong winds at IRONMAN 70.3 Bahrain were no match for Sam Appleton (AUS) as he took 3rd place at this year’s 70.3 Middle East Championship. The desert race was the fourth time Appleton won a podium spot in a season that started with a 1st place victory at IRONMAN 70.3 Buenos Aires.

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