Name: Jamie Hull
Where ya from? Sunnyvale, California
A Little Bit About You: Summed up from her application essay blog, Jamie says, "I am, to put it mildly, a bit cycling obsessed. I ride a lot, on the road and on fat tires. With a little luck, I'll add cyclocross to my resume this fall. I train hard. I get around. I'm active in no less than three large cycle groups, and I'm an assistant coach for intermediate road riders. I live in the Bay Area. I am a gear hound and gadget geek. I talk a lot (But not like a crazy person or anything… for the record). I like to write. I take pretty decent pictures. I'm kind of a goofball. I'm female and I have red hair."
We've got some questions for you:
Foundry: Other than getting a free bike, what does winning a Foundry do for you, for your life?
Jamie: Sure, a new bike would be cool. I'd love to win a Foundry and finally acquire the right tool for my newfound love – mountain biking. I am absolutely putting in the effort to get better on dirt with the current ride… but I think everyone knows that the *right* bike can work wonders. When you and your machine are in sync, you're faster. Stronger. More confident. Who wouldn't want that? I've come so far already in less than a year; with the right bike I just know I could explode.
All that said though, at the end of the day, my real reason for wanting to win this bike is about motivation. Having the opportunity to ride for Foundry – to pedal, test and report because someone is counting on me – will give me that little extra kick in the tail to try harder, get up, go out and ride… whenever possible. Will I still ride if I don't win? Damn straight. Lots, in fact. But sometimes life adds so many distractions that knowing you're riding for more than just yourself is enough to nudge you out of bed. And I know I'd be a better cyclist for it.
Foundry: If you are chosen, what will you do with the bike?
Jamie: Ride. A lot. On trails. Down roads. Through water, mud, dirt… and probably into a bush or two. I'll ride it with friends and alone, on training intervals and in events. I'll lift it over my head at the top some crazy climb. I'll throw it down in disgust when I can't clear some ridiculously pointy switchback for the 5th time. With a little luck, I'll gasp over it agony after winning a race or two. When I'm not riding it, my new bike will live in the back of my car so that I can jump on when I find a spare hour. Bikes are meant to be ridden – I plan on doing absolutely tons of that.
Foundry: In what ways will you promote Foundry?
Jamie: I plan to promote Foundry the same way that I do any other product I love – by using it often and then talking about it a lot. I am already in a position to be influential around lots of folks who buy bikes and gear. I ride with many different groups and, starting next Tuesday, will be back to coaching ~60 cyclists twice a week. Almost all of these people know me as someone who only recommends things that I have personally used and would buy again. I would like to bring that good reputation to bear for what (I can only assume) is a kick-ass bike company like yours. Of course there are plenty of people I don't already know but meet at events, in coffee shops and on the trails. I would do much the same thing there – offer advice, answer questions, let them take a test spin – all helping to get your name out in the public.
If you're looking for specifics about non-individual interactions, I am an active blogger on my own site (www.redonwheels.com). I also post daily on twitter, facebook and Instagram to a few hundred followers. I am the gear editor for VeloReviews.com and the corresponding podcast. If selected, I'd employ pretty much the same general principles online as I do off – post where I ride and what I love about the bike. I would give recommendations and advice the same as I currently do in person… just to a wider audience.
Foundry: How did you get into cycling?
Jamie: My introduction to cycling was purely accidental. A friend of a friend randomly asked me something to the effect of, "How'd you like to ride a bike 100 miles..." <insert skeptical face here> "…in Hawaii." She went on to explain that she was signed up with Team in Training's cycle team that summer, and would be riding her first century in August. In Hawaii. I had just relocated to California from Maryland and was looking for a way to make friends. I hadn't ridden a bike since I was 11… but I also had never been to Hawaii. So I showed up for the info meeting, with no bike and no clue what I was getting myself into. Within a week I had purchased my first Trek and clipless pedals. Within a month I was wearing spandex in grocery stores with confidence. I was hooked.
My riding style has changed a lot since then. I've crashed and recovered, trained with teams and solo, ridden on road off, but the friendships I made in that first season – from that one question – changed my life forever. Oh, and for the record, I didn't even get to ride in Hawaii!
Foundry: Why do you ride? Why is cycling significant in your life?
Jamie: Simply put, I ride because I love it. I love the view of the world between 10 and 30 miles an hour. I adore the smell of northern California in the summer. I've been to more places and seen more things since I started riding than I had in years before, combined. I'm in better shape now at 31 than I ever was at 16 because of cycling. My biking-grown monster calves eat normal boots for breakfast. I've become an endorphin junkie. I live for those moments of clarity that come from pushing myself so hard that I can't possibly think, let alone stress. More than that, cycling makes me feel empowered. My band/gamer/techie-geek sides feel vindicated every single time I PR something. I'm an athlete now too – how did that even happen?! My inner girl-power diva shouts in triumph when I beat the "fast" boys up a hill. Cycling is a personal test; me pushing me harder than I ever thought I could. And I love that something as simple as a bike can give me that.
Foundry: What's the best ride you've ever done?
Jamie: I committed to a mountain bike ride with a friend near UC Santa Cruz a few weeks back. I felt like I'd been slacking on my winter training, and the forecast for Saturday wasn't great – so I invited a couple coworkers for bonus "get the heck out of bed" motivation. You can't bail when you're the only one who knows all the participants! So of course, as soon as I got on the road to meet everyone, it started sprinkling. I kept telling myself that it still might be nice on the other side of the hills (California is famous for its microclimates), and resolved to just suck it up. We started with a 2+ mile climb up soupy trails; the weather had been bad (or NorCal's version of "bad") for days prior. By our first descent, the rain was falling moderately hard… and I started to get nervous. Would my bad shoulder hold up? What it got cold and froze? What if I couldn't brake? Am I going to hold back the three boys? Everyone was a good bit more experienced than me, and I had never ridden my mountain bike in the rain! (I know… I know…) Yet, somehow, by thirty minutes in, that part of mountain biking that always makes me feel like a kid again had overruled stress-brain and I was giggling. I splashed through puddles. I had mud in my hair, in my jersey pockets… in my teeth! I navigated tight corners on the smooshiest singletrack I'd ever seen – stuck some, tipped over in others. I cleared the biggest root I'd attempted in my life, only to run my bum shoulder directly into a giant redwood on the other side. And I laughed about it! I sang show-tunes with a friend while shouldering our bikes over slick rocks that nearly managed to take me out on foot. I love that biking can turn your attitude around like that. I forgot about winning, about being fast, about training for a schedule and just …had fun. I've never been so muddy in my life -- it was awesome.
Foundry: What's the hardest or worst ride you've had?
Jamie: Livestrong San Jose 2010 beats out some stiff competition – including two different rides in which I crashed and broke bones. You have to understand that I had trained for this ride for months. I was the strongest that I'd probably ever been after teaming up with a new group of coaches that taught me how to push out of my comfort zone. We'd been up the dreaded climb at mile 68, Metcalf, twice. The one that Lance Armstrong admitted was terrible. 1,000 feet in 2 miles? Steady grade of ~10%? I was ready!
The ride started off well enough. I was hanging with my group through the first 30ish miles without issue. Then I felt a calf twinge. I'd been having issues with cramping all season, so I started pushing the electrolytes. Heavily. San Jose in July is hot. By mile 40 my group had left me behind. I bummed some cramp-buster Shot Bloks at a rest stop and was able to keep moving. By mile 45 both calves where cramping and my stomach was in knots. I was stopping every half mile or so to stretch my legs. I'd dropped from being in the front of the pack to the third-to-last person on the road. I know, because I could hear the SAG car calling it out over the radio.
At mile 60 the cramps had hit my arms. My biceps were twinging and I had consumed every bit of food and drink I had on me – 100 miles worth. I kept telling myself that if I could just get to Metcalf and climb it, I'd let myself be driven to the end. That part was "all downhill" anyway. So, logically, I took the SAG car to the stop at the bottom of the climb. They were out of bars and water, so I pounded some terrible tasting FRS drink, swallowed a couple Doritos and set out to tackle Metcalf.
And I rode it. PR'd the darn thing by two minutes, in fact. I guess when every muscle is cramping, it's hard to notice the hill making anything hurt worse. Medics at the summit rest stop declared me unfit to ride and threatened me with ice baths on the spot. I declined, but did take the SAG car to mile 99… where I rode in the last mile.
Turns out, I wasn't behind on my nutrition on the ride at all. I had some sort of food poisoning, and spent the next two days unable to keep down even chicken broth. Realistically, I shouldn't have been on a bike at all… but you know, I'm still pretty proud of myself for riding. Who else gets to tell a SAG-to-the-climb story anyway?!